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。

嬌姐今年六十歲,是芙蓉人,老公是吉隆坡人,目前有两位兒子和两位女兒。如今四位兒女都已經成家立業,她的孫子最小年紀已有二十多歲。嬌姐通常凌晨三時許起身,為開檔做準備。開檔前,她必須把魚絞弄成魚丸,之後再把從88SPMart購買的蘑菇及咖哩醬料包煮成醬汁,其他的新鮮的豬腸粉配料,如:腐竹、苦瓜、茄子、豬肉丸等,從冰箱拿出來煮至微熟,好讓顧客在挑選配料之後,稍微弄熱就可以端上桌。

除外,嬌姐檔口賣的涼水並非像外頭賣的罐裝涼水,而是她凌晨起身耐心熬煮的半枝蓮涼水,喝下去的感覺除了能解渴之餘,還能感受到她的用心。吃完豬腸粉再喝涼水,或吃一口豬腸粉緊接一口涼水,絕對是一大享受哦!每天天還未亮,大約五時許,就可以看見嬌姐一人推著推車,大袋小袋、大箱小箱的,把所需的食材及用具推至檔口,再一個人耐心地把食材擺在檔口前,好讓顧客們方便挑選。 嬌姐表示,週日開檔,她都可以一個人搞定,當生意好的時候,經驗老道的嬌姐當然不會手忙腳亂,她自豪表示:“人多的時候,最重要鎮定,不要慌亂。”所幸,在檔口最繁忙的時間,即週六日,她的女兒亦會到檔口幫她,減輕她的工作負擔,嬌姐有這麼乖巧的女兒,想畢她會感到十分欣慰。

經嬌姐透露,當初之所以會賣豬腸粉,主要是當時兒女還小,她需要預留下半天的時間照顧他們。除外,豬腸粉所需的準備工作相當簡單,即使賣完了,隨時都可以再添加食料,不像賣熟食湯面那樣需要長時間準備。嬌姐所賣的食物,連她自己也忍不住說是絕對新鮮的。若不,她也不會再這里賣了近三十年啊!就連“左鄰右舍”檔口的老板們或街坊們不時都會光顧這家“老字號”!甚至有些搬到新加坡或馬六甲居住,以前的街坊回來這區時,都會特地光顧嬌姐的豬腸粉。除了舊街坊,外地及外國朋友到蕉賴區,都會到嬌姐的檔口光顧,每個人拿的份量不是两條豬腸粉和幾塊配料,而是一拿就十條豬腸粉,超過五塊配料!

她遇過來自沙巴的朋友,因當地沒有這類型的食物,遊客一拿就拿了六塊配料和十條豬腸粉,吃了猛說好吃!另一名是來自日本的遊客,他亦是拿了十條豬腸粉和十塊配料!這兩位都讓嬌姐印象深刻! 嬌姐當初賣豬腸粉是為了幫補家計,而老公一直以來都是在賣包裝粿條及麵類,兩人各自有生意,一起努力工作,並把四位孩子撫養長大。

辛苦經營檔口近三十年,經歷經濟時好時壞的情況,對檔口生意有一定的影響,她說:“若行情不好,就賺少點吧!”她不忘補充:“幸虧顧客都很支持,所以至今生意還能經營下去。”雖然兒女已長大,但現在開檔對她而言只是消磨時間,她目前并沒有休業的打算。

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.