Smaller Default Larger

British ColonisationIn the heart of Chinatown, in an old wood and sheet metal building, the Chu Fung Leungs have taken up the fight to ensure that Chinese patisserie continues to be made in Mauritius.

Six days a week, Heong Kue, the patriarch, supervises the production of traditional sweetmeats. At the back of the shop he scrupulously follows the routine he was taught, kneading, mixing and sprinkling away. Every day he makes a dozen or so types of homemade cakes and pastries. Whilst his wife, Chew Clan Moi, lightly fries sesame gateaux stuffed with black lentil paste, he fills the cloth-lined wicker baskets with the famous "gateau la cire", a kind of rice and honey sweetmeat, which attracts customers from all over the island.

After cooking for eight hours, the "gateaux la cire" finds a place next to the "gateaux ledoigt", a light, crunchy snack at the counter, along with the Chu Chun Kow, a soft rice cake, and the Kee Fa Kow, which is made from rice flour and black sesame seeds.