The Stall is closed. The old man has retired.
Now this was a very fun blog entry to write. Our group of makankakis visited Serangoon Way Food centre and carnineviand told me about this famous Newton Char Kway Teow stall. It was 3.30pm in the afternoon and there was a queue outside the stall. Being a skeptic, I asked if the Char Kway Teow was really that shiok or are they just famous. The usual answer I get for such a question was, predictably, that they used to be really good but the standards have dropped somehow. But he said, “You should see how the old man fries his Kway Teow!” Ok, I was curious enough to investigate. The old man behind the wok must be in his 70’s and he was attacking that wok like a loan shark trying to extract money from a defenceless debtor. I mean his whole body was shaking, rattling and rolling so much that it was make a belly dancer jealous. And he looked as if he was really enjoying himself! So I struck up a conversation in Teochew and found out that he had been frying Char Kway Teow for 40 years. I did not want to be short changed, so I issued him my ultimate challenge. I asked the old man to fry for me the Char Kway Teow from 30 years ago! I wanted a no holds barred, do whatever it takes, gimme gimme gimme a shiok shiok plate…..of Char Kway Teow!
Most of the time, it just pays to be nice to people. The old man cleared the area, pulled up his pants and stirred up a Char Kway Teow storm. He was frying with the gusto of a 21 year old, joyfully re-living the memories of a long forgotten youth. My request had set him free to perform his magic on every strand of Kway Teow Mee. Ok, I am getting a bit carried away. But my makankakis all agreed that this was a plate of Char Kway Teow to behold. Especially for carnineviand whose faith was miraculously restored. The big difference with this Char Kway Teow was that the old man uses a seafood broth made from freshly blanched squids, prawns and cockles to wet his Char Kway Teow instead of plain water. This gave the Char Kway Teow an added seafood flavour. A Char Kway Teow worth going back for. 4.5/5
Another really good Char Kway Teow but the most endearing of all was the sight of a 70 year old man doing what he has been doing for 40 years as if he had just started doing it yesterday. That, my friends is what I call PASSION. And THAT is what makes his Char Kway Teow great.