Ng Siaw Meng, 62, a satay bee hoon hawker of almost 40 years, is looking to pass on his satay bee hoon recipe for $200,000.
The Meng Kee Satay Bee Hoon stall owner's recipe (passed down from his father) must now be divulged, and soon - Ng has been struck with stage four stomach cancer. Doctors have given him less than three months to live.
In a conversation with Makansutra's KF Seetoh, he explains, "I need $200,000 for my brother's and my remaining medical fees." His brother was his assistant until a fall at their home two years earlier. Ng's brother has been disabled since.
Ng is known to be stubborn, and has never before entertained requests for demonstration or sale of his recipe. He's been cooking this dish since he was 11 years old.
Not that Ng will now sell the recipe to just anyone: "Most wanted to buy my name and later desecrate my recipe and turn them into chemical-laden sauce packs," Mr. Ng laments. "I would rather bring my recipe to the coffin."
The Makansutra Hawker Legend (Ng was conferred in 2005) has been making this now-rare addictive dish of thin vermicelli noodles with cuttlefish, lean pork, prawns, blood cockles, tofu, bean sprouts and water spinach, topped with a spiced peanut sauce, from scratch. "My five-spice powder is actually made with nine ingredients and we buy them fresh to be grounded every week," a frail Ng divulges. No wonder this East Coast Food Lagoon stall drew patient pilgrims every night, until midnight.
Can you help the legend live on, or do you know of someone who can?
Former food & drink editor at Time Out Singapore magazine, Celine Asril's other previous incarnations include food blogger, cook, and food photographer's assistant. The avid WWOOFer and Twitter-jointed writer has been published on CNNGo, Forbes Travel and in Asian Gourmet and Smile magazine. She is now adding edible codes to inSing.com. Follow her work twitter feed at @HungryGoWhere or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.