Gopeng’s residents seem to be very particular about the ingredients that go into every dish they prepare, and are inclined to support their own cottage industries.
Food supplies made with fresh ingredients and without preservatives are much sought after here, and the people of Gopeng are very proud of the produce from their town and around Perak.
The products from ‘Hup Teck’ soya sauce (kicap) factory in Kampung Rawa Baru near Gopeng town is one of their favourites.
This factory has been operated and managed from the same wooden house for over 140-years.
Gopeng townsfolk will know what you are looking for if you ask them for the 999 (house number) ‘kicap’ factory run by Uncle Tong.
Tong’s father had set up the factory together with two other business partners in 1916.
‘Hup Teck’ isn’t exactly a brand name it’s just a name you’ll see on a small signboard as you enter the traditional wooden house cum factory.
It’s a humble abode, and the vast open space in front of it is laid out with earthen pots laden with soya beans baking out in the heat of the sun.
This should give you an idea of the ‘organic’ nature of this traditional soya sauce maker.
Why traditional? Firstly, no colouring or preservatives are added, and secondly the whole process of producing the sauce is all natural.
As you can see from the pictures, natural sunlight and fresh air is relied on for the fermentation process which takes about three months. This process is carried out in the special earthen pots brought in from China when the factory first started operations.
These are processes and fixtures you’d never see in factories which mass produce soya sauce.
The recyclable bottles of light and dark kicap and tauchu (fermented soya beans) don’t come with labels.
Also bring your own bag or box to pack your purchase in – no plastic bags here.
My purchase was neatly wrapped in sheets of old newspaper – just like how it was done before grimy plastic bags took over our lives.
At one time there were six soya sauce factories in Gopeng, but Hup Teck is the only one that survived the test of time – despite not having a fancy brand name, marketing team or advertising.
Former Gopeng residents and outsiders privy to this piece of the town’s heritage often turn off the PLUS Highway to make a stop here and pick up their supply of soya sauce manufactured the old-fashioned way.
It is definitely worth the detour. Thank you to the Gopeng Heritage & Tourism Association / My Hometown Gopeng members for the tour.
More spots in Gopeng you must visit: