KUCHING: Noor Asmah Mohamed Mokhtar has her hands full making mooncakes to meet orders for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival.
Although the festival is traditionally celebrated by the Chinese, she has found a growing market for her halal mooncakes since she began making them eight years ago.
She picked up the art of making mooncakes from her late mother-in-law, who was a Chinese Muslim.
“In 2010, I started making mooncakes on a small scale for family and friends. After that, more friends requested me to make mooncakes and it kept growing from there,” said Nor Asmah, who is a Sarawakian.
Noor Asmah, who runs a home-based bakery in Petra Jaya here, now supplies mooncakes to customers as far away as Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
For this year’s festival, which falls on Sept 24, she has received over 4,000 orders.
She has also been invited to take part in the annual Kuching InterCultural Mooncake Festival from Sept 17 till 24.
“I never expected mooncakes to become my core business. When I first started, I just wanted to share them with my friends.
“About 70% of my customers are Malays while the rest are Chinese. I feel honoured whenever I get orders from Chinese customers because the mooncake is their traditional delicacy,” Noor Asmah, 42, said.
She is of the view that in Malaysia’s multiracial society, food does not “belong” to a particular community but can be shared by everyone.
“Food connects us, so by making halal mooncakes the Malays can enjoy it too.
“It’s similar to how we would visit each other during festive occasions like Hari Raya and Chinese New Year,” she said.
With the help of a full-time assistant, Noor Asmah produces 300 to 400 mooncakes a day.
Her mooncakes come in a variety of flavours such as lotus, red bean, pandan, green tea and durian.
This year, she has come up with a new Oreo recipe in line with the latest trend in baking flavours.
“It takes about one week to make a mooncake, from preparing the filling and skin to baking. After baking, it has to stand for a few days to become soft and shiny. Only then will the mooncake be ready for eating,” she said.