Showing posts from February, 2015

Hi Valentina

JOHOR BARU: Her birthday is on Valentine's Day but every year Valentina Kim, who turns 28 this Saturday (Feb 14), will be busy at her florist shop, as usual.
  Kim, a creative director at Kim's Florist, set up at Jalan Sungai Chat here 35 years ago, is one of the oldest florist shops in Johor Baru.
  The youngest among three sisters, Kim said she grew up among flowers.
  "For the longest time that I can remember, my birthdays have all been in the shop.
  "I've been helping my mother (who founded Kim's Florist) since young.  February 14 is one of the busiest days of a florist's life so sometimes we get so busy, no one has time to celebrate my birthday.
  "Last year, it was the double celebration because Valentine's Day happened to coincide with the Chinese "Yuan Xiao Jie" (the last day of Chinese New Year and fondly known as the Chinese version of Valentine's Day).
  "This year, there were more "pick-up" orders than deliveri…

Sweet and Sticky

年糕 Nian Gao, also known as Kuih Bakul, is a traditional steamed sweet cake that people enjoy during Chinese New Year because it's name symbolizes 年高 "nian gao" which means growing abundance or higher achievement.

At Jalan Bakawali 52 in Taman Johor Jaya, Johor Bahru is a nian gao making factory run by Dato B. Balamurali, 46.
The Malacca-born Balamurali started working in a nian gao factory run by a Singaporean Chinese in 1989. After the factory closed down in 1997,  Balamurali set up his own factory here the following year.
Balamurali's business, into its 17th year now, operates for only one month before the Chinese New Year. It has 40 workers who churn out more than 2,000 kuih per day. It takes 9 hours to steam the kuih in a giant steamer.  
About 70% of the nian gao produced at the NYCC Enterprise is for the Singapore market. 

And what happens after the Chinese New Year...? Balamurali will shift his focus back to his real estate agency.

This year the price of the nian ga…