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May 14, 2011

Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle - Then and Now

Mr Tang Chay Seng at Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle in the 1980s. Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS)

Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS)

Mr Tang Chay Seng at the Tai Hwa Eating House at Crawford Lane now.

Can you spot the difference of the series of photos then and now?

Same people. Same business partners. Different times. Different Experiences. Different business locations but the same "bak chor mee" secret recipe inherited from the same "Tai Hwa" proprietor in the same country.

Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS)

Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS)

Local food-lovers are fans of the "Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle", commonly known as "bak chor mee" (translated as "minced pork noodle" in Hokkien).

Mr Tang Chay Seng, the proprietor of Tai Hwa "bak chor mee" located at Tai Hwa Eating House, Blk 466, Crawford Lane # 01-12, Singapore 190465.

According to Mr Tang, "We are the one and only original Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle". In 1932, his father started the business at Hill Street and handed over to him in the 1960s with 3 years of "mentorship". The "secret recipes" as a trade secret preserved from father to son.

In 2004, the stall was removed from its location at Hill Street to Marina Square and then to Tai Hwa Eating House at the present location.

The original ingredients had remain unchanged over the decades. However, at Marina Square, customers could include meatball fritter as an option.

The price of a bowl of the "Bak Chor Mee" at Hill Street was 50 cents each in 1980s.

Young Singaporeans do not remember "food heritage"...memories about the favourite food in the 1930s but those who were born in the 1980s or later.

I remember. In the 1980s where I worked at Koon Hoe & Co. at the Chinese Chamber of Commerce at Hill Street, I was the "errand boy" to buy the Tai Hwa Pork Noodle for lunch for everyone in the office. At that time, the "bak chor mee" was prepared by Mr Tang Chay Seng's father. Heritage food memories from a personal perspective.

I grew up without "fast food" or "instant milk", that's why I tend to be slower in developing my mental and physical growth ;)

Every new generation of Singaporeans change with their eating habits and diets, just as the difference of individual preference from person to person. As said, "one man's meat is another man's poison".

Food for thought!

This is not a 'foodie" blog for advertising, food review for taste rating or popular voting by customers or comparison of the various legendary "bak chor mee" masters.

"Heritage food" documentary is to be presented at Sitting In Pictures .



Blogger lim said...

Thanks for the blog. I think Bar Chor Mee was more popular in the early era than today due to our young's changing diet. My best memory of Bar Chor Mee was a makeshift stall in front of a coffee shop at the corner of Braddell Rd and Upper Serangoon Rd junction. Unfortunately, it's gone. There was also a very nice chicken rice stall in the coffee shop. I think it is still around, a few shops away.

May 14, 2011 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger Lam Chun See said...

I like bak chor mee but most of the stalls that I patronize tend to add too much lard in the dry mee. Also sometimes, I forget to tell them not to put liver. Hate the stuff and ruin the whole meal.

May 14, 2011 at 10:42 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thanks for passing by this way Mr Lim. Appreciate sharing food heritage of your memories and experience. Cheers!

May 15, 2011 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Good advice to be health-conscious and eat healthy, Chun See. The food I eat during my young day for "shiok" food but lots of unhealthy, oily stuff. Changed my types of diet since then. Cheers!

May 15, 2011 at 11:32 AM  

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