Popular 45YO Teck Hin Fishball Noodle Closing Down Due to High Costs & Low Sales


Advertisements
 

Iconic Teck Hin Fishball Noodle Closes After 45 Years: A Bittersweet Farewell to a Hawker Legacy Amidst Rising Challenges

Foodies, we have lost yet another soldier to the war.

Long-time residents of Bukit Timah may be familiar with the name “Teck Hin Fishball Noodle”, and the brand that they have established themselves for more than 40 years. Unfortunately, it will be closing its doors permanently on 6 December 2023.

In early November, the fate of Bukit Timah Market & Food Center was disclosed – it will be demolished and rebuilt in the second half of 2024 as part of the new Bukit Timah Integrated Development project.

According to the Straits Times, about half of the existing hawkers will be moving to an 100-unit interim holding site a stone’s throw away at Jalan Seh Chuan. 

However, Teck Hin Fishball Noodle made the decision to conclude its journey with the hawker centre earlier than expected, announcing the closure on Saturday, December 2nd.

Owners Unable to Get the (Fish)ball Rolling

Husband-and-wife stall owners, Chen Huoyan (74) and Wang Yafu (69) have been running Teck Hin Fishball Noodle for over four decades.

Three and a half years ago, they relocated from a coffee shop near Clementi Bus Terminal to Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre. 

Crowds would gather at their stall to relish the delightfully chewy, traditionally crafted fishballs prepared by Chen daily, starting at the early hour of 2 AM.

(Yes, while you’re staying up past midnight binge-watching Korean dramas, this uncle is out there meticulously making fishballs for his customers.)

Image: Google Reviews (Lim Lam Sin (Keston))

Alongside the fishballs, patrons could enjoy a diverse range of noodle choices, available in dry or soup formats, all complemented by the generous offering of house-made pork lard.

Loyal customers were completely blindsided when the couple’s daughter, Eugenia, announced on Hawkers United – Dabao 2020 Facebook page that her parents will be shutting down the stall for good, citing “poor sales” as the primary cause. 


Advertisements
 
Image: Facebook (Hawkers United – Dabao 2020)

(Unfortunately, Teck Hin Fishball Noodle is not the only hawker stall to fall victim to the cruel hands of inflation. Tian Tian Lai Nasi Lemak also had to shut down due to similar reasons.)

When interviewed by Lianhe Zaobao, the couple revealed that they had observed a significant increase in costs and decline in business by more than 30% in the past six months, making it difficult for them to break even.

Chen explained that inflation had substantially raised the prices of raw materials, pushing their monthly expenditure to more than S$4,000, including rent, gas, and electricity.

To sustain their livelihood, the couple dipped into their own savings, expressing hesitance to raise prices, fearing it might drive away customers.

Eugenia took to Facebook to announce Teck Hin Fishball Noodle’s permanent closure on Sunday (December 3 2023). However, due to popular demand, Chen and Wang spontaneously decided to extend their operation for three more days, allowing more foodies islandwide to savour their bowl of fishball noodles one last time.

Customers Mourn their Loss

In response to their daughter’s announcement, netizens flocked to the comments section to express their grief and to share their own heart-warming memories of the stall.

Image: Facebook (Hawkers United – Dabao 2020)

One user commented that the owners are “really hardworking and sincere folks”, and thanked them for the good food all those years.

Another user mentioned that her husband has been a fan of their food for decades, having followed them since their days in Clementi.

Several users also acknowledge that the owners are getting up in years and that they should take a well-deserved break from work.


Advertisements
 

Despite this, Eugenia’s Facebook post had ended on a hopeful note: “Very grateful for those who have reached out to me in DMs, I will update once we have a firm plan to move forward.”

She also updated in the comments that upon discussing with her parents, they have come to a conclusion of temporarily trying out a home-based approach to see if it is viable.

You can follow their Facebook page for their latest updates!

While Teck Hin Fishball Noodle’s closure marks the end of an era, it is still heartening to see the community’s response and the endearing bond between hawkers and their patrons.

Despite the sombre moment, there’s a glimmer of hope in the collective support, suggesting that the spirit of local hawker fare remains alive, and new beginnings may emerge in the future culinary landscape.