“Hello! 黑的白的? 要辣椒吗? 打包还是吃的? 小/中/大?” That’s a lot of things to remember from one order, so imagine when one person has multiple orders and/or special requests and the customers come one after another. Whew! So stressful hahaha.
And that’s just taking the orders for ONE dish – cai tao kueh.
There is also a multitasking skill needed to cook and manage the orders – so if you can fry all the blacks at one go, then it would be faster, but you also need to get the whites in so you don’t keep people waiting for too long.
But I had a lot of fun learning how to fry carrot cake and also getting the chance to help run the stall.
The hawker life is a tough one fosho, mad respect for all hawkers. I struggled to wake up at 1.30am and by 2.45am I was already at the stall helping to prep for the day.
Watch Barbara Latimer and I be hawkers for a day at the Father & Son stall at Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre, frying carrot cake, getting stressed over serving customers and getting a proper insight into this life.
For me, I felt the most stressful part was keeping up with the pace. Once the customers start flocking in, you need to keep up this rhythm of taking orders, collecting money, putting the correct clips on the plates for the orders, cooking the food (you can do multiple orders on the same pan in different corners), then packing/serving it and remembering which customer to give it to. Whew!
Thank you Walter Tay for this opportunity to help your parents out for a day.
And to everyone else – please support your local hawkers!