Journey To The East: MasterChef Alumnus Opens Mee Hoon Kueh Stall In Bedok
Let's get straight to the point cuz we know you probably won't read anything after this and just want to know the address of Aaron Wong's new mee hoon kueh stall:
Blk 18, Bedok South Road, #01-45, Singapore 460018:
If you're still reading this, the MasterChef Singapore Season 1 finalist and professional photographer wants to reiterate: "It’s a coffee shop. Stall no 5. We are right in the middle, so you won't miss us."
He adds: "We will operate all day from 8am to 8pm. So for those who complain we close too early, now you can have us all day!"
And so far so good: the 44-year-old hawker who opened his first Jiak Song mee hoon kueh stall in Telok Blangah in 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, happily reported that he sold out all 500 bowls of his popular dish at the Bedok stall on its first day of opening on 3 July.
We caught up with Aaron about the new setup, answering the call of Eastsiders, and the importance of preserving our UNESCO-recognised hawker culture.
Was it part of your plan to expand and open another mee hoon kueh stall? What prompted you to do so?
There had always been plans and hopes to expand. I guess that’s anyone’s dream when they start a business. But I kinda took it a step at a time to see how the first stall would do - that’s why it took over 10 months.
In this time, we've received plenty of feedback from people all over Singapore, hoping that we could be nearer to them. However, as we all know, times are really bad now, and the uncertainty of another lockdown/CB/HA/whatever-you-want-to- call-it is a very real and scary factor.
But while many may say it’s unwise to invest now, we feel that the show must go on because pandemic or not, we need to keep the hawker culture alive. So we decided to put our money where our mouth is and go for it instead of digging a hole in the sand and waiting out this pandemic.
As for why we opened in the East? Well, that's simply because there have been so many Eastsiders ask for it, that we simply couldn't ignore them. So to all these guys, we heard you!
Will Eastsiders get the same menu? Or will you have any special items?
You know that saying, "if it ain't broke, don’t fix it"! So yes, we have the same menu in Bedok as the original stall. If you loved us at Telok Blangah, you’ll love us here.
Ehhh... but will you be the one cooking? Eastsiders will want you to be the cook leh. Will you keep making journeys to the east?
Yes! I’ll be there for a month at least, then I’ll run between the two stalls. But don’t worry, I’m tasting the food every day, so I’ll make sure you jiak song song!
What are you most looking forward to with this stall? Do you foresee Eastsider customers being very different from Southsiders?
I somehow always feel that Eastsiders are all the foodie folks. I dunno why I have this impression, maybe because there's so much good food there? So I’m very excited to feed these guys!
That said, I think eating (besides complaining) is our national pastime, and we all love to travel for food. So north, south, east or west, this is still our Little Red Dot - and nothing brings us closer together than good food!
It has been quite jialat for hawkers during this pandemic, but thankfully, things seem to be looking up. Why is it so important to keep our UNESCO-recognised hawker culture alive?
Yes, times are bad. In fact the recent COVID cluster at Bukit Merah hit us pretty bad too. But like I always say, the show must go on. This stupid pandemic has already taken so much from us, we cannot let it take our food too.
Also, to maintain our UNESCO status, we need to ensure that there is progression in the hawker culture, if not we lose that as well.
So we really want to keep the scene lively and share good news rather than always hearing grim stories of hawkers closing. We are really biting a bullet here. So come support us so that we can keep bringing you good food - not just in Bedok, but at our original Telok Blangah stall as well.
All about Aaron...
Read more about and watch this MasterChef Singapore Season 1 finalist in action here on Wonderwall.sg
Watch the video above and let Aaron prove to you that, yes, you can actually achieve work-life balance as a hawker - and perhaps this will inspire you to consider advancing and preserving our beloved UNESCO-recognised hawker culture.
Read the story of how and why Aaron opened a mee hoon kueh stall in 2020 in the middle of a pandemic: "After years of talking, I have decided to put my money where my mouth is and support the hawker culture in Singapore with my first humble little hawker stall. Pandemic or NOT."
We've collated a treat for the foodies: "Aaron Wong's Stay-Home Survival Cookbook", our hit DIY video series offering food hacks, tips and tricks by Aaron - to binge-watch to your heart's content.