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Even longer queues after PM's visit

His surprise visit to Redhill Food Centre makes two hawkers even more popular with returning and new customers

As soon as he begins work, Mr Aw Wang Eng does not have a moment to rest.

He spends every second dishing out beehoon, slicing fried chicken wings or packing the food - all because he always has a long line of hungry customers waiting.

At another corner of the hawker centre, Mr Lim Bok Ann also displays the same all-action work ethic of scooping, dishing out and packing his desserts, only that he does it to the rhythm 
of loud Mandarin techno music. Likewise, Mr Lim has no shortage of customers.

Both stalls at Block 85, Redhill Food Centre, are popular with customers and long queues are common.

But now their queues are even longer, after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong turned up unannounced at their stalls last month.

A picture of him patiently queueing for food at Mr Aw's stall went viral last month.

Mr Lee had reportedly queued for 30 minutes for Mr Aw's famous fried chicken wings.

Mr Lee also posted on Facebook a photo of the fortune cats that were on display at Mr Lim's stall and commented that he would do a video of "the dancing uncle and his techno music" on his next visit.

The surprise visit has made Mr Aw, 62, and his fellow hawker, Mr Lim, 50, even more popular with returning and new customers.

When The New Paper visited the food centre at about 4pm yesterday, a queue of about 10 people had formed at Mr Aw's stall.

By 6pm, the queue had grown to about 20 people who were patiently waiting in line for the stall's beehoon and fried chicken wings.

NEW FACES

"The number of customers has doubled since Prime Minister's visit. There are many new faces in the crowd now," said Mr Aw, who tried his best to answer TNP's questions while taking orders, packing food and collecting money.

But some of his regular customers lament the longer waiting times.

Mr David Tan, 50, a taxi driver, said he had to forgo his favourite beehoon set on Wednesday night due to the long queue that stretched over 20m.

Mr Tan, who has been patronising the stall for more than 10 years, added that the waiting time during dinner nowadays could go beyond 45 minutes.

"Today, I had to specially come earlier (about 4pm) just to get my food," he 
said.

Mr Aw said Mr Lee had ordered beehoon and chicken wings when he dropped by last month.

"Since then, there have been a few customers who have asked what was PM's order. But we don't have a special 'PM set'. People still just order what they want," he said in Mandarin.

He said he still sells the same amount of food every day.

"I am very honoured and thankful that Prime Minister chose to patronise my stall," he added.

Meanwhile, over at the desserts stall, Mr Lim was busy attending to a long queue of about 20 customers.

He does this in his inimitable "dancing" style, energetically scooping, packing and collecting money in synch with the techno beat blasting away.

"That day (last month), I was so busy serving that I didn't even know that it was PM Lee's son who ordered desserts from me.

"It was only later when another customer told me that I found out. I was really surprised that PM Lee's family would order from us," Mr Lim said in Mandarin.

He added that business has blossomed so much that he now closes his stall half an hour earlier at 10.30pm every day.

Mr Lim also said it was his first time seeing the prime minister and his family in person.

"It's such an honour," he said.