Cambridge Rd. Hong Kong Roast Pork – When Helping Others Makes Her Happy
Thanks to Tiger Beer’s Street Food Movement, I got to know about 65 year old Mdm Wong Li Er of Cambridge Rd. Hong Kong Roast Pork and the kind deed that she has been doing for years. Her thoughtful act was told in a video released earlier this week as part of Tiger Beer Street Food Movement, which is in its second phase and aims to rally Singaporeans to show their appreciation and gratitude to the people behind our local street food.
It was the fifteenth day of the lunar seventh month when I visited Pek Kio Food Centre where Mdm Wong’s stall is located. I felt really ashamed that this stall was under my radar even though I have worked near the hawker centre for a year.
This was the day where her hawker stall would be busy as many people ordered roast duck for prayers. But she was not flustered at all, one by one, she received their orders with the help of a 70-year-old lady. Even when she is operating a one-man show at her stall, she would get her helper to carry the roast duck or suckling pig for customers.
I sat through lunch, right in front of her stall and watched the scene of a day in the life of Mdm Wong unfold before me. There was already a queue when I reached at 11am and it was amazing how Mdm Wong seemed to know everyone in the queue and she chatted with them like all of them were friends. “I have been doing this for the past 50 over years. Many of them are long-time customers,” she replied.
Over 50 years? That’s half a century of selling roast meat! Her father used to sell roast duck and char siew in the old market where Mdm Wong and her sister would help out. Guess what’s more impressive? She gives out food coupons to the elderly twice a month for them to redeem meals at her stall.
“I don’t have many skills, so I use food to give back to society and the needy. It’s the best I can do. When I see the smiles on their faces, it brings me so much happiness. It’s a feeling money can’t buy.”
This regular unassuming roast duck stall has been feeding the needy in Pek Kio for more than 40 years, distributing coupons to needy households. On special occasions like Chinese New Year, she would also cook and pack food for them.
“It’s just a small thought on my part to give back to the community,” said Mdm Wong.
I had my plate of roast duck with char siew. It didn’t have the prettiest presentation but it’s the hard work and dedication that was put into the food that counts. Her husband does the roasting of the duck in their factory while Mdm Wong takes care of serving the food. The skin of the roast duck… it was thin and mildly crispy with layers of fats underneath. The char siew was beautifully caramelized.
She chops up the duck and drizzles two types of sauces onto the plate of white rice – dark soy sauce with pork lard and duck sauce. Because of the soy sauce, the dish was extremely fragrant and complemented well with the juices from the roast duck. Paired with her special chilli sauce with dried shrimps, it was simple but tempting. Her roast meats are accompanied with vegetables and soup – offering a medley of textures and flavours when paired with the white rice she serves.
“A plate of roast duck rice costs $3. If you add char siew, it will be $4. But for the elderly, I just charge them $2. Chin Chai lah, they need to eat also.”
Being a hawker is usually a physically tiring and thankless job. But look what we found – a gem in our little red dot! Not only did Mdm Wong work hard to sustain this integral part of our culture, she took a step further by giving back to society in the best way she can. It is such a wonderful feeling. ☺
As we understand the importance of preserving our nation’s unique street food culture, I think it’s also time to show our appreciation to our hawkers – who have labour-intensive jobs with exceptionally long hours. Share your photos of your favourite street food or hawker, caption a thank you note and post it on social media with hashtag #uncagestreetfood. For all that our hawkers do, it’s time to say thank you.
For more information on Tiger Beer’s Street Food Movement, please visit Tiger Beer Singapore’s website at http://www.tigerbeer.com.sg/uncage/streetfood and Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TigerBeer.SG
Cambridge Rd. Hong Kong Roast Pork
Address: #01-18, Pek Kio Market and Food Centre, Blk 41A Cambridge Road, Singapore 211041
Opening Hours: 7am to 4pm daily
This post was brought to you by Tiger Beer.
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