A Day With 90-Year-Old Hawker Ah Ma Who Still Works At A Wanton Noodles Stall
While many choose to retire upon reaching old age, others continue to work and stay dedicated to their craft.
90-year-old Ms Leong Yuet Meng of Nam Seng Wanton Noodle House belongs to the latter. Her stall has been around for 60 years and she’s probably the city’s oldest hawker.
How does Grandma Leong spend her day? Our Grandfather Story’s video gives us a glimpse of her daily life.
Starts her day at 4:30am
The crickets are still chirping at 4:30am so it might be too early to wake up. Although dedicated hawkers like Grandma Leong rise and shine to begin the long day ahead.
Drinking coffee is a must for ah ma and she regularly has at least two cups per day.
By 6:00am, she buys ingredients at the wet market. Since walking is difficult, she has a helper that accompanies her throughout the task.
Her son drives her to the shop. While the journey isn’t always smooth, she’ll successfully arrive at her wanton noodle shop at 7:00am.
Her work routine
The first thing Grandma Leong does is cut the char siew and assist her workers.
The hawker legend has imparted her cooking skills to her dedicated team.
Although she can sit back and relax, she still insists on working at miscellaneous tasks.
They say age is just a number and we’re inclined to believe it after seeing her take orders and serve noodles with much gusto.
She can remember up to 10 orders at a time which proves that her memory remains sharp.
Since Singapore is a multi-lingual country, she can even take orders in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin.
She takes pride in her dishes ability to bring joy to locals and tourists. As long as her customers remain happy, Grandma Leong remains happy.
Eating lunch & reading newspapers
For many hawkers, lunchtime is at 2:00pm when orders begin to wind down.
Despite their abundant supply of wanton noodles, she’ll opt to eat rice for some variety.
Unlike most millennials, Grandma Leong insists on reading old school newspapers. She relaxes with a copy of Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao, and Shin Min Daily News.
Her ideal successor
Many locals undoubtedly want her to continue her legacy but who will inherit the business? There are no successors at the moment and she’s still thinking about her decision.
Her ideal successor would treat customers well with a smile on his/her face.
It’s hard to say how the businesses’ future will look. Grandma Leong jokes she could even say “bye bye” any time.
Visit old hawker
Grandma Leong is the oldest hawker legend in the city.
She began her career as a canteen vendor at a school and then set up her stall at the former Stamford Road National Library.
Her Nam Seng Wonton Noodles shop is a short 8-minute walk from the Raffles Place MRT.
Nam Seng Wonton Noodles
Address: Far East Square, 25 China St, #01-01, Singapore 049567
Time: Mon-Fri, 8:00am to 6:00pm; Sat, 8:00am to 1:00pm; closed on Sundays
Nearest MRT: Raffles Place MRT
Fans of wanton noodles should definitely make a visit. We bet she’s perfected the classic dish after 60 years of service.
Featured image from YouTube.