Goldhill Hakka Yong Tofu-"The well-heeled clients wait hungrily".
This Yong Tofu restaurant at Upper Changi Rd,(opposite the Telok Kurau/Upper Changi Rd junction) has a long history. The father of the present owner was peddling his famous Yong Tofu, at the old Marine Parade. In the days, when Marine Parade was really by the sea, and under the shady Angsana trees, many food hawkers lined the seaside path. The old folks say that although the son's Yong Tofu is still one of the best in Singapore, it is only seventy percent of what it was. I agreee, for I have eaten in those days of the fifties, and the fish balls were 'fishier', the tofu was softer, and the chilli was finer. The old man garnished his Yong Tofu with baby coriander sprouts, which nobody sells now, and there was a deluxe item of Ikan Tenggiri fish roe, which is not available now. During the week days, the old man used to visit the quiet avenues off Katong where the rich lived, and quite often, a family would just invite him inside the grounds of their villa, and proceed to have an impromptu meal. As these old extended families were rather large,such invitations would clean out his stock of Yong Tofu for the day, and he would go home a happy man.
This stall was 'lost' for a while, after being dislocated from a coffee-shop in Telok Kurau, but has made a come-back. Many old customers especially the retired peranakan of Katong, are delighted to have it back, and the owner now does private catering too. On one day that I visited the restaurant, it was closed, and there was a notice pinned on the door, proudly stating that he was catering at the home of our former President of Singapore, Mr. Wee Kim Wee.
While on my way to the Goldhill Hakka Yong Tofu Restaurant, I spied an old man busking on the streets. He was playing a two-stringed Chinese guitar, and sang a Hokkien ditty, which reminded me of Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonerland. Its so strangely beautiful, that I thought I would share it with you:
The Sky is black, its going to Rain,
Grandpa went to dig a Drain,
Tortoise carried the Lantern, Snake beat the Drum; they said
The Beggar broke wind, and the Tiger was dead .
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