Where do you go for Hong Kong-style pastries?
For many in the Greater Vancouver area, the answer is simple: Kam Do Bakery.
The nearly 30-year-old bakery sells about 1,200 pastries per day – including its famous wife cakes, century egg pastries and red bean pastries –from its two Richmond, British Columbia locations.
But their success didn't happen overnight. The owners, husband-and-wife duo Sunny Ho and Mrs. Ho, have grown their business over the years and work closely with TD and their TD business managers to help keep their day-to-day operations running smoothly.
With Mid-Autumn Festival on its way, the team at Kam Do Bakery are busy preparing for one of their busiest times of year.
Mid-Autumn Festival, or the Moon Festival, is a harvest celebration that originated in China, commonly celebrated by East and Southeast Asian communities. It falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, which corresponds to Friday, September 29 this year.
Mooncakes – round pastries with sweet or savoury fillings – are one of the iconic foods associated with this beloved holiday. And at Kam Do Bakery, they're a big deal: the bakers start preparing them about a year in advance.
"We begin making the syrup for the mooncake skin [the outer dough] a year out. This makes it thicker and more easily absorbed," Mr. Ho tells us.
"Aside from the syrup, we make our mooncakes a week before Mid-Autumn Festival. Compared to some of the imported mooncakes you can buy, which would have been produced months before Mid-Autumn, our mooncakes might taste harder, but it means they're fresher," Mr. Ho continues.
Kam Do Bakery will also sell its popular century egg pastry, red bean pastries and more in its Mid-Autumn gift boxes.
"This year is a lucky year for marriage in Chinese culture, so we're also busy producing traditional bridal pastries and tiered wedding cakes," says Mr. Ho.
While Kam Do Bakery is locally famous, Mr. and Mrs. Ho say their most loyal customers are their neighbours – including those who own businesses nearby. Their supportive community helps fuel their passion for creating and serving handmade sweet and savoury treats, even though they're at what many consider retirement age.
Mr. Ho worked in a Hong Kong-style café for 20 years before immigrating to Vancouver in the 1990s. But this multiple business owner soon started craving the flavours of home – and he wasn't alone. His neighbours, newcomers like him, missed the foods they grew up with, too.
So, he and his wife opened Kam Do Bakery to bring traditional Hong Kong-style food like wife cakes (a thin pastry with a flaky crust and sweet, candied winter melon filling), century egg pastries, and milk tea to Richmond. They now have two locations that serve an assortment of delicacies – both traditional and contemporary, like birthday cakes, towering crepe cakes and roll cakes.
After nearly three decades, Mrs. Ho has become the face of the bakery. She's personally trained most of Kam Do Bakery's pastry chefs and most customers associate Kam Do Bakery with her skill and hospitality.
Through expanding their bakery and innovating with new products and production methods, Mr. and Mrs. Ho have learned a lot about balance.
They've developed a close connection with their local TD business managers, especially since Mr. Ho also owns a jewelry business and a real estate business.
"I appreciate the expert advice TD offers, not only for our daily business operations, but also for wealth management, and estate and will planning," says Mr. Ho.
For him and his wife, it all comes back to recreating taste memories for the communities they serve.
"It was important for us to find a trustworthy bank to help us manage our capital, so we could focus more on creating great quality pasties for our customers."