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Popular Tiong Bahru ‘no signboard’ bak chor mee hawker’s fate uncertain after closure of longtime coffeeshop

“It's a pity, everyone knows me here. I want to work for a few more years,” said Koh Lim Chye, 76, who has been selling his old-school Teochew minced meat noodles for 57 years.

Hawker Koh Lim Chye is a familiar sight in Tiong Bahru — the 76-year-old has been selling bak chor mee in the neighbourhood for several decades. His stall has no signboard, but people still know where to seek out Ah Chye, as he is affectionately known by residents.

Old-school bak chor mee

His regulars swear by his old-school lard-slicked bak chor mee, loaded with ti poh (sole fish), minced meat, prawns and braised mushrooms. Ah Chye started his business 57 years ago at Sago Lane in Chinatown before moving to Tiong Bahru.

His stall has the informal name of Sixties Chaozhou Traditional Bak Chor Mee. “I have been selling bak chor mee since it was 20 cents a bowl,” he laughed.

Coffeeshop location to close

Around 10 years ago, he shifted to a retro coffeeshop at Seng Poh Road, where he has been operating since. Unfortunately, that kopitiam is closing for good on June 27, as its main operator had decided not to continue running it. 

The closure will affect the coffeeshop’s three tenanted food stalls, which includes Mr & Mrs Nasi Lemak, Zai Heng Vegetarian and Ah Chye’s bak chor mee stall. Zai Heng has since found another stall unit at Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre across the road, but the fate of the other tenants is still up in the air.

Closure a "pity"

“It’s a pity, everyone knows me here. I have been here since I was unmarried and now my son is 40 years old,” Ah Chye told His wife helps him at his stall, but the couple has no intention of retiring. “I want to work for a few more years; my daughter-in-law has asked me to reopen elsewhere and she will help me [with the operations],” shared Ah Chye.

Address and opening hours

Sixties Chaozhou Traditional Bak Chor Mee will operate till circa Jun 27 at #01-49 71 Seng Poh Rd, S160071. Open daily except Wed & Thur, 6.30am-1pm. 

Photos: Alvin Teo


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Sixties Chaozhou Traditional Minced Meat Noodles bak chor mee hawker food tiong bahru

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