Making “Kuih Bakul” to keep memories alive


PADANG BESAR – Come Chinese New Year, Nian Gao trader Cheong Loy Thai feels as if his mother, Wong Chun Foong, who died 10 years ago, is with him, keeping him company while he makes the Sweet Sticky Rice cake, a traditional Chinese delicacy, also known as “Kuih Bakul”.

Cheong, 64, said it is by making the kuih bakul that he could release the longing for his mother, as she was the one who taught him how to make it.

“She liked making kuih bakul for me and my siblings, and often, I would help her to do it. Now, everytime I make the kuih, I can feel that she is with me,” he told Bernama when met at his shop house in Kaki Bukit, Wang Kelian, here recently.

He recalled the time when he would help his mother to whip the flour manually in the evening and then placed the mixture on a wooden stove for it to cook the following morning.

“Even now, I still cook the kuih bakul using wooden stove,” he said.

Cheong said to keep the memory alive and in appreciation of his mother’s sacrifices in bringing him up, he set up the kuih bakul business with a partner about five years ago.

“The profit from the business is not much, compared with the time and energy required to make the delicacy, but it is the feeling of satisfaction that makes it worth,” he added.

He said they normally produced five tonnes of kuih bakul every year for the Chinese New Year celebration, but, following the current situation due to the COVID-19 outbreak and enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO), the production had been reduced to two tonnes this year.