After Closing Cheong Fan Paradise Hawker Stall, Ex-Shangri-La Chef Sells Bak Chang From Home - 8 Days Skip to main content

After Closing Cheong Fan Paradise Hawker Stall, Ex-Shangri-La Chef Sells Bak Chang From Home

The chef-turned-hawker doesn’t think that running a home-based business is a downgrade from working in a restaurant or kopitiam.
After Closing Cheong Fan Paradise Hawker Stall, Ex-Shangri-La Chef Sells Bak Chang From Home

An unexpected result of the pandemic was a bumper crop of pedigreed chefs leaving high-profile positions in restaurants to open their own hawker stalls. One example is chef Kerene Cheng's Cheong Fan Paradise, which once drew snaking queues stretching up to three hours long despite its deserted kopitiam locale within an Ang Mo Kio industrial park.

Customers travelled from afar to get their hands on Hong Kong-style chee cheong fun made a la minute by Kerene, 47, whose illustrious restaurant career included a stint as the first female head dim sum chef at Shangri-La Hotel’s swanky Shang Palace restaurant. So it came as shocking news when the chef-turned-hawker suddenly closed her stall in May, after just a year of operations, citing manpower issues.

But her story isn’t over. A post by one of the chef’s pals on a popular Facebook foodie group gushing about her homemade Hokkien bak chang (gifted to him) last month led to a deluge of orders, which the ex-hawker then turned into a home-based business while pondering her potential return to the hawker scene. She now sells a few Cantonese snacks from her four-room flat in Ang Mo Kio.

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