The story of Lai Foo Weng and his Fatty Weng restaurant

The Guillemard Road Fatty Weng, located in a shophouse in that area. The stall remained a popular after-hours hang-out until it was reclaimed by the landlord in 2014.
The Guillemard Road Fatty Weng, located in a shophouse in that area. The stall remained a popular after-hours hang-out until it was reclaimed by the landlord in 2014.PHOTO: COURTESY OF FATTY WENG
The book, a Straits Times Press publication, features family food businesses that are at least 50 years old this year.
Fatty Weng Restaurant at Singapore Badminton Hall in the early 1990s. With its seating capacity of 800, it became the venue for Chinese weddings in the 1980s.PHOTO: COURTESY OF FATTY WENG
Fatty Weng Restaurant at Singapore Badminton Hall in the early 1990s. With its seating capacity of 800, it became the venue for Chinese weddings in the 1980s. Lai Foo Weng, the founder of Fatty Weng Restaurant, with his son Derek in their Smith Stree
Fatty Weng’s signature Deep Fried Soon Hock. The marble goby — “soon hock” — is “heavily sought after for its sweet, delicate flavour”.PHOTO: TED CHEN

This is an excerpt from the book Delicious Heirlooms by Ow Kim Kit. The book features the stories of 10 family-run restaurants. It is available at leading bookstores for $32.10 (inclusive of GST).

Geylang is filled with many things exotic, and we are no longer talking about the streetwalkers. Singapore's once infamous red light and gambling district is a foodies' paradise. Along one lorong is the must-eat frog leg porridge and round the corner, the turtle soup… We could go on.

Derek Lai and I both spent our formative years here in Geylang, as primary school kids. I entered Maha Bodhi School in 1981 when it was located on Lorong 34 Geylang, while Derek studied at Kong Hwa Primary School right across on Guillemard Road. Speaking to him brought back a flood of memories. We used to dash across the roads, fish in drains, suck nectar (at least I was told it was nectar) from orange ixora flowers and get caught for doing all that.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 24, 2019, with the headline 'The story of Lai Foo Weng and his Fatty Weng restaurant'. Print Edition | Subscribe