Serving ice kacang here since 1991

MR LEE ENG HUAT, 60,who will be manning his stall with his 30-year-old nephew Mr Lee Wah Chai (both above)
MR LEE ENG HUAT, 60,who will be manning his stall with his 30-year-old nephew Mr Lee Wah Chai (both above)

He is the longest-serving hawker at the York Hotel Singapore's popular Penang Hawkers' Fare buffet.

Mr Lee Eng Huat, 60, has been serving ice kacang, chendol and Penang rojak at the event since 1991.

He says: "I keep coming because it's an honour to be invited to go overseas to promote ourselves and our stalls in Singapore.

"Some of the regular customers at the buffet are so comfortable with us, they chat with us as they collect their food and even ask for our location in Penang."

His bowls of ice kacang are drizzled with rose syrup and gula melaka syrup, which he makes himself using a recipe passed down from his grandfather and granduncle from the 1920s.

I'm lucky someone in my family wants to continue the business. Not every hawker has this good fortune.

MR LEE ENG HUAT, 60, who will be manning his stall with his 30-year-old nephew Mr Lee Wah Chai

His Penang stall is at New World Park Food Court in Burma Road, in the heart of Georgetown.

The business started in 1923, when his grandfather Lee Kar Tee and his granduncle Lee Ah Keat started a roving stall selling ice kacang in the Jalan Rangoon area.

In 1950, his father, Mr Lee Soo Khan, inherited the stall and moved it to a permanent position at Swatow Lane, a one-way street known for its hawker food stalls.

Since the 1960s, he and his three siblings have been involved in running the stall.

He has an older brother, Eng Lai, and two older sisters, Ah Guat and Ah Kee.

In 2007, like many other hawkers on the lane, they moved their stall into the newly built New World Park Food Court, so they could do business in the comfort of a clean environment.

Mr Lee is married to a housewife, 56. They have two daughters, 20 and 25. The younger daughter is studying in a private college, while the older daughter is working as a clerk.

He will man the stall at the buffet with his 30-year-old nephew Lee Wah Chai. He says: "I'm lucky someone in my family wants to continue the business. Not every hawker has this good fortune."

Benson Ang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 13, 2016, with the headline 'Serving ice kacang here since 1991'. Print Edition | Subscribe