I have been selling hum jin pang (translated to fried salty pancake from Cantonese) since the 1970s. My first stall was located at China Street before I moved here to Maxwell Food Centre.
My hum jin pang sells for six for a dollar. In the past, it was only 10 cents per piece.
It was my father who taught me how to make the pancakes. When I was in secondary school, I would help him at the stall after classes ended. I found it fun and interesting, so I decided to continue his business. I have siblings, but they decided to work elsewhere.
This stall was once very popular. A lot of office workers nearby would come down to the stall to buy some pancakes. Most of my customers are regulars.
Having worked here for 30 years, every day repeats itself. This is also my very first job. But, I’m not tired of frying or eating hum jin pang. It’s a labour or love, and I feel proud of it. I still have one or two pancakes whenever the shop is open for business.
At my stall, customers can help me to fry the pancakes if they wish to. The frying wok is placed in front of my stall, along with a pair of long chopsticks. Sometimes, when I’m busy rolling out the dough they help me take the fried pancakes out of the boiling oil.
(At this point in time, an elderly uncle who helps out at this stall joins the conversation. They are old friends, and he calls her lady boss.)
Uncle: My experience working as a hawker is very rich. We are dedicated to our work, having been hawkers for more than 30 years. You also make some good friends.
I used to have my own stall here, selling ang ku kueh (translated to red turtle cake from Hokkien). But I’ve since retired now that I’m in my 60s. As and when, I’ll come down to help fry the pancakes. We take it one day at a time.
When I was younger, I didn’t think too far about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’d even skip school sometimes! It was only later on that I decided to become a hawker.
At home, I enjoy growing plants. This aunty on the other hand, loves to travel.
(Aunty giggles embarrassedly.)
Aunty: No, I only go to Johor once in a while to eat and shop!