Chinatown Claypot Rice Hawker Says She’s Retiring, Will Close Once Ingredients Run Out

Zhao Ji Claypot Rice Stall Owner Says She’s Retiring Due To Manpower Issues

The owner of a renowned claypot rice stall at Chinatown Complex has announced her intention to retire after over 40 years due to a manpower crunch.

Numerous social media posts, including on Hawkers United, broke the news of her impending retirement yesterday (18 Mar).

Source: Facebook

Madam Deng plans to permanently close when she runs out of ingredients or on 23 Mar, whichever is earlier.

Chinatown claypot rice stall owner to retire

According to a Facebook post on the Hawkers United – Dabao 2020 group, the hawker has decided to retire due to manpower issues.

Source: Google Maps

“She told me that she just can’t get [a] stall assistant, Singaporean very hard to employ and mostly having the boss attitude and . . . quit easily,” Melvin Chew, a user on the group, shared.

According to an interview with Lianhe Zaobao, the 60-year-old said she is still fit and healthy enough to continue working.

However, her two grown sons have no intention of carrying on the business.

“Although I am reluctant to give up, running the stall is really tiring. I get the stall ready at 5am, and when I get home, it’s already 10pm,” she said, adding that her sons also encouraged her to retire as soon as possible.

Known for using iron pot & gas

Although most claypot rice stalls use a clay pot and charcoal fire to get a distinctive ‘charred’ taste, Madam Deng uses an iron pot and gas instead.

Source: Google Maps

Though untraditional, her methods have proven wildly popular, and she has been serving up her claypot rice since the 1980s when she moved here from Hong Kong.

Unfortunately, she said she has to retire because she hasn’t been able to find anyone who can capture the same taste.

Luckily for those who’d like to get a last taste, Madam Deng said she would be open until her ingredients run out, or Thursday (23 Mar), whichever is earlier.

Do note that waiting times can be upwards of an hour.

Here’s how you can get there.

Zhao Ji Claypot Rice

Address: Chinatown Complex, 335 Smith St, #02-53, Singapore 050335
Opening hours
: Tuesday to Sunday, 11am-7pm. Closed on Mondays
Nearest MRT stations: Chinatown, Maxwell

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