Better with age: Singapore eateries which have survived generations

In the fickle, trend-obsessed food-and-beverage industry, three family-run eateries have stood the test of time to mark milestones this year. The Sunday Times finds out how they survived through the decades, weathered a pandemic and continue to serve generations of customers while staying true to their brand.

(Clockwise from left) Rang Mahal's second-generation owner Ritu Jhunjhnuwala, Mr Lau Fook Wah, Madam Tham Lay Mon and their son Kevin Lau at Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles stall, and CEO of Islamic restaurant Kalilnoor Rahaman Abdul Wahab.
(Clockwise from left) Rang Mahal's second-generation owner Ritu Jhunjhnuwala, Mr Lau Fook Wah, Madam Tham Lay Mon and their son Kevin Lau at Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles stall, and CEO of Islamic restaurant Kalilnoor Rahaman Abdul Wahab.ST PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI, GIN TAY

50-year-old Indian restaurant Rang Mahal's boss on lookout for successor


Rang Mahal's second-generation owner and managing director Ritu Jhunjhnuwala has started looking for a successor. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

After Indian fine-dining restaurant Rang Mahal hit the big 5-0 this year, second-generation owner and managing director Ritu Jhunjhnuwala started looking for a successor.

The 56-year-old says: "It's been a beautiful journey. Many guests have celebrated their weddings here, and now their children come for their own celebrations. Moving forward, someone else can bring a new vibrant energy."

Now, her focus is on giving back to society, such as supporting non-profit organisation Willing Hearts and the Breast Cancer Foundation.

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Tradition is key for owners of 70-year-old Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles


Mr Lau Fook Wah (left), Madam Tham Lay Mon and their son Kevin Lau at Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles stall at Pek Kio Market and Food Centre, on March 8, 2021. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles, which started as a pushcart plying Rangoon Road and Owen Road, turns 70 this year.

And its second-generation owners - Mr Lau Fook Wah, 79, and his wife Tham Lay Mon, 76 - are not giving up the wok any time soon.

But once that happens, their second son, Mr Kevin Lau, 50, who now operates a car-wash station, is looking to switch things up.

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Briyani specialist Islamic Restaurant turns 100 years old on April 4


Kalilnoor Rahaman Abdul Wahab, CEO of Islamic restaurant at his restaurant North Bridge road on Feb 24, 2021. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Come April 4, this great-grand-daddy of briyani turns 100 years old.

Instead of the big celebrations planned two years ago, third-generation owner Kaliloor Rahaman Abdul Wahab, 59, is marking the occasion by following in his grandfather Abdul Rahiman's footsteps - giving back to the community.

Since last Wednesday (March 10), he has been delivering free packets of chicken briyani to front-liners in hospitals and polyclinics. This will continue till April 2. He is likely to exceed his target of 2,021 packets, which references the year. Members of the public will also get free chicken briyani if they rock up to the restaurant on April 4 from 11am to 1pm.

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IT company to partner River South (Hoe Nam) Prawn Noodles


(From left) Mdm Png Peck Lian, team supervisor, Mr Bobby Tay Chee Png, operations director, Mdm Lee siew Kwan, store manager and Mr Png Aik Seng, director. ST PHOTO: YONG LI XUAN

More than a year after working with the famous River South (Hoe Nam) Prawn Noodles in Tai Thong Crescent, its new partner is finally ready to announce the takeover of the brand.

Information technology company Micro 2000 Group started by supplying raw ingredients to the Png siblings behind the prawn noodle brand in June 2019. Other food-and-beverage brands under it are Kwan Inn Vegetarian, Som Tam Express, Gin Khao and Tastebud foodcourts.

Calling it a partnership, the group's director Noel Lim tells The Sunday Times in an exclusive interview that a "six-digit sum" was paid to Mr Png Aik Seng, 63, and his sister Png Peck Lian, 57. Another sister has retired.

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Heritage restaurants hanging on despite Covid-19 pandemic's hit to businesses



Owner and chef Eric Chua of Chin Lee Restaurant. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

Despite being fully booked throughout the Chinese New Year season, Chin Lee Restaurant's festive takings dropped by 40 per cent compared with last year.

Safe distancing measures and limited seating of eight to a table dampened what is usually the most profitable time of year for the restaurant, says second-generation owner and chef Eric Chua, 48.

The Teochew restaurant in Bedok North, which opened in 1973 in Changi Road, had a capacity of 360 seats before Covid-19. Now, it can seat only 220 with safe distancing measures.

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