SIBU, Nov 25: Tang Leng Neng’s stall selling Teochew roasted meat flat noodles is one of the rare few such stalls in town which is still operating after more than five decades.
His stall on the first floor of the Sibu Central Market has been operating as usual except during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period from March 18 to May 12 imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tang’s noodles is a dish that will make people come back for seconds.
His noodles is so popular that his stall is always crowded with customers.
The affable Tang set up his business from scratch in 1964 after much trial and error. Despite his advanced age of 80 now, he is not about to quit yet.
Tang came to the state with his peers during his teenage years, from Shantou province in China after the Japanese Occupation. Jobless then, he tried many jobs before getting his hands into the noodle business.
“I started off with nothing. I taught myself by looking at how other noodle sellers went about their business. Slowly I picked up all the skills and put them to good use. Over time, I also improvised my own noodles that was different from others,” he revealed when met.
His stall is the only one in town that specialises in one type of noodle dish only. As it is his signature dish, many agree no one else comes close to matching it.
“You will see the difference when you taste my noodles. My noodles no doubt is a bit more expensive but it is the quality that counts,” he said.
A bowl of Tang’s noodles is about 20 sen dearer compared to others. A regular size serving costs RM3 while a bigger serving sells for RM4.
His flat noodle dish which comes with thin slices of meat is specially made and cannot be found elsewhere. It tastes succulent and is not sticky.
“It is a tedious and time consuming process preparing the meat. While others just boil the meat, I roast it using charcoal which take hours to cok, that is why it has this delicious taste,” he said.
“The youth especially will always order two bowls of the noodles as they want to eat to their heart’s content,” he said with a smile.
His many loyal customers follow him wherever his stall moves. His previous location was at Jalan Blacksmith where he was there for a good 30 years.
In 1995, Tang relocated to the central market which is a more strategic location than the previous place.
“This place is much better than the previous one as it is free from rain and heat. I wish to thank the local council for this wonderful place,” he said.
Though he is not rich, he still contributes to charity from time to time.
Five years ago, Tang came down with a serious illness which forced him to stop the business for quite some time, leaving his customers bereft of their favourite noodle dish.
His wife who had been his best helper in the business passed on seven years ago.
When asked how long he would keep the business going, Tang replied, “I will work as long as I can, though age is not on my side now.” — DayakDaily