Neighbour: Mr Lim

Text by Stephanie Peh
Photography by Jovian Lim

There is nothing quite like being awake early in the morning, and heading down to a kopitiam to possibly the only stall that is open (aside from the drinks stall)—the Economic Fried Noodle stall—for a true Singaporean breakfast. Pick your favourite noodle as a base, whether it’s fried bee hoon or kway tiao (or a mixture of both for the fickle), spice it up with a selection of freshly cooked dishes: fish cake, fish fillet, chicken chop, fried egg, luncheon meat, cabbage, the list goes on. It is everything sinful, but somehow in the morning, you forgive yourself because this is so simply fulfilling, not unlike a comforting morning pat on the back. Sometimes it is puzzlingly easy to forget how the solution to an impending presentation that makes you sick to your stomach is something so simple—to fill your body with food, with energy that you need to help you think better.

Mornings are after all promises of a new and better day, and breakfast is a great moment to contemplate and keep the soul calm and the mind clear, before joining the morning commute.

I like to start my morning right sometimes with a visit to Holland V. Fried Bee Hoon, operated by Mr Lim. Opening at 6am daily, the queue starts to snake and goes on all the way until late morning—naturally, since Mr Lim has been at the Holland Village hawker centre since the 70s, while many other stalls have come and gone. It is the only job Mr Lim has had since the completion of his National Service. He picked up his skills from his parents, who used to sell Teochew porridge at Holland Village. As he likes to keep things simple, he decided to make his livelihood selling Economic Fried Noodles.

His specialty is fried bee hoon and his version is of a nice texture, the super tasty, never too oily long strands do not crack easily, even when topped with Mr Lim’s signature sunny side up with perfect medium doneness. It is strangely heartwarming to witness egg yolk flow through your bee hoon. His dishes have good texture that balances well with a thin layer of flour and meat.

“I use ingredients with better quality,” says Mr Lim sheepishly, “hence my price may be slightly higher.” Despite his comment, a meal at Mr Lim’s stall rarely exceeds three dollars—a fraction of the favoured eggs benedict.

Visit Mr Lim at Holland Village Market & Food Centre, #01-11, 1 Lorong Mambong, Singapore.

Read more in The U Press N˚6 (Singapore edition).