Elderly couple who run Michelin Bib Gourmand-listed char kway teow stall in Ghim Moh retire
The couple behind the Michelin-recognised Guan Kee Fried Kway Teow stall at 20 Ghim Moh Road Market & Food Centre are retiring after more than 50 years in the business.
They broke the news on their Facebook page on Nov 27 “with a heavy and grateful heart”, but did not say when their last day of operations would be.
Their grandson, who declined to be named, told The Straits Times that the signs that it was time to step back had been apparent for a while.
“They struggle with meeting the physical demands of running the stall, sometimes starting their day as early as 3am to make up for the slower pace that comes with age,” he said.
The Bib Gourmand-listed stall was shuttered when ST went down to Ghim Moh on the morning of Nov 28.
Neighbouring stallholders said it had been closed for a month.
Customers who came down for one last plate of char kway teow were left disappointed.
“Happy retirement to them, but I really wished they had handed the business down to someone else,” said businessman David Yeo, who is in his 60s and had been hoping to try the stall’s version of the dish for the first time.
Mr Tan Hock Guan, 78, and his wife, Madam Chang Kha Noi, 76, founded the stall in 1969 on the premises now occupied by Thye Hong Centre in Redhill. The stall moved to its current location in 1978.
Famed for its snaking queues, the stall caught the attention of local food writers over the years and was featured in publications such as The Sunday Times and Lianhe Zaobao.
It also managed to grow its digital presence, amassing more than a thousand followers on Facebook.
The stall’s crowning moment came in 2019 when it clinched a spot on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list.
Their grandson said the stall was “more than just a business for them – it’s been a cornerstone of their lives’’.
He said: “As they reflect on their remarkable career, they deeply appreciate the community surrounding Ghim Moh Market and their customers, as it’s given them a profound sense of purpose and fulfillment.”
Mr Tan previously told The Straits Times that he was dedicated to his trade.
“I want to continue cooking,” he said in 2013, just before the Ghim Moh food centre underwent a three-year revamp.
He added at the time that he would see if he was still healthy after the renovations.