The completed hand-made tortoise-shaped biscuit for sale
Gin Thye – A Traditional Teochew Confectionary
Established since 1964, Gin Thye is a Singapore homegrown heritage brand that specialises in traditional Chinese and wedding pastries, offering specialty items of various dialect groups such as Teochew Wu Se Tang, Cantonese Si Se Bing, Hokkien Hong Zhi Bao, Hainan Jian Dui, as well as traditional peanut cookies, kuehs and cakes to tantalise your taste buds.
A Chinese Heritage of Love…
Specialising in traditional Chinese wedding pastries, Gin Thye is a reputed household name that has been devoted to serving Singaporeans with its nostalgic bakery selections since 1964.
Keeping up with the times…
Harnessing the vast knowledge, skills and expertise in baking, Gin Thye has progressed, modernised and invested in R&D to embrace innovation and creativity to bring new life into its bakery business. While focusing on new recipes and new creations, Gin Thye remains committed to the quality, taste and authenticity of its products, being particularly selective on the choice of ingredients, abiding by its time-proven techniques and ensuring the consistent results. Coupled with the craftsmanship of experienced pastry chefs, excitement abounds with the launch of each fresh concept.
… while keeping traditions alive
Gin Thye plays a pivotal role in preserving Chinese customs with its traditional handcrafted confections for customary ceremonies and festive celebrations. Those delightful goodies form a precious part of our culture, stories and memories that are invaluable. We want to continuously share this appreciation for traditional foods that will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Spreading the love
With expansion plans to the global markets, Gin Thye is set to spread its passionate love for Singapore’s unique cuisine with our international friends and pass on this cultural heritage to our future generations.
Gin Thye Guo Da Li Bundle – Teochew Custom
Sweet way to announce a marriage
Long ago before the days of the Internet online email, messenger, Facebook, Twitter, etc Chinese brides and grooms-to-be announce their marriage with friends, relatives and colleagues are given as a prelude to the wedding ceremony, and as a way of spreading news of the marriage.
In ancient times, when a daughter married into her husband’s family, the wedding banquet was given by the parents of the groom.
They would also arrange for the wedding biscuits or cakes to be distributed by the bride’s family to announce the wedding to friends, relatives and colleagues.
For Chinese Singaporean who are Teochew dialect group, the Teochew wedding biscuits was a form of confirmation that the marriage would take place.
In traditional Chinese society, a number of bedding and clothing articles had to be sewn and embroidered before the wedding and the time span between the engagement and before the wedding.
The tradition of the wedding biscuits originated from China and remained unchanged for many generations.
In olden times, the groom’s family prepared gifts of jewellery, clothes, textiles, incense, candles, candy, dried foods and placed them in square containers called sheng to send to the bride’s family.
The gift was merely symbolic, and was always returned to represent the bride’s family’s uncovetous nature. But the tasty wedding biscuits, a treat in a simple agricultural society, were generally not returned.
In 1973, one food company began marketing Western-style butter cookies, to be used for the same purpose as the cakes. The small, crisp cookies often flavoured with nuts or chocolate, won instant popularity for the simplicity and convenience. The cost of their production was also lower than for cakes, as the process could be easily mechanised.
Soon, other companies began marketing carefully baked and packaged wedding biscuits. Western-style cakes, candies and other sweets are also packaged and sold for wedding purposes.
Cookies are now the most commonly given form of “wedding cakes”. Traditional biscuits, like the handcrafted confections from Gin Thye, have not disappeared but are more popular in smaller areas.
Selected YouTube videos related to the blog
Variety is the spice of life. Gin Thye Cake Maker was inaugurated in 1964, with its flagship outlet situated along Sembawang Road. Providing various types of cakes and confectionary, from everyday favorites to custom orders for traditional festive season such as Teochew, Cantonese and Hokkien weddings, customers can experience “variety as the spice of life” through its various offerings.
The “Tuesday Report” in Chinese were screened on MediaCorp TV in 3 parts shared below:
The fifth episode of NHB’s “Heritage in Episodes” project focuses on a traditional Teochew bakery, its range of traditional products, its past as well as its future.
Please watch the video here .
The archived photos shared on this blog with acknowledgement of the National Archives of Singapore, National Library Board, National Heritage Board and unidentified contributors with thanks.