Hawker stalls that have lasted decades are practically institutions in Singapore, given that some of them have been around since before independence.
It’s thus easy to think they’ll be around forever, so their demise becomes all the more shocking.
Sadly, another decades-old porridge stall will be closing down for good — this time it’s Tian Tian Porridge in Chinatown Complex Food Centre.
The stall will be shutting at the end of October.
Tian Tian Porridge will be ceasing operations at the end of the month as the elderly owners are growing old and sick, reported Shin Min Daily News.
The five surviving Wang siblings running the show are between 71 and 90 years old.
Their ages added together come up to a total of 408 years old.
Besides third brother Wang Youlai, 81, there’s also his 89-year-old eldest brother, in charge of the cooking, and three sisters aged 90, 77 and 71.
Two more siblings, their eldest sister and second brother, have already passed away.
Mr Wang said people have told him that it’s a pity to wind down the business.
However, he told Shin Min that they have no choice as they’re all not getting any younger.
His second sister was recently hospitalised due to an illness, he revealed.
Mr Wang himself is showing symptoms of a stroke, he said, causing him to feel listless while walking and also affecting his memory.
Thus, they decided to quit completely.
They plan to take care of their grandchildren or enjoy retirement after the stall is shuttered.
Tian Tian Porridge started out as a roadside stall in a back alley off Smith Street, Mr Wang said.
His parents opened the stall in the 1950s, and it sold porridge and noodles.
It was been operating at the food centre on the second level of Chinatown Complex since 1983, serving up Cantonese-style congee and traditional noodles.
Mr Wang told Shin Min that his father had told them to study if they could.
However, they were also welcome to help out at the stall.
Thus, the seven siblings have been working at the stall since they were young.
When their father passed away, he left it to the siblings.
Since their mother also passed in 1998, they have taken on the responsibility of carrying on the family business.
They also ran Tian Tian Noodle House, which was in the adjacent stall.
However, that stall was shut down about one month ago.
It was known for its tasty wantan noodles.
After running continuously for more than 70 years, it’s truly sad to see another legendary hawker stall close down.
However, nothing lasts forever, and people get old. If there’s no young blood to take over then the business unfortunately has to end.
We wish the siblings a happy retirement, and thank them for providing Singaporeans with good food through the decades.
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