Swa Garden Teochew Restaurant closes, 300 customers flock there to say goodbye

Mr Chen Daying, 62, personally cooked for customers in the last days of Swa Garden Teochew Restaurant's operation. The 18-year-old restaurant closed on Sunday (April 16).
Mr Chen Daying, 62, personally cooked for customers in the last days of Swa Garden Teochew Restaurant's operation. The 18-year-old restaurant closed on Sunday (April 16).PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
More than 300 customers flocked to the restaurant daily in its last few days.
More than 300 customers flocked to the restaurant daily in its last few days.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
More than 300 customers flocked to the restaurant daily in its last few days.
More than 300 customers flocked to the restaurant daily in its last few days.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE - A well-known Teochew restaurant closed its doors on Sunday (April 16), but not before hundreds of customers flocked to the MacPherson eatery.

The two bosses of Swa Garden Teochew Restaurant, which opened in 1999, told Shin Min Daily News in a report on Monday (April 17) that they decided to fold the business as they could not find successors.

Mr Wu Guangliang, 64, and Mr Chen Daying, 62, added that their health was ailing.

Mr Wu told Shin Min that at least 300 customers visited the restaurant at 540 MacPherson Road daily in its last days of operation.

He and Mr Chen took to the kitchen to personally whip up dishes for customers.

 
 
 
 

"Many customers ordered our signature dishes, such as roast pork and orh nee ( yam paste with gingko nuts)" he said. "To make sure the supply was enough, we specially prepared extra ingredients. Yesterday, (April 15) we sold more than 15 roast pigs, thrice the usual amount."

Regular customer Mr Liu, 71, told Shin Min that it was difficult to get a reservation at the restaurant after news of its closing broke.

"I brought my family of six here to root for them, but the roast pork and orh nee were sold out, such a pity," he said.

Customers were unwilling to see the restaurant close, with many of them staying behind to take photographs with the staff, Mr Wu said.

"Many of them wanted to take pictures with us for a memento, and to see so many old customers reluctant to see us go, it was really very moving," he said.

Now that the restaurant is closed, Mr Wu said he intends to take a break, but is unsure how he will deal with retirement.

"Since I was young, I've been used to being busy. Now that I am suddenly free, I may not be used to it," he said.

To thank their staff for their years of support, Mr Wu and Mr Chen held a special dinner for them at the restaurant.

The restaurant on Friday (April 14) posted a note on its Facebook page, saying: "Thank you, all our customers, for so many years' of support!"

Wistful customers left messages on the post, with one Samuel Lee C M saying he was "going to miss their fried kway teow and many authentic Teochew dishes".

Facebook user Desmando Obayashi Goh said it was "so sad to hear that it's closing down forever", while Ng Yvonne said she had a reunion dinner at the restaurant every year.

"2016 is the last we had there, (it's) a memory to us now," she wrote.