All busy in tidbits village
By CHRISTINA KOH
Come festival time, Buntong’s famous Kampung Kacang Putih is a hive of activity as its residents work extra hours to keep up with the orders.
In addition to its namesake, people in the village produce a host of other tidbits including muruku
and the doughnut-like athirasam
(also known as kuih peneram
Among the 40 family-based businesses making the popular Indian snacks there, one that has been going strong is that founded by the late S. Paloo.
Paloo, who passed away 10 years ago at the age of 60, left behind seven children, all of whom have followed in his footsteps.
Nearly every member in the family, young and old, is involved in the making, selling or packaging of more than 20 types of snacks.
TENDING THE FRYER: Rajarathi frying pagoda snacks with the help of her sisters Johti (centre) and Rasathi at the family house in Kampung Kacang Putih in Buntong, Ipoh, on Saturday.
Work starts at 4am with Paloo’s wife, S. Kanichandran, 55, waking early to prepare the ingredients. With the help of her crew, she usually finishes the frying, toasting and baking for the day around 4pm after having made 100kg of scrumptious snacks.
According to Paloo’s eldest daughter, Rasathi, 38, her father had migrated from India to Malaya when he was about 12 and learnt how to make different kinds of tidbits from his uncle.
“He used to go around town selling kacang putih
and other things. Later, when the snacks became popular, people would actually come to the house to buy,” she recalled.
She said making the snacks used to be a much more tiring process when everything had to be done by hand.
The family has since invested in modern equipment that slices tapioca and sweet potato and blends dough, although they still stick to the same traditional recipes that do not include preservative and artificial flavouring.
Another daughter, 33-year-old Rajarathi, said the family had been eyeing the export market.
“There have been times when people have dropped by to buy our snacks for their children studying in Australia and Indonesia,” she said.
Besides Rasathi and Rajarathi, the other siblings are brothers Velumani, 41, and Thangarasa, 27, and sisters Johti, 35, Thangamani, 29, and Kalaiselvi, 26.
Visitors passing by Buntong along Jalan Sungai Pari these days can catch a glimpse of Kampung Kacang Putih residents displaying their wares outside their homes.
The residents enjoy particularly brisk sales not only around Deepavali, but also Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and other festivals.
Perak Indian Chamber of Commerce president B.K. Kumar, who is married to Rasathi, said Kampung Kacang Putih was a particularly unique settlement in Malaysia.
“Of course, other people are making these snacks all over the country, but Kampung Kacang Putih has 40 families involved in this cottage industry,” he said.