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With his prosperous figure, wiry hair and twinkly eyes, Chan Tuck Cheong looks like a jolly cartoon character. The convivial hawker, 53, is best known as “Fatty Cheong” at ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre, his stomping ground for the past 30-something years. It’s where he started his famous roast meat stall, specialising in superb ‘bu jian tian’ char siew, an ethereally tender cut of meat from the pig’s underarm.

Calling himself Fatty Cheong proved to be a shrewd marketing move: Tuck Cheong’s nickname is now synonymous with his roast meat at the hawker centre. “You’d want people to remember you easily,” he explains. He earned the moniker because “I used to be very fat, 140kg”.

He has since lost some weight, and now tips the scales at 98kg. “People are used to calling me Fatty Cheong. It’s a familiar name. Like if you say you want to drink Starbucks, people will know you’re referring to coffee,” he says.

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