I didn’t realize that the great K.F. Seetoh (the man behind Makansutra) is writing for Huffington Post now but I suppose at this point it’s more a matter of who isn’t writing for Huffington Post (well, me, for one). Anywho, his latest post is a fascinating story about a man in Singapore who has been manning a hawker stall for 40 years.
He was christened a Makansutra Hawker Legend in 2005 and these awards aren’t up for grabs every year. We have not given out this street food accolades since. Legends in any form, don’t grow on trees and fruit yearly. But Mr Ng Siaw Meng sells satay beehoon, a Southeast Asian Silk Road dish of sorts that made its journey from Indonesia, through China and evolved to this version in Singapore and unique to this nation.
It’s a simple dish, by concept, a plate of blanched beehoon (rice sticks) slathered in a smooth yet nutty spicy peanut satay sauce that’s topped with lean pork, prawns, cuttlefish, blood cockles, tofu and textured with bean sprouts and water spinach (kangkong). But it only sounds easy to do, like sending a rocket to the moon. His rendition is addictive at the least, and it’s a culinary pilgrimage you must do each time you mention his dish and stall. It’s a very rare dish and it’s not easy to find nor learn to cook it in Singapore.
The queues at his stall each evening in the East Coast Food Lagoon, are relentless, fragile with patience, till the last plate is served just before midnight. Technically, Mr Ng serves the world’s best plate of satay beehoon.
The thing is, Mr. Ng has stage 4 stomach cancer and the doctors have given him just 3 months to live. He needs S$200,000 to cover his remaining medical fees (and also some for his brother) so he’s decided to sell the top secret recipe that has carried him through his life. But he won’t sell it to just anyone. Read the entire story to find out more.