I was told by an old man many years ago that when the Chinese first settled down in Miri they were very resourceful and dug wells for their household use. Piped water was only available to the oil miners and Europeans. Those Chinese with a little bit more money would cycle in the evenings with their recycled kerosene tins to buy water from the original Sesco station at the end of the Canada Hill (the present Pujut Corner).
In my search for natural wells in Miri I found Chop Ching Leong and have made it one of my favourite haunts in Miri.
Now I have a chance to blog about it too.
Indeed I was so delighted to find one of the last and still surviving fresh water wells in Miri in Chop Chin leong at Swee Kim Road. That was the well which helped the family to start their business about 80 years ago.
The original owner (the patriarch of the family) passed away not long ago He had been respected for working hard and being patient in making biscuits not only for Miri but Brunei and Limbang and Lawas. And even Sabah in the better days!! He had brought his pastry making skills from China.
Sweet bean and green bean Chinese style biscuits were popular. And very interesting wedding confectionary was the staple product of the heyday. I normally get my peanut brittle here. And sometimes I come for their mooncakes which are seasonal of course. Today the business continues and the third generation is still enthusiastic in maintaining the old brand name.
Dough lying on the old tables waiting to prove and baking time.
Wife's Biscuit - 老婆餅 and Wedding Biscuits (Leh Bian) - they are very enterprising in choosing to be multi-dialectic in approach for they not only cater for the Cantonese and the Hakkas but also for the Hokkiens and the Foochows.
The old well - still provides water for washing and cooking.
This is the original container for biscuits made by the shop - customers continue to walk in and the employees keep the biscuits in these air tight wall containers. They are more than 50 years old!! Many of the biscuits produce have to be crunchy and well baked like Hui Bah (Twisted Dough) and Peanut Crunchies. They also make Peanut Crumbles (a powdered peanut sweet. All these are wrapped up in their green+red+white kite paper and packed in plastic packages. There is a very famous Chinese biscuit called Navel Biscuit which might have gone out of fashion amongst the younger generation now.
The old Shop banner has been hanging there for more than 50 years while technology has crammed its style to a certain extent. Advertisements of handphones and soft drinks also show their impact on the business.
this guy started working at a very young age. His loyalty has always been very strong and he never seeks employment elsewhere. Such is the rewarding job he has working for a good family. His service is life long and there is no retirement age.
This is the "front office" where ladies would serve walk in customers and spend some time to do PR work. Business is by word of mouth and there is no need to have a marketing department!!
So next time you wish to buy some souvenirs from Miri perhaps you can bring some of their biscuits home....It is hard to get old style biscuits now.
Company Name: Chop Chin Leong Confectionery Sdn Bhd
Core Business: Biscuits-Wholesale Manufacturers
Address: No. 1474, Jln Swee Khim, 98000 Miri, Sarawak
Telephone: (+65) 085-433375
\(The young owner and his mother were too shy to have their photos taken).