As a child, one of Sandra Quah’s earliest memory was her father rushing home from work to cook for the family. Like clockwork, he did it daily, without complaints, and for over 40 years.
That was how her father, who’s a man of few words, expressed his love for the family, a silent service treasured by all.
Today, the 91-year-old Quah Cheong Hock continues to cook for the family, his hearty dishes the focal point of family reunions.
Hokkien Mee, a traditional Hokkien dish of egg noodles cooked with seafood and braised in pork stock, is the family favourite. In fact, it’s a Chinese New Year Eve tradition at the Quah’s.
Cheong Hock still single-handedly prepares the dish, though Sandra wonders if the time has come for him to put the wok down permanently given the laborious process.
But he maintains, “When you are interested, you just don’t feel tired.”
And that’s a good plate and place to come home too.
A Dish To Remember is the second episode of the Memories On A Plate social documentary series, featuring Singaporeans and their intimate stories and memories of food. The five-episode series will feature personal family histories and collective heritage from a 91 year-old Hokkien grandfather, migrant workers from South India, a Malay grandmother and her grandson, a chef with a hawker background and a newly-wedded couple.
Memories On A Plate is part of the Viddsee Voices project to develop original films that explore with local content creators issues commonly overlooked in our society.