Buffet stint a holiday break

MADAM LIM YANG SEE, 57, who will be serving up hawker fare with her husband, Mr Ang Kean Teik, 65
MADAM LIM YANG SEE, 57, who will be serving up hawker fare with her husband, Mr Ang Kean Teik, 65

The new kids at the buffet are treating their stint as a holiday.

For the next three weeks, hawkers Lim Yang See, 57, and Ang Kean Teik, 65, will not have to work in their cramped stall at the Northam Beach Cafe, an alfresco food court in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah in Georgetown, Penang.

Instead, the couple will serve their dishes from a swanky hotel kitchen, in air-conditioned comfort.

Madam Lim says: "I treat this as a relaxing break. Here, we don't have to work from 5pm to 1am like we do back home. We only work when the buffet is on, which is lunch and dinner."

What will they do with the rest of their time? They have not decided.

I treat this as a relaxing break. Here, we don't have to work from 5pm to 1am like we do back home. We only work when the buffet is on, which is lunch and dinner.

MADAM LIM YANG SEE, 57, who will be serving up hawker fare with her husband, Mr Ang Kean Teik, 65

"But we are here to play," says Madam Lim, smiling. "We want to see Singapore."

They are making their debut at the buffet and will serve pasembur, a Chinese-Indian style salad with shredded cucumber and fritters covered in a sauce made with sweet potatoes, crushed peanuts and chillies.

The recipe comes from Madam Lim's father, the late Mr Lim Tee Mong, who became a hawker in the 1940s. She has been helping him out since she was in her 20s. About 10 years ago, she took over his business after he died.

Their stall serves about 80 customers a day, but it is closed for the period they are working at the buffet. Their son, 26, and daughter, 30, who have office jobs, are not keen to stand in for them while they are gone.

Is she sad to disappoint her customers back home?

"No, we are semi-retired and should take a bit of a break once in a while," she says. "Who knows, maybe this stint will also help our business. Singaporeans who like our food might come visit us in Penang."

Benson Ang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 13, 2016, with the headline 'Buffet stint a holiday break'. Print Edition | Subscribe