One of the first bakeries in Sibu ,owned by a Heng Hua, was found in Sg. Merah although there were several Chinese biscuit factories, mainly from shop lots like Wan Hin, Cheng Chuong etc. Another one was found in Sibu town itself, started by a Hainanese.
the Hainanese shop was one of my father's favourite shops. It offered very well made loaves good for sandwiches. It was situated at the Central Road, between two shop blocks. It must have been the suppliers to Sibu Recreation Club, the Residency (Mr. Griffin), and other colonial government officers in those early 1950's years when we first moved to Sibu, from Pulau Kerto. Dad's office was at Central Road and so he would pick up a loaf or two of bread from the shop.
Now that loaf of bread would have been considered a day old and that was half the price. Dad being a very frugal Foochow man was only too happy to get two loaves for the price of one, for his growing family.
My mother would steam the slices of bread the next morning for us to eat...Many Foochows did not like the hard crust. Steaming would have made the bread soft, and more like baos.
If I am not mistaken the Hainanese baker had also another favourite snack he made out of his left over bread. If bread was still unsold the next day, he would recycle them. He spread each slice with butter, and then spread some sugar on top. Rebaking the slices of bread, he would thus turn the slices into nice crunchy snacks. These sweet, sugar coated roti were very saleable.
They were packed into plastic bags and sold at the wharf at Pulau Babi...this was how many Sanba Foochow learned to eat bread. Or bread-snack.
You would have to know that bread was a totally alien food to the Foochows in the 1920's to 1950's.
Today many bakeries still make this kind of sugar coated roti. And I still munch them once in a while...