7 items to take you to yong tau foo heaven
The Chinese saying "the old must go before the new can come" does not apply to local food.
Many young people love "old" flavours - just check out the famous bak chor mee queue at Crawford Lane and Hong Lim Hawker Centre.
While I'm keen to support a new breed of young street cooks, I'm not ready to forget the old masters. This is why I make it point to revisit them whenever I can.
They are the ones who formed and chiselled my love for makan, and I remain indebted to them.
Mr Steven Lee, who built up the popular Goldhill Hakka Restaurant, says: "Two of my children have already learnt the skills, but they are neither ready nor sure about taking over the business because of uncertain operational difficulties ahead."
So the 61-year-old still helms the eatery, arriving at 4am daily to prepare his popular yong tau foo.
His kids help out on weekends "when they need extra cash", he says with a laugh.
At the tender age of eight, Mr Lee began honing his culinary skills, attending to his father's food cart in the Siglap-Marine Parade area over 50 years ago.
These days, his 50-seater restaurant is always packed.
There are only seven yong tau foo items available. They are stuffed with a filling made from minced pork and threadfin, a pricey fish to use.
Each stuffed item yields a different texture and taste.
What makes the yong tau foo items stand out is the freshness. The brown sauce and chilli sauce, made from secret recipes, also hit all the right spots.
"I don't slather (the yong tau foo items) with any sauce or dunk them in soup, I just let the natural flavours do their job," Mr Lee says.
The other side dishes, including yu sheng (raw fish served with soya sauce and sesame oil), abacus seeds and yam gnocchi are signatures in their own right. I could not find fault with any of them.
Mr Lee's wish for 2015 is that he can continue his business. But he admits that hiring helpers is a real challenge. "I just hope the cost of operations will not rise too steeply and put me out of business," he says.
Goldhill Hakka Restaurant
299A, Changi Road
- Closed On Mondays
Makansutra, founded by KF Seetoh, is a company that celebrates Asian food culture and lifestyle. It publishes food guides in and around the region, produces a food series, develops interactive mobile content and services, operates foodcourts and eateries, organises food tours and events, and consults on culinary concepts.