Man behind legendary Tiong Bahru Wah Yuen Porridge, a stall that opens twice a week, passes away

Sometimes, I do wish that people and establishments that have impacted our lives can stay forever. But I know that that’s me romanticising reality. Unfortunately, I bear sad news as one of our legends from Tiong Bahru Wah Yuen Porridge has recently departed.

Yip Kwok Wen, also known as Raymond Yip, of Tiong Bahru Wah Yuen Porridge, has passed on as of 15 Feb 2023. He died peacefully with his loving family members by his bedside.

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To many, Raymond has been referred to as the friendly “porridge uncle” or “Uncle Raymond”. To the family, he took on the role of a father and a husband.

To Raymond’s family, we send our heartfelt condolences to you, as we mourn the death of his lighthearted spirit that will be forever remembered by all of us.

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Most of you might know the stall as the porridge stall at Telok Blangah Food Centre that only opens twice a week during the weekends. For those who have dropped by the stall before, you’d usually be greeted first by the smiles of the friendly couple, Sheila and Raymond.

Mr Yip Swee Wah first founded the porridge stall in 1956. Shortly after, Raymond, the eldest son, took over and set up a stall in Telok Blangah in 2005. Since then, the couple has managed the stall and cooked up comforting bowls of Cantonese porridge.

In mid Nov 2022, the elderly couple decided to take a break from running the stall. Running a hawker stall is tough work, not to mention the difficulty of running a hawker stall when you’re much older.

Later in Dec 2022, they posted on their Facebook page announcing the extension of their break, as they wanted to “rest and recuperate”. Tiong Bahru Wah Yuen Porridge has been temporarily closed ever since.

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They’re known for having the best porridge in Singapore. Dressed with drizzles of sesame oil and soy sauce, a scoop into your bowl will reveal uniquely chunky meatballs. It usually breaks into minced pieces, and it tastes fondly nostalgic and flavourful.

Since Uncle Raymond’s passing, we are unsure if the wife, Sheila, will continue running the stall, as no news of permanent closure has been announced.

Apart from his culinary craft, we remember Raymond for his kind heart. I remember coming across posts of him giving out bowls of home-cooked porridge during the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite adversities, the couple was heavily involved in providing positivity and vitality in a depressing time. For that, Uncle Raymond’s loving spirit is forever etched in our hearts.

Once again, we send our deepest condolences to the family. Rest in peace, Uncle Raymond.

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