The Story of Jin Ji Fishball Noodle
By Cecilia Joven Ong - Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014
This simple story is about the Toh family – the father, his daughters and their 30 years old noodle stall at Sembawang Hill Food Centre.
The elderly Toh though in his 80s, still wakes up very early in the morning to personally go wet-marketing for fresh ingredients like pork liver, lean meat and prawns for the stall. He’s been at it for 43 years now – serving up bowls of fish ball noodle or mee pok tah, before he went into semi-retirement mode and handed the reins to his daughters, the older being 55 years old and her 52 year old sister.
I asked whether she knew about a competing stall nearby in the same row of stalls and she revealed that it’s her uncle (her father’s brother), who was taught by her father. They used to be street hawkers along the road nearby before moving to the food centre many years ago. Though it’s an identical recipe, their ingredients are from different suppliers, hence the slight dissimilarity in taste. The crowd gravitate a little more to the sister’s stall though both have their regular customers. At peak hours, the waiting time can touch 30 minutes.
When asked whether would there be the 3rd generation to take over this stall, the emphatic and regretful reply was “no, none of our children are interested”. She knows it’s tough being a hawker and the younger generation lacks the patience and resolve to endure the hardship.
Such old school taste though simple but definitely memorable.
590 Upper Thomson Road #01-04 Sembawang Hill Food Centre Singapore 574419
Hours: 7am – 2pm, Daily