If you walk past Tong Heng Delicacies, you would be greeted with the sweet and savoury smell of its pastries. To honour the history of the confectionery, Tong Heng Delicacies retained certain features of the original facade from 1935, like the handcrafted Chinese characters on both pillars at the storefront.
Tong Heng Delicacies is famous for its signature diamond-shaped egg tart, BBQ pork crisps, wife biscuits and coconut egg tarts. Ana Fong, the fourth generation of the family who runs the store, loves experimenting with recipes and strongly believes in caring for the environment. The store now has vegan options which give customers a larger variety of choices and can enjoy Tong Heng’s pastries. Notably, the Wife Pastry are popular as they are dairy-free and do not contain desiccated coconut. Perfect for customers who do not have a sweet tooth and is also suitable for those with dietary limitations.
With the rapid pace of urbanisation in post-independence Singapore, many traditional brands have struggled to keep up with the times and had to close their doors as a result. Tong Heng Delicacies, however, has grown in popularity amongst millennials since its revamp. The new look for its store, its brightly-coloured pastry box and a new logo, allowed Tong Heng to stand out among its competitors. As a young millennial walking past Chinatown, I would not have guessed that Tong Heng is an over 80-year old confectionery selling traditional Cantonese pastries. Instead, I would have thought that it’s a café because of its refined and eclectic interior.
Furthermore, Tong Heng grew its online presence through strategic collaborations – for example, with a nearby café, Maxi Coffee Bar in April. As part of this collaboration, Tong Heng and Maxi Coffee Bar jointly created a special Gula Melaka egg tart paired with Maxi’s special Coconut Cold Brew, which was exclusive for a limited time period. This collaboration was promoted on both partners’ social media platforms, creating cross-publicity.
With the new refreshed logo and increased presence on social media, Tong Heng is now more recognisable among the millennials. Additionally, with both English and Mandarin characters on its new logo, Tong Heng is now identifiable by a broader community.
Through a shared appreciation for Tong Heng’s pastries, the confectionery and its pastries attracts people and becomes a topic of interest - the elders share their stories and memories while the young learn more about life back then. Adopting a revamp of the business while retaining its traditional roots, Tong Heng has successfully kept the Cantonese culture and traditions alive in Singapore.