Hoover Fish Porridge hawker Yeo Cheng Huat dies at 76, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Hoover Fish Porridge hawker Yeo Cheng Huat dies at 76

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Mr Yeo Cheng Huat, owner of Hoover Fish Porridge in Whampoa Drive, died on Sunday at the age of 76.

His grandson Xavier Yeo announced his passing on the hawker stall’s Facebook page on Tuesday.

The late Mr Yeo’s funeral took place on Thursday. The cause of death was ischaemic heart disease.

His grandson said Mr Yeo had complained of breathlessness last Saturday night and his elder son, whom he lived with, had called for an ambulance. Mr Yeo was a father of two sons and two daughters, aged 44 to 51.

Xavier, who works as a flight attendant, had just returned from a work trip to Japan on Saturday evening and had planned to help out at the stall on Sunday.

He last saw his grandfather on March 1 before leaving for Japan, telling The Straits Times: “We ate chicken rice together at one of his favourite eateries – Boon Tong Kee in Whampoa West – that day.”

Mr Yeo, his elder son and Xavier were looking forward to a trip to Phuket from March 22 to 28, with flight tickets and accommodations all booked.

Xavier’s grandfather had been diagnosed with lymphoma in November 2022 and was admitted into Tan Tock Seng Hospital before getting discharged in January 2023.

“He recently told us that he would prefer to die of a heart attack than a slow and painful death after seeing my grandmother struggle with cancer for two years before she died,” says the 25-year-old.

His grandmother, Madam Ang Geok Lian, died at age 73 on Mr Yeo’s birthday on Oct 29, 2021.

She had worked alongside her husband ever since they opened the stall at Whampoa Makan Place in 1975.

It closed for a few months after her death until March 2022, when Xavier’s father Yeo Kim Yeow, 44 and who is the youngest child, took over the reins.

Grandpa Yeo called home on 05/03/2023. We will be closed for the rest of the week, thank you for your patience, we will be back soon

Posted by Hoover Fish Porridge on Sunday, March 5, 2023

He also took charge of frying flatfish which is used in the stock. He would usually arrive at the stall at 11am, leaving at 8pm.

Xavier says: “My grandfather was a hardworking man who taught me about work ethic. He was also passionate about his cooking and always looking at ways to improve.”

In July 2022, Mr Yeo introduced a new item to the menu, handmade meatballs, which proved popular with customers.

He named his stall Hoover Fish Porridge as a nod to his father, who had started the business as a streetside stall selling fish porridge and fish soup outside Hoover Cinema at 360 Balestier Road in the 1960s.

An archived photo of Hoover Fish Porridge. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO


Mr Yeo had learnt the ropes from his father.

As a foodie, Mr Yeo enjoyed both cooking and dining out. He had a preference for hearty meals and shunned vegetables.

Despite having high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, he continued to indulge in his favourite foods such as Teochew braised duck rice, fishball noodles and ngoh hiang.

Xavier says: “We often went together to eat his favourite food such as the Teochew porridge at Hong Lim Market & Food Centre and Indian rojak at Tekka Market. He had quite an appetite and sometimes could eat breakfast twice when in a good mood.”

After his lymphoma diagnosis, Mr Yeo started drinking vegetable juice for breakfast, but still could not resist his favourite hawker fare. His last meal last Saturday afternoon was fried oyster omelette from a neighbouring stall.

Ms Yian Tay, a regular customer who was at the stall for dinner at 5pm that day, says: “When he is not busy, he always has a smile for customers. He is very meticulous about his food preparation and I often see him cutting up the fish.”

The 48-year-old real estate agent adds: “I was very sad to hear the news. It’s not going to be the same without his friendly face around.”

The stall is currently closed, but Xavier’s father will resume business on March 17.

Xavier, who learnt how to prepare fish soup and porridge from his grandfather, has plans to join the business full-time eventually. He helps out at the stall on his days off.

While his grandfather had previously received offers to buy over his business, he had never entertained them as he had hoped to keep the business and recipes within the family, Xavier says.

“He was very happy when I told him I was willing to carry on our family business. He had never once pressured any one of us to do so, but I know it would please him.”