Old-school eatery in Clementi to close

Union Farm Eating House started operations in 1953 as a chicken farm and became a full-fledged restaurant in the 1970s when the farm closed.
Union Farm Eating House started operations in 1953 as a chicken farm and became a full-fledged restaurant in the 1970s when the farm closed. PHOTO: ST FILE

Owner wants to sell Union Farm Eating House and the recipe for its popular paper-wrapped chicken

Union Farm Eating House, the old-school eatery at 435A Clementi Road that is famous for its paper- wrapped chicken, will be closing early next month.

Its second-generation owner, Mr Chia Kar Wing, 55, is looking to sell the brand as well as the recipe for the chicken dish.

Contrary to a Shin Min Daily News report of an asking price of at least $2 million, he says he has not quoted a price and is open to discussions.

He says in a mix of Mandarin and English: "I'm not sure how much my recipe is worth. If eventually we have no buyer, then it's heaven's will. We'll have to see how it goes. Maybe I'll find another job eventually."

Mr Chia, who is single, says he has no next generation to pass the business to and his family members are ageing.

Regardless of whether a sale is made, the eatery will have to go because the landlord is selling the land, he says.

He has been given a deadline to move out by October and had planned to stop operations at the end of this month. But he decided to continue until early next month for his loyal customers. Even extending by a few weeks, he says, is not easy because of the lack of manpower.

He says that any potential buyer must be interested in running a food and beverage business, and must retain the tradition and taste of its moist paper-wrapped chicken.

Union Farm Eating House opened in 1953 as a chicken farm. It started serving its signature paper- wrapped chicken - a recipe developed by Mr Chia's late father - in the 1960s and became a full-fledged restaurant in the 1970s when the farm closed.

The restaurant closed in February 2012 when the neighbouring Singapore Institute of Management asked for the return of its part of the land to expand its campus.

Seven months later, Union Farm Eating House reopened with a smaller kitchen and menu.

It retained its signature paper- wrapped chicken, along with other dishes such as egg noodles or bee hoon with oyster sauce, and fried quail.

Sounding upbeat, Mr Chia says: "Many customers bring their third or fourth generation to dine with us. We are grateful for their support.

"Hopefully, someone will continue the tradition of our paper- wrapped chicken."

•Follow Eunice Quek on Twitter @STEuniceQ

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2017, with the headline 'Old-school eatery in Clementi to close'. Print Edition | Subscribe