Singaporean makes healthy bread in Shekou for 15 years
Writer: Yu Yuanfan | Editor: Zhang Chanwen | From: Shenzhen Daily | Updated: 2023-11-28
You may not have had the chance to visit his bakery in person, but if you live in Shekou or you frequent the area, you’ve likely tasted his bread in one of the area’s coffee shops, restaurants, or perhaps spotted it in specialty food stores that expats adore. Presented by a Singaporean who is committed to making healthy bread, the bread has been serving local residents for around 15 years.
For Sim S. Kiat, the idea of opening a shop in Shekou budded when he was about to finish his contract with his last employer in the early 2000s. “I love Shekou and I want to stay in Shekou. So what to do? I registered my own company,” he shared with Shenzhen Daily in his bakery on a Saturday afternoon.
Sim S. Kiat
Inaugurated in 2004, his bakery initially served coffee that he brewed himself, alongside bread sourced from another supplier. However, about four years into the venture, Sim decided to take the plunge into baking his own bread, out of the negligible discount offered by the bread supplier and a Canadian friend’s suggestion of him making bread catering to Westerners’ tastes, as such bread was hard to find in the local market back then.
Upon arriving at Sims Bakery, located just a short stroll from Sea World Metro Station’s Exit C, you will notice a line on the bakery’s signage that reads, “I’m not your mama.”
Sim explained the underlying philosophy, saying, “I’m not your mama, but I care about what you eat.” This mantra has been at the core of his bakery’s ethos since its inception.
“How do I care? I don’t put chemicals in my bread. I don’t use trans fat. I don’t use rubbish things. Chemicals can keep the bread soft for extra days and inhibit mould growth, but they accumulate in your body, don’t go away and mess with your metabolism. I don’t want to sell rubbish, and I’ll feel bad if I send you something that hurts you,” Sim said.
This commitment to healthy baking also extends to his hiring criteria for bakers.
“I only want people with no prior bread-making experience so that when I teach them not to add those things (additives), they will not add,” he said. “And they can learn making bread very fast, usually two or three months and they’re OK.”
Sim, who has been a Shekou resident since 1988, fondly reminisced about the area’s earlier days. “I was sent to Shenzhen to work in the oil industry. All the oil companies were based here in Shekou at that time,” he recalled. “In the old days, Shekou was a fishing village, very quiet with not many people, and everybody seemed to know everybody. There was not a single tall building except the Nanhai Hotel, and there was only one road from here to Shenzhen (the city center), a muddy, very narrow road, with no buildings in between. How did we know we had arrived in Shenzhen (the city center)? That was when we saw the Shanghai Hotel.”
But there are also elements that have remained constant.
“At that time, there were hardly any restaurants. But there was one named Seagull back then, offering foreign cuisine. It’s still here today,” he said.