Wong Yew Poh (right), 78, with his daughter, Wong Ai Tin, 48
Mr Wong passed away in 2019. Sungei Road Laksa is now run by his daughters.
As told by second-generation owner Wong Ai Tin:
We’ve been in business since 1956. The first store was right outside the ice factory along Sungei Road.
When my father was a teenager, he had nothing to do and would just walk around the area. An old man noticed him once and asked if he wanted to start a food business. My father said no at first, because he had no money and didn’t know how to cook, but the man, who used to work on ships as a chef, said he would teach my pa how to make curry puffs, mee siam, chicken rice or laksa. My father chose laksa simply because he liked eating it.
Business has been going well over the years, but when people see that your business is good, they tend to get jealous. We’ve shifted many times over the years because kopitiam owners would kick the chairs of our customers if they didn’t buy anything to drink. They would also sweep the floor around our customers while they were still eating to chase them away, or cut off our water supply.
We don’t have plans to expand. Maybe when my father is no longer around, I might decide to close the shop. It’s hard to get helpers and the next generation don’t want to take over the business because it’s very tiring.
TRY THE laksa ($3)
With only one thing on the menu, this humble eatery still rakes in long queues on a regular day. Its laksa gravy, cooked over charcoal, is light and not too spicy – that’s what the sambal is for. Stir it in if you want more heat in your bowl. Topped only with fishcake and plump cockles, you’ll polish off a bowl in under 5 minutes.