New book captures stories of 10 of Singapore's well-known family restaurants

Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and for Culture, Community and Youth, and Ms Ow Kim Kit, author of Delicious Heirlooms, at the launch of the book at the National Library on Feb 16, 2019.
Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and for Culture, Community and Youth, and Ms Ow Kim Kit, author of Delicious Heirlooms, at the launch of the book at the National Library on Feb 16, 2019.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - The stories of 10 well-known family-run restaurants in Singapore, some dating back to the 1920s, are featured in a new book called Delicious Heirlooms.

The 10 restaurants are Fatty Weng, Guan Hoe Soon, Huat Kee, Islamic Restaurant, Ka-Soh (Swee Kee), Ming Chung Restaurant, Muthu's Curry, Sabar Menanti, Samy's Curry and Spring Court.

The author, lawyer Ow Kim Kit, chose to feature family food businesses that are at least 50 years old by next year.

The book recounts the sacrifices and hardship that the restaurant founders experienced when they came to Singapore as migrants who brought culinary influences from their homeland, and how they managed to successfully create "Singaporean cuisine".

One business featured - Spring Court in Upper Cross Street, Chinatown - is one of Singapore's oldest family-run Chinese restaurants.

It was started in 1929 as a makeshift stall at Great World Amusement Park by the late Ho Loke Yee, who is credited with fusing traditional Cantonese cuisine with local ingredients.

Ms Ow noted that Spring Court was instrumental in developing Singaporean Chinese cuisine. Its dishes include claypot chilli crab, roasted chicken with minced prawn, and double-boiled chicken stuffed with bird's nest in superior soup.

 
 
 
 

The Straits Times Press publication, out in bookstores now, was supported by the National Heritage Board.

Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and for Culture, Community and Youth, officiated at the book launch on Saturday (Feb 16) at the National Library in Victoria Street.

She said: "There is no better time for this book to be launched than at the beginning of our bicentennial commemorations. It is a timely tribute not only to our rich multicultural food heritage but also to the many sacrifices our forefathers made to ensure that Singapore continued to progress over the decades."

All proceeds from the sale of the book, costing $30 before GST, will go to the charity, Club Rainbow.