Baker Mokhtar’s late father was Indian-Muslim and his mother a Malay. Like his paternal grandfather, they are from a long line of bakers from Northern India.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear him describe the filling of each type of bread bun in Cantonese. There’s Yeah Chi (coconut shavings), Chee Mah (sesame), Ngau Yow (butter), Kar Yang (kaya or coconut egg jam) and Tau Sar (bean paste); Mokhtar rattled away.
It may seem routine to Mokhtar but if you think about it, what a rich tradition he inherited. Wonderful to taste this heritage product that has adapted to local taste by blending recipes from different cultures.
Mokhtar also bakes regular white Bengali bread loaves but they weren’t ready at the time I was there.
Next: I asked him to show me the big traditional brick oven that he has hidden in another room.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 400, f4, 1/60 sec.