While running a hawker stall is no small feat, it seems more and more young, tenacious cooks are up for the challenge.
This includes Samuel Chiang, 24, who recently set up a char kway teow hawker stall at Upper Boon Keng Market & Food Centre.
The stand, named Woks of Taste, opened just two weeks ago on April 1, but it’s no April Fool’s joke.
Pursuing her love for cooking
Samuel tells AsiaOne that from a young age he has always had a passion for cooking – so much so that he enrolled in the 12-month Hawkerpreneurship program at Temasek Polytechnic (TP) and the National Environment Agency (NEA). ).
But to pursue that dream, Samuel had to give up his place at a local college, where he was a freshman.
And while you might expect Samuel to have some culinary background, he instead holds an aerospace engineering degree from TP.
“Cooking is just my hobby in my free time,” he says, explaining that he usually cooks for friends and family “when the weather permits.”
“I also regularly watch cooking videos in my spare time so that I can further deepen my knowledge of different cuisines,” shares the self-taught cook.
While some more conservative families may frown upon such a career path, Samuel fortunately shares that his loved ones were very supportive as they know how much he enjoys cooking.
From home cook to peddler
Even though Samuel is passionate about cooking, the transition from home cook to peddler is no easy feat, especially since the dish he chose to specialize in isn’t the easiest to execute.
Samuel shares that he must have spent a lot of time researching and studying various char kway teow recipes. Apart from that, Samuel was also attached to an experienced peddler during the Hawkerpreneurship program, who eventually passed on his own recipe.
Samuel then tweaked and refined the recipe to his liking and gave it a try.
Along with various taste tests by his friends, the final product was ultimately approved by a panel of NEA judges, who absolutely “loved it”, he tells us.
Hoping that future generations can enjoy char kway teow
So why char kway teow, of all the local dishes?
“When I had to choose which hawker dish to sell, I chose char kway teow without any hesitation,” Samuel tells us confidently and adds that he has loved the dish since he was young.
In fact, he loves it so much that long before setting up his stall, he was preparing his own take on the dish at home.
He was also inspired to specialize in the dish when he noticed that many hawkers selling char kway teow were getting old, Samuel says.
“I’m afraid that one day future generations won’t be able to eat it. My goal is to keep this hawker culture alive so that many more can still enjoy my favorite dish.”
Address: Blk 17 Upper Boon Keng Rd, #01-40, Singapore 380017
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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