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He had a stable job as head cook of a zi char stall in a kopitiam and over two decades of kitchen experience. Instead, Max Cheong, 37, quit to do food deliveries because he could earn double his cook’s salary.

Yet, it was all worth it when he finally saved up enough to realise his dream of opening a fried rice stall to sell his favourite dish. “I’m content now,” the hawker tells 8days.sg in Mandarin.

Nestled in a Hougang coffee shop, Max’s stall, Fried Rice Boy, is the latest in a slew of Din Tai Fung-esque fried rice joints that promise the same great taste at a fraction of the price. Unlike some of the other towkays, Max isn’t of restaurant pedigree, but customers still queue up for his ‘international’ fried rice, which comes in five flavours, each representing a different country.

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