The Rich Heritage of Chop Tai Chong Kok
Our story begins with a young entrepreneur from Guangzhou, China named Tham Kai Chee, who emigrated to Singapore in 1930 with his wife and dreams of a brighter future. Although he had no experience in baking, he set out to master the art of making mooncakes. Armed with his newfound skillset, he set up shop in Chinatown’s Sago Street in 1935, and Chop Tai Chong Kok was born.
His hard work soon paid off and Tai Chong Kok’s pastries gained popularity quickly among the locals who appreciated the taste of home. It was not an uncommon sight to see long lines of people waiting their turn to purchase our freshly baked mooncakes during the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, even before the metal grilles of the shop were opened. Today, this is still a familiar scene whenever the festival rolls around.
Mr Tham passed away in 1970, leaving his beloved business to his four sons. With the second generation of the Tham family at the helm, the business expanded to a second retail outlet at Marine Terrace in 1984. Business boomed and in 1990, the Tham brothers moved the production and retail outlet to larger premises at Ubi Avenue One. By 2013, Tai Chong Kok boasted four retail outlets across the island with a new state-of-the-art production facility in Sembawang. The following year, the business received the Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification.
Though automation has made it possible to keep up with the increased demand, many of the processes still require a human touch. Once the lotus paste and dough are made from scratch, salted egg yolks are placed into the balls of lotus paste by hand, and wrapped in dough that is rolled out manually too. This way, our mooncake skins remain as consistently thin and delicious as they did when our founder first baked them.
Today, third generation owner Ham Weng Seng continues the family legacy, churning out the Chinese wedding cakes, Cantonese confections and pastries that have won the hearts of Singaporeans and visitors alike. In 2015, a fifth outlet of Tai Chong Kok was opened in Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 where visitors can easily bring home an authentic taste of Singapore’s history and more than 80 years of practiced perfection, wrapped up in a delicious pastry.