He asked, '$3?'. I said, 'No. I just want the $2.50.'
I seated at the table right in front of his stall. The Uncle served the rojak in a few minutes.
He stood beside the table and started chatting with me. He said this stall has been around for 30 years. Honestly, i never quite expect this stall to be around for decades as the signboard looks pretty clean to me. Uncle said he has been painstakingly in maintaining it. And, he said most of the stalls in this food centre are new and these new stalls usually last only a few months.
He started his stall with his Sister and Brother but both of them decided to call it quit and left him alone. He said he has to wake up very early to get all his ingredients then prepared it. He said he usually has to work from morning to about 10.30 pm or slightly earlier.
While chatting with Uncle, i took a bite of the tau pok. Both the you tiao and tau pok have got a delightful crispiness. I told the Uncle so. He said, he toasted it before he served it. He said the only secret to keeping its crispiness is not to serve it immediately after toasted.
He said he insisted in using the freshest ingredients to serve. He told me that he has been using the Prawn Paste from Penang to mix his rojak. He actually proudly having it stated on his signboard, too. The other ingredients found in the rojak were the fresh tasting cucumber, pineapple, turnip and lots of beansprouts to add the desired crunchiness to the texture. It was topped with bits of freshly grounded peanuts to enhance the flavor. The portion was rather good for $2.50. The taste is actually comparable to those famous ones out there. I could tell the prawn paste is of a good quality as it is rather thick with a rather distinctive taste.
I would have invited Uncle to pose for my picture but he is a bit shy to do so. He is the type of hawker that deserved my respect. He is passionate in serving quality food at an affordable price. Uncle shared that the business is not as good as it used to be after the closure of the cinema. I do hope his stall is still around when i am here the next time. I hope his stall is able to survive for another decade or longer.
I enjoyed the chat with the Uncle and his rojak.
TIAN TIAN XIANG ROJAK
69 Geylang Bahru
#01-2735 Geylang Bahru Food Centre