The pandemic has affected many industries, but the most hard-hit is the food industry which eventually caused many small restaurants and food stalls to close. In Singapore, the circuit-breaker period has led many hawker stalls to closure due to the restrictions imposed and the reduction of people who go outside to eat.
One of these hawker stalls is the hawker stall Chelabela: Korean Food by Korean Chef which was previously located in Marsiling. Like we always do at Asiaone, here is the special update on the reopening.
The Hawker Stall
The stall went viral last year when they revived the stall which traditionally offered home-cooked Korean dishes like bibimbap and kimchi fried rice. Unfortunately, the stall had to close in May this year due to a lack of manpower to support the stall.
After a few months of waiting and preparing, the stall found a new home at a coffee shop in Ang Mo Kio Ave 5 and will open on August 11, 2021.
According to the announcement in an Instagram post, the new location is ideal because it is accessible and yet it is still near their home and the old location.
The new stall is operated by Suh Chin-won a 52-year old Korean, the menu is also streamlined with only five options available. The main dishes are army stew ($18), anchovies (from $5), and three kimchi dishes (from $5).
The army stew is “super yummy with authentic broth and no weird additives’ ‘, while their kimchi is fresh and really made at home, according to Chelabela.
Chela Suh, the daughter of the owner which is also the namesake of the food stall said that they are currently assessing the logistics of how to include the delivery options, she said that once the delivery option is available she will update the status in the stall’s Instagram account.
The Old Stall
During the circuit-breaker period last year, the stall went viral when 23-year old Chela asked the Facebook group Hawker’s United – Dabao 2020 to revive the decrepit hawker stall when it was at Marsiling.
After the post in the group, the orders catapulted from 70 orders a day to a staggering 240 orders a day. However, the stall has to close in May due to the lack of labor force.
Chin Won occasionally has help from his family including her daughter Chela. Chin Won had trouble in hiring stall assistants due to the language barrier since he only speaks Korean and couldn’t speak English and Chinese fluently.
Another reason for the closure is the fall of Chela’s grandmother who is also working in the stall as the cashier, who is now wheelchair bound. The circuit-breaker period also implemented the no-dine rule which also made the closure on May 30 possible.
The Transition Period
The family spent the two months searching for a new location and recalibrating their business strategy. In this time also, they made the decision to streamline the menu list and make it minimal by assessing the pandemic. Chela realized that people now eat more at home so she decided to only include side dishes to partner with the customer’s home-cooked meals in the menu instead of main dishes from the previous stall menu.
She also realized that kimchi is the most popular dish in the previous stall so they included a variety of them in the new menu.
The old hawker stall in Marsiling doesn’t have a name so they decided to name the new stall Chelabela: Korean Food by Korean Chef which was named after Chela herself.
After a long wait of two months, the stall will now open in the new location with the address: Blk 603 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5, S560603. The stall will also operate daily from 11am to 8pm.