Superb Hor Fun & KL Hokkien Mee From $7.50 By Exec Chef Who Became Zi Char Cook After Heart Surgery - 8days Skip to main content

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Superb Hor Fun & KL Hokkien Mee From $7.50 By Exec Chef Who Became Zi Char Cook After Heart Surgery

The ex-Majestic Bay executive chef took a break after surgery and now heads the kitchen of humble zi char joint Lao Li Da Pai Dang in Simpang Bedok.

Superb Hor Fun & KL Hokkien Mee From $7.50 By Exec Chef Who Became Zi Char Cook After Heart Surgery

Before suffering a heart attack in 2018, former executive chef Tan Woo Soon (who goes by chef Soon), 51, had never given the gruelling hours and fast-paced, stressful nature of his job much thought. “I’ve been cooking non-stop since I was 12 years old, frying char kway teow alongside my [hawker] parents,” says the KL-born Singaporean PR who helmed the kitchen at modern Chinese seafood restaurant Majestic Bay at Gardens by the Bay for four years. The restaurant is owned by hospitality group Unlisted Collection, which also operates Michelin-starred restaurants Zen and Burnt Ends. “In our line of work, there’s hardly any time to rest. After my heart attack, I realised that I needed to take a break.” 

After undergoing heart bypass surgery, chef Soon left his job and returned to his hometown to recuperate in 2019. Last month, the veteran chef returned to work after a four-year hiatus and is currently helming the kitchen at new zi char eatery Lao Li Da Pai Dang (which means “Lee’s Food Stall” in Chinese) at Simpang Bedok.

The comprehensive menu features classics like black pepper crab, salted egg sotong and prawn paste chicken, as well as less common items such as a selection of claypot soup, poached kampung chicken and KL Hokkien mee. Prices for carb dishes start from $5 for a plain salted egg fried rice.

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