Laksa kandar – here comes the son
But the laksa kandar man’s work is being carried on.
Albert the laksa man has taken over from his laksa kandar father, who had plied his trade on the streets of George Town since 1963, going from Ayer Itam to Burmah Road in town, carrying his laksa pots and kueh trays.
In town, he would park himself at the corner cafe in Bawasah Road behind the Cold Storage and Merlin hotel (now the Giant supermarket and Royal hotel).
Three years ago, Albert took over. His father, now 67, has a kidney problem and goes for dialysis treatment, and cannot carry on.
The kandar has been retired, of course, and the laksa pot and kueh trays transferrred to a trusty Honda cub, just as with many other vendors of street food sold from baskets on a pole.
There was a char bee hoon man, there was a chee cheong fun man, there was a satay man — almost every kind of street food was kandar food, when motor vehicles were beyond the reach of the ordinary man and even bicycles cost a couple of months’ wages.
Albert, 37, gave up his job as a property manager to take over as the Corner Cafe’s resident laksa man, riding from his home in Paya Terubong to set up shop from noon to 5pm on weekdays and from 10.30am on the busy weekeds. He has no regrets.
It’s a decent living. In addition, they provide catering for events.
“It’s our family business, and we have our regular customers here,” he says. His sister Vanessa also helps out. Will his schoolgoing son and daughter carry on after him? “It’s up to them, when they grow up,” he says with a broad smile.
It’s more than that of course. The nasi kandar man, the laksa kandar man, the charbeehoon ladies, the satay man, the bread man, the “toktok mee” vendor, the mee goreng man, and all the rest… they are our joint heritage. A Penang heritage, and a Malaysian heritage.