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Mandarin-speaking Indian cook opens zi char stall in Ang Mo Kio with black pepper crab, sambal prawns

Mandarin-speaking Indian cook opens zi char stall in Ang Mo Kio with black pepper crab, sambal prawns
Devid Retanasamy with some happy customers.
PHOTO: Instagram/the_blacky_seafood

After over 20 years of working at various zi char stalls, popular Mandarin-speaking Indian cook Devid Retanasamy has finally opened his very own stall.

The 39-year-old Malaysian officially opened The Blacky Seafood on April 7, serving up classic zi char dishes such as chilli crab, black pepper crab and har cheong gai (prawn paste chicken).

On the name of the stall, Devid explained to 8days that many know him as Xiao Hei, which directly translates to 'Little Black'.

"So I think The Blacky Seafood is actually very apt, as they'll think of me when they say my stall's name. What's most important to me is that I'm the one cooking here."

His friend had actually suggested opening the stall about a year ago, Devid told Shin Min Daily News. But it was only recently that the pair secured their current unit at Blk 603, Ang Mo Kio Ave 5.

From March 29, relaxed Covid-19 restrictions also meant that groups of 10 were allowed to dine in, making it "really the right time and place" to open, Devid added.

However, starting his own business has meant less family time for Devid, whose wife and three kids reside in Johor Bahru.


Devid, who first came to Singapore to work in 2002, decided to stay here when the Singapore-Malaysia border closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic.

Although he has made a couple trips back since the land border reopened on April 1, he only has a few precious hours with his family before he has to commute back to run his stall.

"By the time I reached home, it was already 2am. I chatted with my wife until 3am. The next morning I woke up at 9am to return to Singapore."

The hawker, who has previously made headlines for his fluent Mandarin, also speaks Cantonese, as well as some English and Malay.

Although ethnically Indian, Devid was adopted by a Chinese family at the age of four. After graduating from primary school, he began honing his cooking chops by working at various zi char stalls.

He was previously the head cook of Golden Charcoal Seafood SG and has also worked at 7 Wonders.

Address: Blk 603, Ang Mo Kio Ave 5, S560603

Opening hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm; 4.30pm - 11pm

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