There is a new min jiang kueh stall called Ching’s Pancake at 79 Circuit Road Food Centre, run by a studious-looking couple. Before becoming hawkers just this year, Chew Kim Yong, 58, and his wife Heng Ching Ching, 55, operated a printing shop. “We mainly printed name cards and invoices,” said Kim Yong.
As more companies started making their operations digital, Kim Yong and Ching Ching saw their printing orders decrease gradually. In 2019, a friend introduced them to a relatively more ‘modern’ job – delivering parcels for an online shopping platform.
THE CHALLENGES OF DELIVERING PARCELS
To keep their printing shop going, the couple took up delivery as a sideline. “Then we encountered the COVID-19 lockdown,” shared Ching Ching. She recounted: “At that time, almost every industry was at a standstill, so we continued to deliver goods to subsidise our printing business.”
While the global economy picked up after the pandemic, print unfortunately remained a sunset industry. Up until this year, Ching Ching and Kim Yong were still working at their part-time gig delivering shoppers’ orders rain or shine.
“At the same time, we were getting older. The prices for making deliveries kept falling, but the goods became heavier and heavier,” Ching Ching recalled. The couple struggled to transport bulky parcels door-to-door, especially in inclement weather.
Going by Billy’s standards, his disciples have pretty much earned an A grade. We scarfed down a slice of peanut pancake fresh off the griddle, sliced with almost ruler-like precision, and found it very satisfying.The pillowy, beautifully-cooked slice had a hint of maltiness, similar to Billy’s excellent version (after all, both stalls use the same flour mix), while the fragrant, sugary grated peanuts that Ching Ching buys from her friend offered a moreish crunch with just the right amount of sweetness.
We would have preferred a slightly browner and crispier crust, but that didn’t deter us from hoovering up four pieces at one go, even for the tasty Coconut Pancake that was made around 20 minutes before consumption. Despite the lag, the min jiang kueh’s texture didn’t suffer much or turn hopelessly soggy, and remained nicely fluffy with a generous layer of sweet, juicy bright orange coconut shreds.