For Hilda Xie, it was this very love for Cantonese soups that led her and her husband to open Hong Kong Yummy Soup at Alexandra Village Food Centre in 2014 when they moved to Singapore from Hong Kong. “Soup is something we have to have every day, just like having a drink with your meal,” she says. “We liked the idea of bringing something nutritious to Singapore.”
The menu is concise: just six types of soups are offered at the stall daily. The bestsellers are the variations of soup boiled from pork spare ribs with lotus root, winter melon or mushrooms, and Xie’s signature broth is the night-blooming cereus spareribs soup or ba wang hua soup.
She recalls how her mother would make this “cooling” soup when the weather was hot or when the children have had too much meat. “When we first started, not many people were familiar with this soup, but many have grown to like it a lot.”
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The hawker life is decidedly challenging. The couple are on their feet for more than 10 hours a day, foregoing both sleep and precious time with their son. But what keeps them going is the satisfaction of seeing the health of their customers improve after drinking their soups. “I once had a customer tell me he was not sleeping well at night and I recommended our cordyceps flower soup. The next day, he returned and told me he was very happy because he finally had a good night’s sleep,” says Xie. “The happiness of my customers is contagious and is what encourages me.”
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