In 1928, Chinese immigrant Leung Yun Chee and German physician Dr Schmeidler created this Singapre heritage brand with its trademark menthol and camphor oil and developed its distinctive illustrated logo. A soothing treatment for ailments ranging from headaches to bruises and sprains, it gained prominence during World War II and quickly became the go-to choice for Singaporeans. Axe remains a family-owned enterprise but has moved with the times, using social media to reach a new audience and sponsoring university research projects to develop new products.
Started by Chiang Yick Ching and his wife Foo Ah Neok, who immigrated from China in 1935, CYC quickly became one of Singapore’s premier tailors, dressing the likes of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. “Until the 1980s, there weren’t many retail brands in Singapore, so we were able to grow our business,” recalls Fong Loo Fern, managing director and the founders’ granddaughter. Today, CYC has branches in upscale locations the Fullerton Hotel and Capitol Piazza and an online presence.
Founded by biochemist Lee Kum Tat in 1976, the brand’s classic orchid brooches and petal- shaped pendants have been gifted to visiting dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II and Peng Liyuan, the wife of China’s Xi Jinping. They are fashioned by the same delicate plating technique that’s been used for the last 40 years. This year, the Singapore heritage brand has opened a sub-label called RISIS Trésor at Jewel Changi Airport. Many of the pieces are limited edition and available exclusively at the airport boutique.
This iconic Singapore heritage brand, specialising in curry puffs, started out in 1956 as a humble coffee shop stall next to Rex Cinema on Mackenzie Road. Thirty years later, when owner Chang Chuan Boon was ready to retire, lifelong customer Han Keen Juan bought the business and took it global – it now has outlets nationwide and even a store in London. “We’ve kept to our original recipe as much as possible,” Han says. “All puffs are still hand-crimped, despite producing over 50,000 a day.”
* From July to September 2019, Old Chang Kee puffs will be served on selected flights to Australia: SQ211, SQ231 and SQ288 to Sydney; SQ245 and SQ265 to Brisbane; and SQ217 to Melbourne. Customers travelling in Economy and Premium Economy will each receive one box of puffs and can choose between curry chicken potato and mushroom potato puffs.
5. Lana Cakes
Violet Kwan’s decadent-yet-light fudge-covered chiffon chocolate cakes have been national favourites since 1964. The recipe, a closely guarded family secret, was taught to Kwan by her sister-in-law, and Kwan first launched the business from home before relocating to a nearby storefront in 1975, where Lana Cakes has remained since. Her son Jason has now taken over, modernising the business with a new website and an updated shopfront, while still displaying pieces of Kwan’s beloved antique furniture.
Illustration by Tiffany Lovage
This article was originally published in the August 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine