Yishun Spiceman Makes Fresh Curry Blends At Jeya Spices To Keep Father’s Old Trade Alive
Sometimes our father’s influence shapes our profession today, like this heartwarming tale of a Yishun spiceman.
Mr Jeya Seelan, of Jeya Spices, shared how his father’s old trade of making fresh curry blends inspired him to continue running the business. The post has garnered more than 1,400 shares at the time of writing.
You can read his full post below.
They say behind every great business is a great story, so here’s the tale behind his shop —Jeya Spices.
Making magic by mixing spices
As a child, Jeya recalls watching his tired father return home after a long day’s work. He noticed that his work shirt had “streaks of beige”, “splashes of crimson” and “dashes of yellow”. For him, the outfit seemed alluring and beautiful.
Jeya’s father made curry blends, which is an obscure profession in modern Singapore. As a result, Jeya felt mystified by his father’s fascinating livelihood. But one fateful day he mustered the courage to get some answers.
He asked his father,
Appa, what do you do at work?
The father replied,
Boy, I make magic.
The pair broke into laughter. While the dad seemed content, the son remained sceptical of his old man’s otherworldly claims.
Yishun spiceman follows father’s footsteps
Sometimes growing up means seeing the world for what it really is. Upon discovering that WWE was scripted, Jeya’s fantasies were shattered and the illusionary smoke vanished. However, he realised the true meaning of his dad’s reply.
After 22 years, his father eventually passed him the family tradition of blending spices. By learning the tricks of the trade, he finally understood the rationale behind his father’s magical claim.
Today, he knows the notable contrast between the strong taste of organic turmeric powder and full-flavoured Kashimiri chili powder, as well as the godly signature scent of nutmeg powder. He vividly remembers the casual way spices blend when making Kurma paste.
He writes with conviction,
That is magic.
Sets up shop to protect dying art
Sadly, his father’s magic is a “dying art.”
Mixing traditional spices was the only way to create a specific curry powder in the past. Today, factories, robots, and machines can mass produce our favourite blends.
To protect the age-old trade, Jeya engaged in 5 years of apprenticeship and upgraded his knowledge in the art of spices. His hard work bore fruit and he eventually took over Jeya Spices from his father.
The long-time spiceman promised that his customers will get “a near-perfect blend of impeccable freshness”, unrivalled taste, and a special personalised touch that foodies can’t gain from mass-produced spice powders.
Even if he’s currently busy with starting his own business, he assured followers that he will be mixing more than ever and working harder than ever to share his passion.
Visiting the traditional spice shop
Jeya Seelan is the third-generation spiceman in his family. His grandfather, Mr Ramanathan Chettiar, set up shop in Singapore to herald the art of mixing spices.
Interested customers can visit Jeya’s Spice shop by walking roughly 15 minutes from Yishun MRT station.
Interested spice fans can also take bus service 804 from Yishun interchange and alight at the second stop. The shop is 150 metres from the wet market.
Since we are currently in Phase 2, crowds must be controlled and customers will have to wait before they can enter the store. However, the promise of freshly made spices is definitely worth the wait.