Owner Of Kim’s Famous Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee In Eunos Is Looking For Someone To Take Over
As the cooks behind Singapore’s beloved hawker dishes aren’t getting any younger, many are looking for successors.
Now it’s the turn of a well-known Hokkien mee stall in Jalan Eunos, whose elderly owner has started looking for someone to take over.
He plans to sell his business and secret recipe to his successor, but until then, he’ll keep going.
Eunos eatery owner has been frying Hokkien mee since 13
78-year-old Mr Tan Kue Kim, owner of Kim’s Famous Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee, has been frying the dish since the tender age of 13, when he picked up the skill from his cousin.
As he opened his own stall at 17, he’s been in the business for 65 years.
He’s since expanded to a seafood eatery in Jalan Eunos.
Cook-owner famous for his dress sense
Despite doing so for decades, Mr Tan still hits the wok himself, cooking the same Hokkien mee he’s been serving for his whole life.
In fact, he’s known for his iconic sense of style — cooking Hokkien mee in a long-sleeved shirt with a Rolex watch on his wrist.
He told Shin Min Daily News that he started dressing like that in the 1980s.
Back then, people considered hawkers as “blue-collar workers”, distinct from “white-collar workers” like those in clerical jobs.
So as not to be looked down on, he decided to wear long-sleeved shirts and branded watches at work.
As for whether such attire would be unsuitable next to a hot stove, he said as long as one has the “heart” to cook good food, they won’t feel hot even in long sleeves.
He’s looking for a successor for the long-term
However, Mr Tan said he’s “getting older every year”.
As such, he started to think about finding a successor a few years ago, as it would be a pity if his secret recipe wasn’t passed down to someone.
Thus, as he wants more Singaporeans to have a chance to taste his food, he’s looking for a successor for the long term.
This is despite the fact that he has three children.
While his eldest son is in the catering business and is trying to learn how to cook his food too, Mr Tan thinks he’s still not good enough.
So he’s decided it’s better to look for another suitable successor to take over.
He plans to sell Eunos business & Hokkien mee recipe
If Mr Tan finds a suitable successor, he plans to sell his business and Hokkien mee recipe, he said.
He will also consider staying on as a consultant for a year or two to ensure the taste of the food is preserved.
He goes to market at 5am daily
However, satisfying him won’t be that easy — he has strict standards, and any successor can’t be sloppy, he maintained.
For example, to ensure quality, he insists on buying fresh ingredients at 5am at Geylang Serai market every day.
He then starts cooking his first plate of Hokkien mee at 11am and only closes shop at midnight, with a break from 3pm to 5pm.
He told Shin Min that he doesn’t plan to shorten his business hours despite getting older as he’s used to this routine.
As he’s still in good health, he also said he plans to continue working till he can’t do it any more. After all, frying noodles can be considered a form of exercise too, he quipped.
He’ll remain open till successor is found
Thus, he has no plans to retire in the next three years, nor will he close the business after he’s found a successor, he added.
Meanwhile, for those who want to catch Mr Tan in action and taste his Hokkien mee, here’s how to get there:
Kim’s Famous Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee
Address: 62B Jalan Eunos, Singapore 419510
Opening hours: 11am to 12am, daily
Nearest MRT: Eunos
Hopefully, he will find a successor soon, so his food and legacy will continue to delight Singaporeans’ tummies for a long time to come.
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