Malaysian Startup Making Nyonya Kuih
Waking up to the earthy fumes of steamed potatoes, the warm aroma of spices and the bubbling of cooking oil – these were some of Ms. Yong’s fondest memories as she grew up with a mother. who supplied homemade curry puffs to PJ’s restaurants and caterers.
As the older sister in her teenage years, she felt compelled to help her late mother out. So every morning she would help with the baking process and go to nearby restaurants to deliver the fresh pastries.
Little did she know that decades later, she would experience a similar situation with her own daughter providing homemade Nyonya kuih to 5 star hotels in the Klang Valley.
Expand your Kuih repertoire
While the humble curry puff may seem like a simple form of pastry at a glance, Yong quickly learned that its making was technical, requiring power to knead its dough and the right balance of taste.
She marveled at her late mother’s work ethic as she worked tenaciously through the night to fill large orders.
Yong joked, “Which, of course, I dreaded and complained about at the time, because that would mean I would have to help her and possibly miss my favorite shows on TV!”
These curry puffs were his inspiration to delve into the world of culinary arts. Later, she developed a passion for making Nyonya kuih when a friend Baba Nyonya introduced her to some recipes.
So, at age 28, while working as a full-time accountant during the day, she was also cooking a couple of traditional Nyonya kuih at her PJ house for fun, fulfilling ad hoc orders for family and friends parties. expect much in return.
5 years later, she decided to quit her job to become a full-time baker when her daughter was born, thus creating a business named after her, Madame Yong Delight.
This decision was made because she believed it would give her more flexibility to focus on her passion and spend time with her family.
At least that was the idea. In reality, it was quite difficult to balance because in 2002 Yong got his first corporate client: a supermarket chain introduced to him by a friend.
They just knocked
Most of the time, she brought her little girl with her for many tasks, from sourcing raw materials, taking customer orders, to managing deliveries.
Sometimes her toddler had to wake up in the wee hours of dawn to help prepare the kuihs for deliveries.
“She literally grew as the business evolved. Looking back, it was a good thing in a way, a real example that everything in life comes with hard work and determination, ”Yong said in gratitude.
Serving a corporate client meant that Yong could no longer manage her home production as she would not have been able to keep up with the demand.
With limited resources but sufficient support from her family, she took a leap of faith in setting up a suitable production site.
Shortly after, another opportunity presented itself. A 5-star hotel in the Klang Valley approached to request supplies of Nyonya kuih.
Although thrilled with the opportunity and the recognition of her work, she was deeply concerned and unsure if she would be able to deliver.
A major challenge in this transition from being a home baker to building a full-fledged business serving hotels, supermarkets and restaurants meant that certain processes and systems had to be in place as she was now a businesswoman.
Therefore, the tasks are not limited to the creation of Nyonya kuih, but to the overall management of the company.
This included setting up an accounting system, organizing logistics, applying for halal certification and meeting food safety requirements on a larger scale.
“With the support of my long-time reliable aide who has been helping me since 1994 and still with me after 26 years, we seized this opportunity,” she told Vulcan Post.
It led from opportunity to opportunity, and before they even knew it, Madame Yong Delight has been supplying Nyonya kuih to a chain of hotels in the Klang Valley for nearly two decades now.
She won’t impose it on her daughter
Asked about her plans to hand the business over to her daughter, Yong shared with Vulcan Post that she has always believed that the next generation that will lead her must have passion first.
“When I started the Nyonya kuih business, my daughter was just born. She therefore grew with the evolution of the company. It’s part of her life, but she only needs to help when needed on the weekends.
“Therefore, I wouldn’t impose, but rather leave it to my next generation to decide if this is something they would like to pursue in the future,” Ms. Yong said.
At 63, she is optimistic that she will continue to run the business for several years and do her best to standardize operations as much as possible.
- You can read more about Madame Yong Delight here.
- You can read more F&B articles than we’ve written here.
Featured Image Credit: Madame Yong Delight
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