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Calling all aspiring hawkers: Owner of Michelin Bib Gourmand To-Ricos Kway Chap is looking for a buyer

Calling all aspiring hawkers: Owner of Michelin Bib Gourmand To-Ricos Kway Chap is looking for a buyer
PHOTO: Facebook/To Ricos Kway Chap

The life of a hawker is not easy but if you're passionate about becoming one, here's a good opportunity.

Phua Gek Sia, the owner of famous Michelin Bib Gourmand brand To-Ricos Kway Chap, is trying to sell his recipes as he is retiring.

Speaking to AsiaOne, the 70-year-old hawker shared that he made the decision because his age is catching up with him.

"Actually retirement is not my main motive. But I am not getting any younger, I would like [to] take [a] backseat and have a strategic investor to assist in expanding the business.

"As we all know, manpower shortage is always an issue. Especially for hawkers, we can only hire local and PRs. And for kway chap, it involves a lot of cleaning of the organs [meat], not exactly something that people aspire to do," he shared.

And though Gek Sia's kids do help out at the stall once in a while, he does not want them to take over the reins as they have their own careers to worry about.

This leaves him with no successor for To-Ricos Kway Chap.

As of now, the hawker is not giving an asking price upfront for his recipes.

"I really have no idea how much the business is worth. We will see if there’s any offer," he told AsiaOne, adding that some aspiring hawkers have shown interest and he is in the midst of discussions with them.

This is unlike China Street Fritters, another hawker that went viral in 2021 for trying to sell their 80-year-old brand and recipe for a staggering $1 million

However, in the event there is no buyer, Gek Sia will continue to work but with reduced hours.

Previously, he would work 16 to 18 hours a day and now, it's 14 to 15 hours a day.

Gek Sia has run the business for over four decades and first started out at the defunct Blanco Court building.

"The whole journey has not been easy since I started 40 years back," he told us emotionally."

From my very first week of business, i remembered I was washing the innards, with tears in my eyes and pondering, did I make the right decision to go in this path?"

Later on, he moved the stall to Old Airport Road Food Centre.

And in 2019, after years of hard work, he finally got the recognition he wanted when he was awarded the Singapore Michelin Bib Gourmand.

Apart from the kway chap stall, the hawker also has a dessert stall, 51 Soya Bean, at Golden Mile Food Centre.If he successfully manages to sell To-Ricos Kway Chap's recipe, he plans on spending his semi-retired life working at the tau huey stall.

And while it has been a tough few decades, Gek Sia has no regrets.

"It’s the whole journey that will be missed most. And also my regulars customers, those that followed me from Blanco Court Food Centre. And the new customers who supported us through Covid-19 with home delivery orders," he said emotionally.

More hawkers selling their business

Of late, several hawkers have announced that they want to sell their business. 

Earlier in May, the owner of Uggli Muffins shared that he is single, getting old and has no successor in sight

But after months of looking for a successor, the owner has called it quits and will be shuttering both his stalls at Toa Payoh and Jalan Besar. 

Popular Western food stall Wow Wow West shared on Oct 1 that they are looking to sell off their business and are seeking potential buyers. 

The new owners will also get fully-equipped kitchen facilities, recipes, and training support during the transition period.

Speaking to AsiaOne, Elizabeth Huang, the daughter of the Wow Wow West owners, confirmed that they are selling the hawker business off due to her parents retiring. 

Though she did not disclose the ballpark figure they're looking at for the sale, they are looking for someone with the "right finances".

ALSO READ: Rolex-wearing owner of Kim's Famous Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee looking for successor after falling out with son 

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