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Four-month-old Ah Goh Goh Laksa at Bedok Food Centre and Market has a cute name (it’s a play on the sibling owners’ surname) and a rather interesting story behind it. It is opened by Zack Goh, 31, a former assistant art director and booker for a local modelling agency, and his sister Cheez Goh, 33, who used to own two cafes and a bar in Penang.

After Zack left the modelling agency, he co-founded an exhibition company but eventually sold off his shares in 2018. That was when he started frequenting China to scour for investment opportunities in real estate, the agriculture industry, and even gyms. Then the pandemic struck, so he flew home, saddled with a $100,000 debt from unsuccessful investments. “But starting the hawker business is not about clearing the debt, it’s to share our father’s laksa recipe with others,” Zack explains.

When her cafe venture in Malaysia folded in 2018, Cheez returned to Singapore and began a career as a network marketer. But she recently quit because her passion has always been with the food and beverage industry. Being a hawker, she reveals, is something that requires 100 per cent of her effort and attention. “I cannot be distracted,” Cheez adds.

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