Famous Chinatown radish cake stall shuts

SINGAPORE - A famous hawker stall selling steamed radish cake and yam cake in Chinatown has wound down its business. Ah Lo Cooked Food, located on the second floor of Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, was a favourite among regulars, with 45 years of history, Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday.

Stall owner Dai Derong operated from only 5pm to 7.30pm daily, usually to snaking queues.

He served up 26 platters of yam cake and six platters of radish cake daily, taking 11/2 hours to steam each batch.

Even though business was good, the 80-year-old decided to close the stall as he was getting on in years and had no successor.

Shin Min visited the stall on Monday night and found it empty, with shutters drawn and the signboard removed.

A neighbouring stallholder, who identified himself as Mr Lin, 40, told Shin Min that Mr Dai had cleared the stall out early on Monday and left with bags of items at about 5pm.

Mr Lin added: "Mr Dai said that he and his wife were getting on in years and no longer had the strength to keep operating, so they decided to shut down and retire."

He shared that Mr Dai's wife was more than 70 years old, and that the pair would start preparing for business from about 9am every day.

They would leave only at 8pm after cleaning up.

"Their children would not take over the business so they had no choice but to quit."

Food critic K. F. Seetoh sighed over the loss of another traditional hawker stall.

He told Shin Min that he felt Singapore should have more cooking classes to encourage young people to learn how to prepare traditional dishes.

He added that such delicacies are a part of the country's culture, one that has been continually eroded as older hawkers retire.

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