Long-held traditions might be dying out, but a young Singaporean, Jeya Seelan, is seeing to preserving at least one tradition within his family.
Jeya has taken to social media to promote his store that is selling spices in a wet market in Yishun, and to share about the dying art of creating custom spice blends for curries.
Following in the footsteps of his father in making 'magic'
Jeya shared his story on Facebook of how he got into the business of mixing spices, under the guidance and training of his father.
As a kid he would be curious about how there would be a lot of colours on his father's work shirt, and did not know for the "longest time" what his father did for a living.
He shared that his father once joked with him and told him that he made 'magic':
"When I was a little kid, my dad often returned home very tired. His work shirt would have streaks of beige, dashes of yellow, splashes of crimson. It was delicately beautiful. I was mystified for the longest time as to what he did for a living. One day, I mustered the courage.
“Appa (Dad), what do you do at work?”
“Boy, I make magic.”
We both broke into laughter; one of us in incredulity, the other in content."
Jeya then shared that after 22 years and after training under his dad, he was "enlightened" and started to see the mixing of spices as "magic" too.
A dying art
In the age of factory-produced spice mixes, without the "human touch", he acknowledged that making customised spice blends is a dying art.
Jeya told Mothership that his custom spice blends are ground from scratch, and do not have any preservatives or additional condiments to compromise its quality.
However, he did highlight that while his spice mixes are fresher, they have a shorter shelf life as compared to factory-made spice mixes.
The passionate young Singaporean promised his audience on social media that his customers "will get a near-perfect blend of impeccable freshness, taste and personal touch, which you will be hard-pressed to gain from mass-produced spice powders".
He also added that he underwent five years of apprenticeship and has a "humble knowledge of spices".
He also said customers have shared their experiences of factory-mixed spices that were not 100 per cent pure, and felt that the quality of his customised spice blends were better.
He also explained that the difference in quality might be because factory-made blends may contain preservatives like rice flour, or besan flour.
Since sharing his passion for spices on June 22, Jeya's post received over 1,100 shares and 2,200 likes.
He added an update to his post and thanked everyone for the "overwhelming reception".
Blk 294 Yishun St 22 #01-327 S(760294)
6am to 2pm on Monday, 6am to 9pm on Tuesday to Sunday.
Check out his full post here:
Top photo via Jeya Seelan/FB and Akhil Chandran/Unsplash