Singapore Lecturer Expands Mum’s Kueh Lapis Business From Medan

Kueh lapis is a guilty pleasure shared by many — the buttery treat remains popular and is often found in all Chinese households every CNY.

Image courtesy of Suwandi Lie

However, for local university lecturer Suwandi Lie, kueh lapis is a delicacy to be enjoyed at any time of the year.

Hailing from Indonesia, Mr Suwandi came to Singapore in 2001.

His family-owned bakery may not be spoken of often here, but it is a star in its own rights in Medan, Indonesia.

To keep his family’s traditions alive, he decided to bring a taste of home to Singapore by selling his mother’s homemade kueh lapis.

From lecturer to entrepreneur

Mr Suwandi used to work in a hedge fund as a quant portfolio manager for a good part of his career upon finishing his doctorate.

Image courtesy of Suwandi Lie

Despite this lucrative skillset, he opted for a route as an adjunct lecturer at the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) in 2020.

Speaking to MS News, Mr Suwandi explained that educating youths to become leaders of tomorrow gave him more fulfilment in life.

While he’s still pursuing his love for teaching, Mr Suwandi is also a budding entrepreneur.

After receiving glowing reviews from friends who tasted his mother’s kueh lapis from Indonesia, the lecturer has decided to make it easily available here in Singapore.

Not your typical kueh lapis

What sets the kueh lapis apart is the use of Dutch butter and pineapple jam, which make the taste more authentic. Not to mention the unique, almost swiss roll-like shape.

Image courtesy of Suwandi Lie

Unlike the typical square cakes we find in most Singapore stores, these cakes will make for great conversation starters this CNY.

Image courtesy of Suwandi Lie

Mr Suwandi’s mother, Mdm Yuliana Go, handpicks the spices from different distributors, so you can bet that the fragrance is on point.

According to Mr Suwandi, his mother takes pride in making each and every kueh lapis.

The kueh lapis comes in 3 flavours — original, almond, and prunes.

A prominent brand in Medan, Indonesia

Currently based in Medan, Mdm Yuliana Go, who also goes by the name Madam Lee like her bakery, always had a passion for baking.

Source

This passion led to the founding of Madam Lee bakery in 1979.

Image courtesy of Suwandi Lie

As a bakery-cum-culinary school, Madam Lee has produced students who’ve gone on to open their own popular food establishments.

Now, it’s slowly making its mark in Singapore with the efforts of Mr Suwandi, who wishes to show his gratitude to his mother.

Image courtesy of Suwandi Lie

Cakes fresh even after importing from Medan

To ensure the same quality as the ones in Medan, Mr Suwandi flies the cakes directly from there. Before dispatching them, he keeps them in a refrigerated storage facility for up to 24 hours.

Image courtesy of Suwandi Lie

Customers can thus be assured that they’ll be biting into the most decadent and fluffy cakes fresh from the bakery.

More flavours to be available soon

Juggling a full-time job and a thriving business isn’t an easy task. We applaud Mr Suwandi for his determination, especially to help his family business grow.

We wish him all the best, and hope his customer base will continue to expand.

With more flavours rolling out this year, be sure to have a taste soon via Food Affinity.

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Featured images courtesy of Suwandi Lie.