Yishun is famous for many things. But perhaps not many of you are aware it’s also home to one of the quirkiest min jiang kueh (peanut pancakes) hawker uncles 8days.sg has come across.
When our intern dropped by Durian Crispy Pancake, a stall tucked away in the corner of a quiet kopitiam in Yishun Central, hawker Kelvin Loh, 75, was pleasant and quite friendly.
He willingly chats with her and agrees to pose for some impromptu photos snapped with her phone.
LOOKING FOR SUCCESSOR
Unlike the thick, fluffy min jiang kueh Singaporeans are familiar with, Loh serves up thin, crispy pancakes that bear some resemblance to the Malaysian variety known as apam balik.
Earlier, when he was in a more jovial mood, he shared that he’d been selling crispy pancakes for 30 years. He’s currently looking for a successor to take over the stall. “It’s difficult to find someone to train, as the person needs to be really interested to persist in this (hawker) business”.
He has three children, but none of them are likely to take over his stall, he says. “One of my daughters lives in the US, she got married there,” he shares.
USED TO WORK IN AMERICA
Loh also said he used to work in a seafood restaurant in California. After returning to Singapore, he opened a hawker stall to sell pancakes. He has been at the current Yishun stall for about 15 years and before that, had operated a stall at Lau Pa Sat. He lamented: “Maybe business would be better if my stall is advertised online, but I’m not sure if people can find it (because of its quiet corner location).”
We’re confused by Loh’s mixed signals: Does he want publicity, or does he not? He later told us he “won’t pay money” for our coverage even after we repeatedly assured him that we would not charge for this feature.
He then added that someone else (a blogger, perhaps?) had come by earlier and asked if he wanted to be featured in return for a fee.
Although the amount of durian puree looked thin and patchy within the pancake, it tasted decent. The durian flesh was sweet and creamy, if mild, and paired quite well with the crispy pancake.
Caveat: Its subtle flavour profile is not for those who prefer their durians bitter and punchy. Loh’s pancakes do not contain D24 or Mao Shan Wang durians. As he puts it: “So expensive, how to buy?”
He adds that while he tries his best to sell his signature pancake daily, it isn’t available on days when he can’t get hold of affordable durians.
Fragrant, not-too-sweet crushed peanuts star in this classic pancake. Probably the best offering here, though it could do with a larger scoop of nuts.
This hearty number tastes like a humble breakfast pancake with an egg, shredded cheese and sliced hot dog tucked within.
Durian Crispy Pancake is at 925 Yishun Central 1, Singapore 760925. Open daily 12pm to 8pm.
This story was originally published in 8Days.
For more 8Days stories, visit https://www.8days.sg/