Founder of popular Balestier Road Hoover Rojak in Whampoa dies, aged 71

In accordance with his wishes, the funeral cortege will drive past Whampoa Makan Place on Aug 26

Mr Lim Ngak Chew at his Balestier Road Hoover Rojak stall at the then Whampoa Drive Food Centre in 2013. PHOTO: HOOVER ROJAK

SINGAPORE - The founder of the popular Balestier Road Hoover Rojak stall in Whampoa Makan Place, Mr Lim Ngak Chew, has died.

The long-time hawker, who was famous for his rojak that comes with ingredients such as century egg, jelly fish and ginger flower, died on Aug 22 - about a month after he turned 71.

His daughter, Ms Lim Su Jiuen, 51, said he died from colon cancer after battling the illness for almost three years.

Mr Lim was diagnosed in 2014 with terminal stage of colon cancer that had spread to his liver. Ms Lim says her father was given at most a year to live at the time.

He handed the stall to his younger son, Stanley, 46, who has been running it since December 2014. He had another son, Matthew, 49, who is a manager in an electronics company.

Ms Lim, who works in the civil service, says her father was "independent and a fighter" who drove himself to his chemotherapy sessions because he did not want to bother his family members.

It was also apparent that the rojak stall retained an important spot in the heart of the grandfather of three even while he was undergoing chemotheraphy.

Ms Lim says: "Being a hawker was his life. He would still visit the stall at least twice a week. He would sit a few tables away and observe customers at the stall, and chat with regulars. He missed his stall.

"My father was a very jovial and service-orientated person, who loved talking to customers. He was always concerned if customers who queued up could eat his rojak."

Lim Ngak Chew when he was 34 years old, at his Balestier Road Hoover Rojak stall in Balestier Road. PHOTO: ST FILE

Last Friday, Mr Lim fulfilled his last wish - to visit his rojak stall one last time.

Ms Lim recalls: "He had his last taste of rojak and I could see that he was happy and contented."

Mr Lim started his rojak business in 1961 with a pushcart in Toa Payoh. After receving his hawker's licence in 1971, he settled at a spot opposite Hoover Cinema - where Shaw Plaza is now - in Balestier Road.

In 1978, he moved to Whampoa Drive Food Centre (now called Whampoa Makan Place), where the stall is currently located.

Balestier Road Hoover Rojak has been lauded with a Bib Gourmand for the past two years by the Singapore Michelin Guide. Ms Lim says: "My father was proud of this achievement as it was a big award to him."

Mr Lim was also recognised as a Hawker Master for Chinese rojak in 2013 in Singapore Press Holdings' search for the best hawkers.

Mr Lim's wake is held at Block 7A Lorong 7 Toa Payoh (multi-purpose hall) until the funeral on the morning of Aug 26.

In accordance with his wishes, the funeral cortege will drive past Whampoa Makan Place.

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