Before Michelin Bib Gourmand Award, Prawn Mee Hawker Had “Almost No Salary” For Three Years - 8 Days Skip to main content

Before Michelin Bib Gourmand Award, Prawn Mee Hawker Had “Almost No Salary” For Three Years

The 29-year-old behind One Prawn & Co had a tough ride as a Burnt Ends chef-turned-hawker. But her perseverance paid off when her eatery recently snagged a Michelin Bib Gourmand nod.
Before Michelin Bib Gourmand Award, Prawn Mee Hawker Had “Almost No Salary” For Three Years

Nestled in a shophouse along nondescript MacPherson Road, One Prawn & Co is a 60-seat modern kopitiam that focuses on Penang-style prawn noodles. Before relocating to its current larger premises, the business operated as a hawker stall at Golden Mile Food Centre from 2019 to 2021. 

Gwyneth Ang, 29, and a partner who prefers to remain anonymous, had “almost no salary for three years” while running the hawker stall. Says the bubbly restaurant chef-turned-hawker: “We were barely earning any money because we were running on 60 percent food cost". The hawkers had an average monthly salary of $500 each. The amount sometimes peaked at $1,000, "depending on situations such as volume — but we'd have to work until the middle of the night [to earn that bit more]," says Gwyneth. 

Back then, the cheapest bowl of prawn mee cost $5, versus a starting price of $14 at their fancier new joint. Generally, restaurants maintain food cost at around 30 percent to stay profitable. But the duo sacrificed that as they “wanted to quickly gain exposure and growth by offering food that has more value-for-money.” The partners lived off their savings during this period. Gwyneth confesses the hawker experience was “harder than expected”. She adds: “Customers quarrelled with each other while queueing, and neighbouring stalls were pissed off because the queue blocked their entrance. I was shouted at when we ran out of food and had to turn customers away. It was a low point for me emotionally and physically,” she shares.

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