Uncle Tetsu’s @ Summerton, Penang

That day when we were done with lunch and were headed back from Thai Boat Noodle to our car, we passed by Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake and saw this:

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No queue!

Okay, well, there were a few people in the queue, but it wasn’t the usual 50 or 100 people. And we spotted a bunch of cakes fresh out of the oven. We went to the counter and asked if those cakes were for earlier orders and the cashier said no. Apa tunggu lagi (What are we waiting for)? Go and join the short queue lah!

Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake originated from Japan. You can read more about the story in their website here. Long story short, the cheesecake’s popularity began in Japan in 1985 and today has spread to many countries.

Those of you in KL would have already known how famous Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake is. Those of you in Singapore, Thailand, China, Taiwan and (of course) Japan would probably know of this brand too. This shop in Summerton is their first outlet in Penang and has just opened for business about two months ago.

I heard stories from those idiots who joined the early queues (madness) that their ovens have only a capacity of 30 cakes per every 45 minutes baking cycle, so they can only produce 300 cakes each day. Each person is only allowed to purchase 1 cake, you have to queue to get a numbered ticket and then come back later to collect your cake.

As far as I know, there is still a healthy queue ongoing everyday, so I guess maybe we were quite early that day (if 12 noon is considered early), or maybe we were extremely lucky to be able to get our hands on the cakes easily.

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The story of the cake

They do sell some other stuff, like the Angel Hat cheese zucotto and Cheesesticks, but the most popular item (by far) is still their Signature Cheesecake. The claim is that they use premium Australian cheese and Japanese butter to make these cakes, hence the cakes being so delicious. Do take note that Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecakes are Japanese cheesecakes, or some would call them cotton cheesecakes. They are extremely light and soft and fluffy, the opposite of those heavy and compact American style cheesecakes.

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The Signature Cheesecake

Anyway, so I got the cake. The cake is priced at RM 21 per cake. And I had a slice of it later that day during afternoon tea break. My verdict?

(English/Chinese/Cantonese)

Is the cake nice? 好吃吗?好唔好食啊?
– Yes, very nice indeed. 真的还蛮好吃的。真系几好食嘅。

Is the cake really really, super duper, extraordinarily nice? 有没有好吃到爆?有无好食到比你飞起咁啊?
– No, not THAT nice. 那倒没有。咁又无咁犀利。

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I don’t know. Since a few months ago, I heard so many bloggers rave on and on and on about how wonderful this cheesecake is. And then I’ve seen how crazy those queues are. And then I’ve even heard how so many of those stubborn Penangites acknowledged the wonderfulness of this cake.

Some say when you take a bite of this Uncle Tetsu’s Signature Cheesecake a fleet of Unicorns will immediately gallop past you in front of your eyes followed by a few Pegasuses flying over your head, and that when you finished an entire slice even the Earth’s magnetic poles would realign in such a way that the Aurora Borealis would dance in front of you instead of in the Arctics’ skies.

All I know is… none of these extraordinary things happened…

I’m still sober after even a few slices… I suppose it is a case of over-inflated expectations causing and underwhelming actual experience. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this is a horrible cheesecake. It is a nice cheesecake, very nice indeed. Is it worth RM 21 per that small 16 cm cake? Absolutely, especially if what they claim to use to make these cakes is true. Will I want to buy this cake again? If circumstances permit, why, yes of course!

But, will I want to buy this cake again if it means having to queue up for an hour and then coming back again to collect later? No. Probably not…. I mean definitely not. Not in a million years!


Side note:

I’m quite worried for this outlet here in Penang. I can actually foresee the novelty of this shop dying down in another couple more months time. If anything, I know very well how Penangites operate when it comes to new food experiences. They are totally a different breed compared to KLites. What works in KL long term will only work in Penang for a few months. That’s why most top rated KL based food franchises rarely bother with coming up here.

I hope I’m wrong though. I have been wrong before anyway… But if my prediction is correct and their business really do start to plummet, I believe they can probably do away with the lansi (arrogant) approach and start to practice free market options where customers are allowed buy more than 1 cake per person, and to have options to buy cake slices instead of a full cake…

32 Comments

    • Oh, probably not, I think it was pure luck that I was able to encounter no queue. I drove past the shop today and the queue was “healthy” again.. 😛

  1. Whoooaaa!!! I saw Uncle Tetsu’s long beeline crowd when it was newly opened at One Utama. Till today I have no chance to eat this and I am sure I will LOVE IT! I have eaten some similar ones in Japan and they were SO BAGUS! It has been almost 2 months or so since its opening and the queue is still there till closing. I must go there early in the morning for a change. Oh well, my house is just nearby.

    • Maybe you can try Sunway Pyramid. According to Nux V’s sister (see her comment), no queue there..

    • Huh.. so starting to be no queue in KL huh… Penang still new, need a couple more months I guess..

  2. Yes, I have seen that cake shop in China! But I don’t remember if I have eaten it because there are a lot of similar cake shops! (Maybe they are all copying this one?). I ate a cake from one of them once and yes, it is nice, but I wouldn’t queue for it either…

  3. I’ve been hearing a lot on this Uncle Tetsu cheesecake, but so far I not yet taste it.. The closest one I could get easily is the one from Aeon bakery, the chilled Japanese cotton cheesecake, taste very nice too..

    • I like the AEON’s one too, this Uncle Tetsu’s one is even lighter and fluffier than AEON’s cheesecake though. Some people like this more, some people like AEON’s more. I’m okay with both. 😉

  4. Is that what some bloggers said?…unicorn, Pegasus and everything…wakakaka! 😀 I’ve never come across such reviews though. As you know, I don’t really like cheese that much although I can still eat it in small amounts. I’ve yet to try this famous Uncle Tetsu cheesecake because all I want is just one slice and since they don’t do that, I may never know…until….;)

  5. I love Japanese baked cotton cheesecake – soft, light, not overly rich like the regular cheesecakes.

    RM20 sounds all right. The nice ones at a bakery here are selling at RM14 for an oval one, not even half the size of this one, I think. I have never tried this one – but the first time we ever had it was Uncle Mitsu at Centrepoint (Cold Storage), Singapore. Was $10 each then – if it is at that price today, it would be a lot more expensive than what you bought.

    Ah well!!! To each his own…but if there’s a queue, I sure would be able to live without it. No way I will queue for it, not even a short one. If business is so good, open more counters lah – respect your customers. I will never subject myself to such humiliation by anyone I am paying money to. Nothing that will cause me to die if I do not eat it and the customer is always right. Ridiculous! Tsk! Tsk!

    • Hah, I don’t know about Uncle Mitsu, Uncle Tetsu’s is a real Japanese brand that is franchised here directly from Japan. That’s probably one of the reasons why people go crazy for it.

      I can’t say I agree with you about the humiliation part. I don’t think queuing up is a humiliation. In fact I don’t think anything is a humiliation as long as people do it out of their own choice. Different story if the cashier tells me to f*ck off when it is my turn. Furthermore, the shop is designed to have 1 counter, if I open more counters just to cater for big crowds at the starting phase of the business, what do I do with those counters when the novelty wears off and I want to settle back to normal business capacity? Let those counters be a symbol of my dwindling business and ward off future potential customers?

      I guess maybe I have spent some time on both sides, as shop owner (my dad’s) and as customers, so I won’t quickly jump into accusatory mode when things don’t go well for customers. For me, if I had a bad experience in a shop, I would just practice my freedom of choice and leave, but I would not think the owner is intentionally humiliating me. Just because the customer is always right, doesn’t mean that businesses have to bear the consequences at all cost. For me, respect has to go both ways. It is mandatory for business owners to respect us, but isn’t it nice if we also respect them and understand their situation sometimes?

    • I dunno in KL need to wait how long before there is no more queue. Why not just go get it when you go shopping? Take number, go shopping, then come back for the cake later..

  6. Did you eat the cake before or after you kept it in your fridge? The texture is a bit different before and after. Some of my friends prefer the texture after storing it in the fridge for a day. So you ate the whole cake by yourself?

    Of course they will let people buy more than one cake as time goes by. But slices, I don’t think so because I don’t think the cake will taste good if it has been cut up before hand. So let’s see how long this shop stays open in Pg.

    • Haha no lah, I did share with some friends over tea break. I had it both ways. I had a bit the next morning for breakfast after a night’s refrigeration. I thought it felt colder and a bit more dense, nothing else different. But then I’m insensitive when it comes to taste and texture so what do I know..

      I think if they refrigerate like how they already do at the counter, should be fine even if sliced?

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