When Mr Tan Boon Chai shutters his 90-year-old bakery for the last time this month, the third-generation owner will step back from shouldering his family’s legacy after 51 years. But to the 71-year-old, Tan Hock Seng is more than just the Hokkien pastry business that his grandfather started in 1931, for it was at its original location in China Street that Mr Tan met Madam Yeo Ah Suei, his wife.
It was the late 1960s. Mr Tan was 19 and doing national service, while Madam Yeo was 16 and working part-time in the shop for six months.”Sparks flew,” said Mr Tan in Mandarin during an interview in early October (Oct 5) at the shop’s current location in Telok Ayer Street. “It was love at first sight.”