Thursday, 12 October 2017 | MYT 12:00 AM
One-man show at noodles stall
SIBU: Tang Leng Neng’s Teochew roasted meat flat noodles stall is the only one in town that has withstood the test of time.
Spanning more than five decades, Tang’s stall in the central market here is always crowded with customers, some of whom are regulars.
The affable Tang set up his business from scratch in 1964 after much trial and error.
Today, despite his advancing age of 77, he shows no signs of quitting.
Tang came to Sarawak from Shantou province in China after the Japanese Occupation. The then teenager arrived on this foreign land with his friends.
After failing time and again to land a job, he decided to start a noodle stall.
“I started off with nothing.
“I taught myself by observing other noodle sellers went about with their business.
“Slowly, I picked up all the skills and put them to good use.
“Over time, I also improvised my noodles to make it different from others,” he said.
“You will know the difference when you taste my noodles.
“It is a bit more expensive than others but quality matters,” he said.
A bowl of Tang’s noodle is 20sen dearer compared to other stalls.
A small bowl costs RM3 while a big bowl costs RM4.
His specially made noodles are succulent, not sticky and are complemented by thin slices of meat.
“The process of preparing the meat is tedious and time-consuming.
“While others just boil the meat, I roast it using charcoal which takes hours.
“That is why it has this delicious taste,” he said.
It is not uncommon to see young men two bowls of noodles each.
Tang’s loyal customers have been patronising his stall from the early days, even before he was based in the market.
His previous shop was in Jalan Blacksmith where he operated from for a good 30 years.
In 1995, he relocated to the central market, a location he considered more strategic.
“This place is much better than the previous one as I am sheltered from the rain and heat.
“I wish to thank the local council for this wonderful place,” he said.
Two years ago, Tang was seriously ill and had to close the stall for sometime.
His wife, who used to help him at the stall, died four years ago.
There was hope when one of his sons considered taking over the business from him but the plan fell through.
“He found the job tough and not rewarding enough, so he decided to go back to Singapore where he used to work,” said Tang.
Asked how long he would keep the business going, he replied, “I will work as long as I can, although age is not on my side now.”