Bernard Lim's favourite yong tau foo stall isn't what you would consider famous.
Don't expect any long queues or laminated newspaper cuttings to greet you at the door; all you'll find is the unassuming storefront of a quiet old coffee shop at 56 Eng Hoon Street.
But it's not fame or reputation that draws him to Tiong Bahru Yong Tau Foo. It's the memories that each mouthful evokes, because the stall is a stone's throw away from the 44-year-old's childhood home.
"I grew up eating this yong tau foo, from 20 to 30 years ago. My parents used to buy this for me in the morning," he says. "To me, hawker food is all about the personal experience you have with it. This may be one of my favourites, but it may not be anyone else's."
Even today, it's still the first thing he craves each morning after a long night. "Because of my job, I have a lot of late nights and drinking nights," shares the CEO of Lifebrandz, which just opened its new club, Dream, last night.
"So when I wake up in the morning, I like to have something soupy," he continues. "Yong tau foo has that very cheng - Hokkien for "clean taste" - quality. It's not too heavy, and the soup is tasty."
He doesn't profess to be a foodie, but the man certainly knows his hawker food. When asked where to find his favourite hawker stalls, he rattles off a string of places - Lavender Food Square Centre for wonton mee; Zion Road Food Centre for sliced fish seafood soup with rice and prawn noodles; and Jalan Besar for another of his yong tau foo favourites.
Despite being in the F&B industry, Mr Lim is anything but a food snob. "I'm a very home-loving kind of person. Hawker food is comfort food - something that I would never give up. When I travel, it's the food that I really miss. I'd rather eat bak kut teh than have some ribs at a high-end restaurant," he shares.
However, he laments that some hawkers are so keen on expanding their business that they hire foreigners who may not be as familiar or enthusiastic about upholding our local hawker culture. "In Western countries, a lot of restaurants are passed down to family members, so the tradition and quality is maintained. There are a few hawkers like that here in Singapore, but not enough, I feel."