After being a service banker for three years, Kelly Wong decided to become a hawker at the age of 23. With no prior experience or background in cooking, she became apprenticed in the the art and skill of cooking wanton noodles under a Hong Kong chef who has 52 years of experience under his belt – her father Master Wong Wai Keung.
Kelly’s father specialises in Cantonese cuisine and has been in the F&B industry since he was 8 years old. Being a traditional and loving father, he felt that the hawker trade was a man’s job and ladies should be working in a clean and comfortable environment. Even so, Kelly did everything she could to persuade him into teaching her his trade. Eventually he gave in and supported her decision. The first part of her training began with her father teaching her the art of flipping of spoons, tossing of onions, garlics, and even chestnuts. His motto has been “the more, the merrier; the heavier, the better” and sought to teach her the basics before actually teaching her how to cook dishes proper.
Though many would question her leaving a comfortable bank job for the tougher life as a hawker, Kelly notes that nothing is ever too easy or difficult as long as you are willing to do it. She got used to the hot environment and long working hours and being physically drained at the end of the day. But she rests assured in the fact that she is independent and running her own business. She feels that the trade demands that you have to be an all-rounder and every aspect of the business becomes your responsibility – she is the cook, the assistant cook, the logistics provider, the cashier, the delivery person, the dishwasher, the cleaner, and customer relations officer. She knows that multitasking is crucial as a hawker and she always expects the unexpected.