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Customers at this hum chim peng stall have been frying up their own dough fritters for over 30 years. — TODAY picCustomers at this hum chim peng stall have been frying up their own dough fritters for over 30 years. — TODAY picSINGAPORE, Aug 13 — At Maxwell Food Centre, one stall has been keeping up with an incidental tradition that has lasted nearly 30 years.

A fry-it-yourself hum chim peng (crispy fried dough) stall has been pulling the crowds for years, since the original stall owner Li Zao used to man the stall.

Now in his late 80s, the stall is now managed by his daughter Li Shu Hui, 54. “He retired seven years ago. He doesn’t come down anymore because he’s too old,” said Li, who said the customers used to see how busy her father was at the stall and volunteered to help fry their own orders.

And the habit has stuck to this day.

Li, who learned the trade from her father as a teenager, kneads and rolls the dough and customers pick them up with giant chopsticks to fry in the wok. “When it’s very busy, the customers will help to fry. They can help to flip the hum chim peng and then dabao (takeaway) in a bag,” she said.

Second-generation hawker Li Shu Hui took over the hum chim peng business from her father seven years ago, and has continued the incidental tradition of letting customers fry their own hum chim pengs. — TODAY pic Second-generation hawker Li Shu Hui took over the hum chim peng business from her father seven years ago, and has continued the incidental tradition of letting customers fry their own hum chim pengs. — TODAY pic The stall has been around long enough to have its loyal customers.

Business Manager Kenneth Tan, 49, first patronised the stall about 10 years ago through a friend’s recommendation. “It’s quite a unique thing (DIY frying) that gets your customer involved. It’s interactive, first time you get interactive food in a hawker store,” Tan said, “it’s a good idea”.

Another loyal customer, sales executive Samantha Chan, 50, has been buying Hum Chim Peng from the Lis for some 15 years and has not tired of the “novelty” of frying her own fritters. “I kind of like it. The idea of frying myself to see how crispy it is,” she said.

The stall operates from 2.30pm to 8pm, and carries two flavours — Five Spice Salt and Sweet Red Bean. It used to sell 10 hum chim pengs for S$1 (RM3.15), but Li said she has had to raise price due to rising costs. But, visitors can still get six pieces now for S$1. — TODAY

*Hum Jin Pang is located at Maxwell Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur Street. It opens daily from 2.30pm to 8pm.

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