Customer smashes stall after waiting 15 minutes for noodles
Man arrested after breaking glass display and hitting woman in hawker centre
Have you ever heard of hawker centre rage?
In a fit of anger, a patron who thought his 15-minute wait at a famous wonton noodle stall in North Bridge Road was too long allegedly smashed its glass display with his beer glass.
When he was confronted, he allegedly punched a 56-year-old soya bean drink seller, who fell and got up, only for him to punch her again.
He was arrested soon after.
It all began on Monday evening when the man approached Koka Wanton Noodles stall at North Bridge Road Market and Food Centre.
He made his order, went back to the stall later and allegedly demanded his noodles from the seller, who wanted to be known only as Madam Yip.
Her brother, Mr Yip Yow Hou, 60, told The New Paper yesterday that he was preparing noodles for other customers when the man came back after 15 minutes and said he was hungry, and made a fuss.
Due to its popularity, the stall usually has customers waiting for more than 30 minutes.
GIDDY: Madam Yip (in teal) with Madam Tan (in purple), who was taken to the hospital by SCDF officers. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
He said in Mandarin:"We were already going to prepare his noodles."
Mr Yip claimed that the man then became aggressive and told Madam Yip in Hokkien that "if you do not give me my noodles now, I will show you what I can do".
"He then raised a beer glass he had in his hand and smashed the display cabinet."
This shocked them.
"He then tried to further provoke me by saying, 'Come lah, come lah'," Mr Yip said.
The man, who had allegedly been walking unsteadily, tried to run away.
But Madam Yip chased him.
The sound of glass shattering was so loud it alerted nearby stallholders, including soya bean drink seller Tan Beng Gek, who left her stall to see what the commotion was about.
When Madam Tan saw her good friend chasing a man, she was afraid Madam Yip would get hurt.
So she tried to calm things down.
"I went over and told them not to fight, but the man thought I was being nosey and spouted expletives at me.
"After a few more words were exchanged, he punched me on the left side of my face, knocking me into the wall and onto the floor.
"My head, right eye and shoulder were in pain after that.
"After I was punched the first time, I slowly stood up and he punched me again on the same side," she said.
One of Madam Tan's wounds. TNP PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA
Madam Tan's brother and older sister, who each has stalls nearby, ran out to save their sister.
Her sister, Madam Tan Beng Choo, 58, told TNP that their brother nearly got into a fight with the man when he confronted him.
"Our brother scolded the man and asked him to apologise to our sister. He eventually apologised and we decided to let him off," she said.
Madam Tan, who was feeling giddy, was taken to the hospital by a Singapore Civil Defence Force ambulance and stayed there till 4.30am.
When asked what gave her the courage to defend her friend, Madam Tan said: "I never thought he was going to punch me. I merely wanted to mediate."
Her daughtersaid she was thankful her mother was not badly injured.
She said: "My mother is a very tough woman, but I was just worried because she had a fall before and her head was injured."
When TNP visited the stalls yesterday, a worker was repairing the wonton noodle stall's display cabinet.
Mr Yip said: "How can an incident like this still happen in Singapore?"
Madam Tan, who was back at work, said: "I'm just glad it's over."
The police said they were alerted at 10.42pm on Monday to a case of rash act at 10, North Bridge Road.
A 54-year-old man was arrested and investigations are ongoing.
About the stall
Koka Wanton Noodles, which is open only for five hours each night, has been at North Bridge Road Market and Food Centre for more than 20 years.
Some reviewers say it has the best wonton noodles in Singapore, but netizens also complain about small portions and having to wait for more than 30 minutes for the noodles.
It is open from 9.30pm to 2.30am each night.
Started by Mr Yip Yow Hou's father, who used to be a street hawker at Jalan Besar, the brand has been around for about 50 years.
Over the years, the stall has had accolades from reviewers such as The Business Times, Makansutra and The Green Book.
More recently popular online food blogs such as DanielFoodDiary, Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow and HungryGoWhere have featured it.
Mr Yip told TNP he usually sells about 200 bowls of noodles a night.
He said: "A lot of customers come from near and far, and we have a lot of people who come and get takeaways as well."