This stall, tucked in one corner of Old Airport Road Food Centre is the most underrated stall that we have uncovered during our Satay Trail. The most famous satay stall at the Old Airport Road is Chuan Kee where you may sometimes have to wait an hour before you would be served your satay. In contrast, there was hardly a queue at Chye Seng.
This is one of the few stalls I have come across where everything is still made by hand by the stall vendors. Aunty tells me she still slices the meat by hand, making sure to remove the sinews and slicing against the grain to ensure tenderness. She even makes her own ketupat by filling bamboo shells with rice and still insists on frying her own peanuts to make the gravy. Such artisans are very rare and with no one to take over, we’d lose a piece of our history the day they decide to retire.
The stall can boast of a legacy of over six decades. It was Mr Lee Tua Tee’s,76, father who started selling satay off a pushcart in the Tai Seng area in 1960. In those days each stick of satay cost 5 cents, which may sound cheap to us, but was quite costly compared to other hawker dishes! Satay was, and still is one of more expensive hawker dishes. From Tai Seng, they moved to 6th Mile market where they were contemporaries of Nam Seng Hokkien Mee and Hougang 6 Mile Muah Chee before relocating to Old Airport Road in 1991. Those of you who can still remember 6th Mile market, would also recall that there were actually two satay stalls at the market. The other one was the now defunct Poh Kee Satay.
Hawkers like these couple are a real gem. They work every single day and spent their whole lives just making this one dish. With no one to take over the stall when they retire, we will lose another hawker gem. Better to and enjoy it while you still can!