Stuff of Legends: Chendawati Liem

Ask anyone from Bandung and they will share the same answer when you are looking for the best lapis legit in town. As the successor, Chendawati Liem is the architect behind the success of Ny. Liem now and the daunting task to preserve it rest on her shoulder.

Ny Liem (5)

Way before the oleh-oleh fever hits the weekenders in Bandung, there’s always Nyonya Liem’s classic treats in many households there. People still remember Ny. Liem as the lady who started it all since as far as 1966. For the citizens of Bandung, it was her who introduced us with the joy of baking and her delightful lapis legit.

Thousands of students have been under her tutelage over the years, for either personal or professional use. Perhaps even now, some of the best delicacies found in Bandung are made by those who were once the students of Ny. Liem. She has become a part of everyone in Bandung – be it as the kind next door baking teacher and the lady who owns the cake shop that we will visit from time to time.

Ny Liem (7)

Ny Liem (6)

Retiring since the turn of 21st century, her legacy is now under the good care of the second generation. Spearheading the effort to preserve her dreams, Ibu Chendawati Liem is taking her role seriously and so far, she has been expanding the enterprise beyond what was Ny. Liem would ever imagine.

Ibu Acen, as everybody would call her, loves to bake since forever. As the most famous cookery course provider in town, Ny. Liem would be a natural choice for those who seek to further their knowledge. On one fateful day, Ibu Acen decided to enroll in one of her classes.

Not only that she acquired what she’s after, Ibu Acen was also introduced with Ny. Liem’s son who would one day become her husband. After the marriage in 1990, Ibu Acen started to live under the same roof with the maestro. Since then, it has become her task as a devoted daughter-in-law as well as the right person groomed to be the successor of Ny. Liem’s long standing legacy.

Under Ibu Acen’s management, a series of strategic moves were implemented. One of the most monumental feats was the acquisition of a property not far from the cake shop on Jalan Naripan. This property was later designed to hold bigger audience for the cookery course as well as the specialty shop for all the baking needs.

Ny Liem (2)

Other than this, Ibu Acen is constantly on the move to create new recipes and keeping their business always on the edge by becoming the trendsetter.

“We will always have our hampers and lapis legit as our regulars, but over the past few years, we’re also introducing what’s hot out there for our customers”, she says. Until this very moment, whenever one is up for it, you can always find a good stock of RVC, rainbow cake, and Ny. Liem’s version of Tokyo Banana.

Ibu Acen is widely known with her stylized take on what Ny. Liem does best all this time with the lapis legit. There are now no less than a dozen of different motives of lapis legit and roll cakes available here. As we all know, lapis legit or what the Dutch called as spekkoek is a cake of extraordinary complexity. Silky and delicate, each of the layers has to be applied precisely yet patiently and hence that explains why lapis legit can be very expensive.

With her finesse and also staying true to the effort to preserve the powerhouse name of Ny. Liem, Ibu Acen participated in record breaking events as well. In 2012, she broke the MURI record by showcasing a 500 meter long of rainbow cake. Before that, she was also participating in another record breaking attempt with other prominent cake shops in Bandung.

Ny Liem (3)

Her mind now is forever set to impart the baking knowledge with everyone as well as expanding Ny. Liem’s business scope. “Hopefully soon, we will open our wedding cake gallery not far from here. As for my commitment in education, we have prepared the necessary permits for us to open a school one day. I’d like to do it one at a time”, shares Ibu Acen.

Ny Liem (1)

What’s good for the business as well is that her son Bjorn, has shown a lot of potentials and he’s committed to follow the footsteps of her mother. In many occasions as well as tending the day-to-day business, he’s always there for his mother.

“Now I can rest easy. The third generation of Ny. Liem will soon ready to take over me in th the future”, says Ibu Acen proudly.

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NY. LIEM | Jalan Naripan no. 52 & 80, Bandung | +62 22 4231425 | www.nyliem.co.id

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Photography: Ny. Liem’s personal collection

Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE Aug 2015 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

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