Between two buns
She left a decent job as a staff nurse to toil it out at an old hawker centre.
He also ignored his food science diploma and a job at a successful baby food company to toil beside her at the stall.
Miss Clare Ng, a 22-year-old sweet-faced Nonya, admits that she doesn't make much more than she used to as a nurse, but she is happier.
Her boyfriend Ryan Wee, 25, quit his job and says he is applying what he learnt in his food science classes.
The couple went for this little old hawker stall in an old building in Bukit Timah. They did not know much about the area's demographics.
The key reason?
Miss Ng says: "We got this stall cheap, shhh..."
When they started, they also did not know much about cooking or running a hawker stall, nor who to go to for help. But they asked around, and through fellow hawkers, they met kitchen builders and suppliers "who were so friendly and helpful, it surprised us".
They bought well re-conditioned second-hand equipment and put the whole show together for under $15,000.
The one item I desperately needed to try from these two Gen-Y Peranakan cooks was the Ayam Buah Kerluak Burger ($5).
The beautiful part was they added some fibre by layering on Nonya chap chye, with a piece of raw cabbage for crunch.
You can roughly imagine the sensation: The distinct buah keluak feel in the minced chicken patty hit me from the first bite.
Although I felt the overly soft store-bought buns were a bit of a letdown, that can be easily fixed.
"Although we like to preserve and continue our parents' Nonya heritage here, it is not as popular with the younger generation," Mr Wee says.
"We are getting a lot of the older, mature foodies who come specially for this."
Which means, people like me.
I also took on their Crispy Pork Belly ($4.50) burger and the all-important crackling was delightfully intact. The meat was not too fat nor overly salty. But it needed more mustard to complete that zing quotient.
The Broiled Dory Fish burger ($5) had a freshly seared juicy fillet and a slice of cheese with its own homemade tartar sauce. The flavour was intact, but it was too soft overall because of the soft buns used.
I wondered aloud whether a splotch of sambal with some strings of achar would be a home run for the Ayam Buah Kerluak burger.
Mr Wee heard me and nodded agreeably.
Now, let's see if he trusts this old palate with that.
But whatever happens, these young heritage food warriors will always have my trust and support.
- 144 Upper Bukit Timah, Beauty World Centre, #04-49
- Noon to 8pm. Closed on Mondays
- Tel: 9667-5254 (Mr Ryan Wee's mobile number)
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.