Running a hawker stall for 18 years is no mean feat, but Francis Lai, 66, took it a notch further when he transformed his popular herbal soup stall at Chinatown Complex Food Centre into a fusion Western eatery that specialises in omelettes, appropriately named Omelette Chef. He now runs the stall dressed amusingly in chef’s whites and a puffy black toque (his wife Doreen who also works here is attired normally). But it isn’t just a gimmick — the chatty man used to wear a similar uniform when he last worked as head chef at the now-defunct Hotel Malaysia about 20 years ago.

His new menu is refreshingly straightforward — just pick a topping for your omelette, and choose your carb of either spaghetti or Japanese rice (both are topped with sauteed mushrooms). All options are priced at $5 — “we want to make it easy for our customers to pick.”

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