Showcase on hawkers here puts succession in spotlight

Celebrity Moses Lim telling the media about the signature dishes that China Street Fritters offers, with stall co-owners Ng Kok Hua - who is Mr Richard Ng's brother - and his wife Ong Siew Eng in the background. Left: Roasted pork, char siew and roas
Celebrity Moses Lim telling the media about the signature dishes that China Street Fritters offers, with stall co-owners Ng Kok Hua - who is Mr Richard Ng's brother - and his wife Ong Siew Eng in the background.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Celebrity Moses Lim telling the media about the signature dishes that China Street Fritters offers, with stall co-owners Ng Kok Hua - who is Mr Richard Ng's brother - and his wife Ong Siew Eng in the background. Left: Roasted pork, char siew and roas
Roasted pork, char siew and roasted duck from Hock Soon Roasted Duck Rice - a business that Mr Chan Tuck Kwai, 52, took over from his father-in-law.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Mr Richard Ng and three of his siblings took over their father's famed ngoh hiang stall and have kept it going for two decades, but it looks like the business could end with their generation.

Said Mr Ng, 62, who has nine siblings: "We are hoping for someone from the third generation of the family to express an interest but none of our children, nephews and nieces - more than 19 of them - are keen."

Ngoh hiang is a dish of pork and other ingredients that are rolled in bean-curd skin, and fried.

Mr Ng's stall, China Street Fritters, which he operates with his siblings, was among seven stalls featured in the Hawker Spotlight yesterday.

The event was organised by gas supplier City Gas and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), as part of this year's Singapore Food Festival.

The stall also sells pork liver rolls and liver sausage or guang chiang, among other things.

Singapore's famed hawkers are bracing themselves for a tough future - manpower constraints and a lack of successors to take over from them are among their biggest challenges.

Ms Ranita Sundramoorthy, director of attractions, dining and retail at STB, said: "Hawkers are an integral and unmistakable part of Singapore's multi-faceted food landscape, so it is fitting to shine the spotlight on them at the Singapore Food Festival, the only event here dedicated to showcasing local cuisine and culinary talent."

Mr Ng and his siblings are second-generation hawkers who took over the business from their father when he died about 20 years ago.

The event also featured Mr Chan Tuck Kwai, 52, who runs Hock Soon Roasted Duck Rice - a business he took over from his father-in-law.

His signature dishes are roasted pork and char siew, or Chinese barbecued pork.

Mr Chan said he has no intention of putting any pressure on his son to take over the business.

However, he said he wants to pass on his cooking skills to the boy, who is now in Secondary 3.

He said: "I tell my son, whether you are interested or not in becoming a hawker, just try and learn the craft."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2017, with the headline 'Showcase on hawkers here puts succession in spotlight'. Print Edition | Subscribe