Friday, June 2, 2017

The Return of Simon Road Oyster Omelette

There are a lot of fans of the original Simon Road Oyster Omelette. And when they left their original location along Upper Serangoon Road, many have thought they were gone for good.

It was around five years ago that the father and sons team moved into a stall a few units away next to the Punggol Nasi Lemak place. A few loyal fans managed to find it but was largely unnoticed.

Fast forward to 2017 and the father, nicknamed Lao Hero or Old Hero, passed away during the Chinese New Year period.

The younger son Ah Soot, had already departed also a few years prior. Many have seen Lao Hero and Ah Soot behind the wok pan, cooking plate after plate of this most delectable of Singapore street food. We thought we might have lost this legendary orh luak place forever.

But not many may have noticed a second sibling serving the customers during all this while. He is actually Ah Peng, the elder brother. He has been faithfully working with his dad and brother for more than two decades, and being a very quiet person, has always stayed in the background.

Let me backtrack a bit for those who are not familiar with this eatery. Lao Hero and his wife originally started their omelette place around the Hougang area a few decades back in a coffeeshop. But due to the higher rentals, they decided to move to a more affordable location in a market hawker centre.

It was only after moving into the Simon Road area that their business picked up and became a mainstay for orh luak lovers. And partly, because the equally famous Simon Road Hokkien Mee was situated in the same coffeeshop.
Crispy Batter and Succulent Oysters

Lao Hero was the star, frying the omelette with a great deal of flair and fire. And lard. Oh yes, that magical ingredient for that extra special aroma and taste. Not to forget, also for that lubricating goodness.

They are known for garnishing their omelettes with the most succulent and largest looking oysters around. And that signature crispy batter that is as flat as a pancake and as crunchy as a potato chip.

Despite working there for the longest time, Ah Peng never had much chance to do the frying as Lao Hero favoured his younger son to take over his legacy. More often than not, Ah Peng was left to just watch from the sidelines.

That did not deter him from picking up the finer points of his dad's legendary frying prowess. In fact, he has learnt everything he needed to continue his dad's tradition.

In February this year, he was faced with the situation of winding up the stall next to the nasi lemak place. At that time, he was considering the possibility of being a ride sharing driver to make a living.

But a chance meeting with the new landlord at the original Simon Road coffeeshop would turn out to be the turning point in this famous orh luak story. The new landloard has obviously known of the pedigree of Lao Hero's stall and wanted the famous Simon Road Oyster Omelette to be resurrected.

And so it was that Ah Peng was eventually persuaded to return to the same place that his dad started and thus, he is now able to carry on his family legacy.

For many, the thought that this orh luak outlet is back will be music to their omeletty ears. But there is a more humane element to this tale. And that is, Ah Peng can finally be given the chance to shine.

He was just a server during the place's heydays. And perhaps it is due to his rather quiet and modest demeanour that not many may know of him. Yet, he was resourceful and diligent to learn on his own, the recipe and skill needed to cook this marvelous dish.

Whilst his dad and younger sibling may no longer be around, it is heartwarming to see this humble man making the famous omelette with that distinctive aroma again. Fans of Lao Hero, maybe it is time for a new hero.

Simon Road Oyster Omelette
941 Upper Serangoon Road

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