For the foodies in Singapore who love to eat ngoh hiang, you may be facing one less delicious option in the near future.
Another popular hawker stall located at Maxwell Food Centre will be permanently lowering its shutters come June.
The stall owner needs to take a break due to health reasons, and there are no suitable successors to continue serving up the food.
This is his story.
Popular Ngoh Hiang Stall That Operated for 81 Years Will Be Closing
Those who eat are Maxwell Food Centre frequently will probably have tried the bee hoon and fried items from the popular “China Street Fritters” stall here. After all, this stall had been operating for over 81 years.
Unfortunately, the hawker stall will not live to celebrate its century anniversary. The last day of China Street Fritter is scheduled to be 30 June of this year.
The main reason for the closure is due to Mr Huang’s eye problem, but this ill-fated hawker stall has had a long journey in terms of deciding when to cease operations.
The journey to close the stall began years ago, when the second-generation hawker stall owner, Mr Huang Guo Hua (Hanyu pinyin), had originally planned to retire by last March.
This was a plan devised by Mr Huang, his wife and three other siblings who helped to run the stall. They had hoped to sell their brand name and secret recipe for $1 million to retire comfortably in their old age.
However, the regular patrons of the hawker stall dissuaded the owners when they found out about this plan. Nursing a soft spot for these pleas, the Huang family decided to continue to whip up delicious food for their patrons but shorten their operation hours instead.
This decision was made after a month’s difficult deliberation. In the blink of an eye, almost a year had passed since that decision was made.
For those who are not familiar with this stall, Mr Huang sells fried food such as Taiwanese and regular sausages, fried prawn crackers, fried ngoh hiang (which are rolls of meat wrapped in beancurd skin), century eggs, fish cakes and so on. The fried food is usually accompanied by a plate of fried bee hoon to make a satisfying meal.
However, in a cruel twist of fate, it seems that the Huangs have once again returned to their original plan of retiring. But they do not have the $1 million payout for their brand name and recipe.
In fact, they now have no choice but to give up their stall because of Mr Huang’s health issues.
Would it have been better for the family if they didn’t heed their customers’ pleas to continue operations back then?
Speaking to Shin Min, Mr Huang shared in an interview with them that he had visited a doctor to check out his eyes recently. During that consultation, he was advised by the doctor that there was a “little black dot” at the back of one of his eyeballs.
The doctor also said that if this “little black dot” continued to grow in size, Mr Huang was at risk of losing his vision in that eye.
The news scared Mr Huang into action. He decided that he would no longer be able to run his stall. After all, health comes first.
In terms of treatment. An eye surgery to remove the black dot is on the cards. In fact, it is the recommended course of action for Mr Huang to take if the black dot behind his eyeball continues to grow in size.
As of now, Mr Huang is monitoring the situation but plans to undergo an operation to remove the black dot if his follow-up medical visit shows that the dot is growing in size.
Unfortunately, the eye issue is not the only health problem that Mr Huang is facing. He and his wife have also suffered strains and injuries to their legs as they had been standing for a prolonged period of time.
This stress on the legs was the reason that Mr Huang’s 79-year-older older sister stopped working at the stall and retired last year.
We cannot help but marvel at the tenacity of this family to continuously whip up delicious hawker food for others.
While there are multiple health issues to be treated, Mr Huang’s key focus at the moment is to treat his eyes. He revealed to Shin Min that his eye condition was the more pressing one out of all the other health issues he was battling.
As for the treatment for his legs and varicose veins, the decision on whether to undergo operations will be made at a later date.
We guess that health problems are inevitable once we grow old. Especially for those who work long and tiring hours without rest.
For fans of his food, do go down before it is too late. Mr Huang has set his heart on closing his stall.
He divulges that regardless of the result of his next eye check-up, the hawker stall closure date is fixed at the end of June.
What are you waiting for? This is one of your last chances to grab some food from a local hawker stall with a long history of serving up delicious fare.