Mr. Alexander Pang, second-generation chef and CEO of beloved tze char institution, New Ubin Seafood, is responsible for taking it to the next level with the opening of two upscale locations at CHIJMES and Ramada Zhongshan Park, all while keeping it grounded and truly Singaporean
For the uninitiated, what is the essence of tze char food?
The literal translation of tze char is “cook fry”, but is often associated with casual Chinese dining involving food from a range of dialects, mostly Cantonese and Hokkien. However, the essence of tze char at its core is that it is a communal dining experience where family and close friends get together to eat shared dishes.
Tell us about your earliest memory of tze char.
My earliest memories of tze char cuisine were borne from dining at Ban Leong Wah Hoe and the original Ka Soh, which are two relatively famous tze char eateries. Thinking of those dining experiences evokes a sense of nostalgia as eating out as a family was a treat. Tables were “cleaned” by a single wipe of a wet cloth, seats were simple plastic stools, while cutlery and tableware were melamine, yet, who cares as long as the food was awesome?
I would not be so bold as to claim that we do tze char well – only that we strive to do it the best we can. My hope is that decades from now, people will fondly remember dining at New Ubin Seafood (albeit in a more hygienic environment!).
From lawyer to full-time restaurateur – was this a career change you saw coming? What was the deciding factor that made you leave the boardroom for the kitchen and how has the transition been?
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