Home / Lifestyle / Food

Pastry Commander

By Wang Ying | Shanghai Star | Updated: 2014-11-15 09:31

Pastry Commander

Kitchen king: Ling Heming, son of Ling Qingxiang, making chestnut cakes in 1970s. [Photo provided to Shanghai Star]

It was the first Chinese-owned Western restaurant in Shanghai, and over the years the popularity of Kaisiling's pastries has continued to grow. Wang Ying reports.

In the 1920s, eating Western food became a symbol of social status in Shanghai. Socialites were proud to dine on Western cuisine, and as a result, Western restaurants became very popular but all of them were run by foreigners.

In order to break the monopoly of the Western food market, Chinese businessmen Lin Kangmin and Deng Baoshan opened a Western restaurant at the crossing of West Nanjing Road and Maoming Road in 1928, becoming Shanghai's first Western restaurant with a Chinese owner.

From 1926 to 1928, the Northern Expedition, a military campaign led by the Kuomintang, ended the rule of the Beiyang government and local warlords, and the restaurant named itself Kaisiling (凯司令), or "Triumphant Commander" in Chinese to celebrate the victory.

The restaurant employed eight pastry chefs, who were headed by Hu Fusen. Six months after opening, they employed first-class pastry cook Ling Qingxiang. Ling, who had been working at a German restaurant where he was well-known for his outstanding pastry baking skills. Ling also brought his two sons to join Kaisiling.

The Lings were not only good at making tasty cakes, they also had excellent skills in decorating the cakes with creams, creating vivid images of flowers, animals and handsome English writing, which made Kaisiling a rising star in the city's pastry world.

The carriage-style café was extremely popular for its German-style pastries, and its customers were either local celebrities or foreigners, according to Zhu Weina, labor union chairman of the Shanghai Kaisiling Food Co Ltd.

Previous 1 2 3 4 Next