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Chef Andre Chiang pays tribute to late Sim Lim ice cream uncle, recalls dessert he created to raise funds for hawker

Chef Andre Chiang pays tribute to late Sim Lim ice cream uncle, recalls dessert he created to raise funds for hawker
PHOTO: Instagram/Andrechiang_sg

Last Friday (June 21), Singapore lost Ng Teak Boon, who died at the age of 92. 

The late hawker was famous for selling ice cream out of a cart outside Sim Lim Tower. 

Over the weekend, tributes poured in from people from all walks of life, including Taiwanese celebrity chef Andre Chiang, who penned a lengthy, emotional post on his Instagram yesterday. 

Recounting the time he had approached the hawker with an idea to raise funds, Andre wrote: "Since the first day I met Mr Ng 'The ice cream uncle', we built a mutual bond and relationship beyond words, his passion to his work inspired me to create something just for him—to raise a national donation to improve his living quality." 


He recalled how Teak Boon had refused donations and told him: "I simply want to sell ice cream."

"I totally respect that but how many ice creams could he possibly sell per day?" pointed out Andre. 

So, to help him, he had created a special menu item in 2017 for his now-defunct eatery, Restaurant Andre. 

This was aptly named the Ice Cream Uncle Dessert, which was inspired by Teak Boon. 

All profits and donations were given to the elderly hawker by the end of the year and the restaurant successfully sold thousands of ice cream in the year, on top of giving Teak Boon more business at his stand near Sim Lim Tower. 

"I believed it was just a token gesture to raise awareness, most importantly to get the public's attention to protect and support this living treasure, oldest ice cream uncle at age of 92, doing what he’s passionate about," wrote Andre. 

"I’m sure Mr Ng will continue selling ice cream, bring the happiness and this Singapore culture to wherever he is." 

Andre also urged people to support such hawkers when they can. 

"Support their passion as well as supporting them to continue being beautiful memories to the world," he said. 

In the comments, netizens praised Andre for his actions and many thanked him for the tribute. 

He sold ice cream for decades

For years, Teak Boon hawked ice cream outside Sim Lim Tower and patrons had noticed that he would start business as early as 7.15am. 

Facebook group Death Kopitiam Singapore wrote in a post on June 22 that Teak Boon lived in a sparsely furnished rental flat that was often infested with bed bugs. He was also reportedly estranged from his wife and children.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, he had to stop work and was assisted by the community. He went right back to work after the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.

In 2022, Teak Boon was hospitalised for fractured ribs after suffering a fall. However, the hardworking hawker returned to work two weeks after he was discharged.

He became physically weak after that and was hospitalised again a few days before his death.

ALSO READ: Owner of former National Library building's famous wonton noodle stall dies at 94

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