Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the elder generation of Singapore hawkers. For most of them, there will be no one to take over their trade once they retire, as their sons and daughters have no wish to toil for hours behind the hot stove like their parents have done for decades.
When this happens, a generation of priceless skills and recipes will be forever lost.
Hence, my current mission in life is to seek out as many of these heritage hawkers as I can before they hang up their woks and pots for good.
One of them is Mr Tan Teng Mui, 62, who has been frying char kway teow for more than 40 years. He started his business at the tender age of 18 near the former Thong Chai Medical Institution. In those days, that area was known as Wayang Street (before it was renamed Eu Tong Sen Road). Mr Tan is thus popularly known as the Char Kway Teow Man of Wayang Street.
Since 1987, Mr Tan has been operating at his current location after the hawkers in Wayang Street were resettled due to urban redevelopment.
At first bite, this tastes like your average fried kway teow. But with each subsequent mouthful, it slowly grew on me.
The slippery flat rice noodles are very smooth and moist, contrasting nicely against the al dente yellow Hokkien noodles.
Although the wok hei flavor isn’t very intense, the noodles are sufficiently fragrant. I would have preferred a heavier hand of black sweet sauce and fish sauce, but overall, the sweet and savoury flavors are superbly balanced.
I also like the generous dose of beansprout for that crisp, refreshing touch.
And though I’m not a fan of see hum (blood cockles), I appreciate the fact that Mr Tan and his wife still insist on shucking fresh cockles on the spot for their char kway teow. Most hawkers these days opt for the packaged ready-shelled variety, which definitely can’t beat freshly shucked cockles when it comes to flavor.
Mr Tan also fries up a more than decent plate of fried Hokkien prawn mee. But between the two, the must-try dish is definitely the fried kway teow.
Stall has no English name — Chinese name is thus translated as:
Sheng Cheng Fried Kway Teow Hokkien Mee 生成炒粿條福建麵
132 Jalan Bukit Merah
132 GHK Food House
Open daily: 12pm to 9.30pm
Closed on ad hoc basis
The image in this post was captured with Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V (review unit from Sony Singapore).