當你進入蕉賴區，抵達藍色屋頂的胡姬嶺巴剎(Alam DamaiPasar)，從戶外停車場走到巴剎，第一個入口進去，第一個轉角轉右，走著走著，四面被菜攤和水果攤包圍的一個小檔口，正是賣著豬腸粉的譚 ( 澡，沒有三點水 )妹，大家都稱她為嬌姐。
Upon your arrival to Cheras, heading towards the blue-roofed Alam Damai Pasar, from the outdoor parking lot to the bazaar, take the first turn to the right, as you walk, there is a stall selling Chee Cheong Fun surrounded by vegetable and fruit stalls. The Chee Cheong Fun stall is operated by Madam Thiam Zao, everyone calls her Madam Kew.
Madam Kew is 60 years old this year, a resident of Seremban, wife of a Kuala Lumpur citizen, mother of two sons and two daughters which they all have married, and her youngest grandson is more than 20 years old. Madam Kew usually wakes up at 3 o’clock before dawn to prepare the ingredient for business. Before she kick start business for the day, she has to make fish balls out of fish paste, then she will make the sauce from mushrooms and curry spices which she purchased from 88 SP Mart, the other fresh ingredients she used are bean curd robes, bitter gourds, eggplants, pork balls and etc, which she will defrost them to let customer to choose and cook them to serve.
In addition, Madam Kew also sells herbal tea which is distinct from the canned herbal tea. She wakes up before daybreak to cook the herbal tea of barbed skullcap (Ban Zhi Lian). While quenching the tea, we can feel her sincerity of preparing the tea. It was a delight drinking the herbal tea after finish eating the Chee Cheong Fun. Every day about 5 o’clock, we can witness Madam Kew alone pushes the cart with big and small containers to her stall and patiently place all the ingredients on the stall, so that customers can choose with ease.
From what Madam Kew expressed, she can settle all the business alone even during the weekends. When the business is peak, the experienced Madam Kew steadily carries out the business without feeling agitated. She proudly said: “When it is over-crowded, the most important thing is to remain calm and don’t be nervous.” Fortunately during the peak hours, which are mostly during the weekends, her daughter will be present to reduce her workload. Madam Kew was pleased to have a lovely daughter to help her out most of the time.
According to Madam Kew, the reason she chose to sell Chee Cheong Fun in the first place is due to her young children. After her work she can spend the remaining time of the day to take care of her children. Because of the preparation of Chee Cheong Fun is very simple, sometimes having some ingredients sold out mostly, it is easily restocked and good to go. In her opinion, selling soup noodles is time consuming. Madam Kew guaranteed that her food is always fresh, or else she won’t be able to go about her business for about thirty years. Even the owners of the neighbouring stalls and residents of the area are her frequent customers. Long time residents whom moved to Singapore and Malacca will often time visit Madam Kew’s stall upon their return. Other than that, friends from overseas will also visit her stall during their travels in Cheras. Unlike most Chee Cheong Fun stalls that only sell two rolls, most of Madam Kew’s customers tend to request about 10 rolls of Chee Cheong Fun with more than five add on ingredients.
She once met a customer from Sabah, of which such food is not available in his hometown. He brought ten rolls of Chee Cheong Fun with six add-on ingredients. He complimented greatly after he finished the meal. Madam Kew also recalled a wonderful experience where a Japanese tourist ordered ten rolls of with ten add-ons. Their expression enjoying the food she prepared is just enough to keep her spirits going.
From the beginning, Madam Kew intended to help her family by selling Chee Cheong Fun, where her husband sells noodles. They both have their own business and being very hard working to provide for all their four children.
In all these thirty years of hard work, the condition of the economy sometimes affects their business. She said, “If the economy condition wasn’t pleasant, we have to earn less.” Then she added, “Fortunately, I have very supportive customers, so the business can continue until today.” Even though her children already grown up, she still open for business to spend most of her time for her beloved customers, and hasn’t thought of retiring for even one bit.