Guan Kee Fried Kway Teow — Sudden closure after 54 years

Sometimes, if we’re lucky, an old-school stall will have a successor and we can keep enjoying our favourites. Other times, it ends like Guan Kee Fried Kway Teow.

Guan Ji Fried Kway Teow - couple

After 54 years, the elderly couple who ran the hawker stall at Ghim Moh announced they would officially retire on 28 Nov.

Guan Ji Fried Kway Teow - comments resize

They posted a farewell announcement on their Facebook page out of the blue just the day prior. There was no other indication of anyone taking up the mantle. Under the post are the good wishes of customers, replying with a mix of sadness and for the couple to have a good retirement.

You can’t help but wonder how long-time regulars are taking this news. Tan Hock Guan and Chang Kha Noi started their first iteration as a street stall in 1969 at Thye Hong Centre in Redhill. By 1978, they moved to Ghim Moh. There’s 54 years worth of story behind their kway teow, and it makes the recent news all the sadder.

It’s quite the legacy as well, what with Michelin awarding Guan Kee Fried Kway Teow with the Bib Gourmand in 2019. For those unaware, the award goes to establishments that “offer diners very good value for money, with a complete and high-quality menu priced at a maximum of S$45”.

Guan Ji Fried Kway Teow - kway teow

Of course, Guan Kee didn’t sell plates of Fried Kway Teow at such a price. They were, in fact, wallet-friendly. For just S$4 or S$5, customers would get a fresh fried plate. The rice and yellow noodles are tossed into the wok with a savoury-sweet dark soya sauce, cockles, lap cheong, pork lard, bean sprouts and fishcake.

Guan Ji Fried Kway Teow - queue

Queues would snake and last up to over an hour or more. If you weren’t an early bird, you could be fresh out of luck as Guan Kee could be sold out by noon.

With such immense popularity, the workload must have been quite a lot for the elderly couple, especially considering they rose as early as 4am to prep ingredients. Earlier this March, they even cut down their workdays to 3 times a week.

Although there will be tears, we should wish the hard-working couple a happy and well-earned retirement.

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