This air stewardess quit her job to run a Penang prawn noodles stall

JULYN TEOH, 33
She went from being a Singapore Girl to a hawker selling Penang prawn noodles.

This second-generation hawker mans her stall, Penang Kia Prawn Mee (Block 205D Compassvale Lane, #01-02), with her beau Gerald Goh, 37. Both are former Singapore Airlines flight attendants.

She’s taken the baton from… her father, who used to sell Penang prawn noodles in Tanjung Bungah, Penang. “After 10 years of flying, I wanted to do something that was more ‘grounded’,” she says.

The trickiest part of cooking Penang prawn noodles is… getting the broth right. Julyn and Gerald spent three months perfecting the spicy soup base. “You need to know the exact amount of ingredients to add and the time taken to boil the broth,” says Julyn. “If you over-boil it, the broth becomes thick and salty.”

One of her pet peeves is… that Singaporeans aren’t familiar with Penang prawn noodles. She grouses: “I get a lot of questions about why chilli paste is added to the soup. It does get frustrating at times, but I try my best to explain that that is how the dish should be eaten.”

She used to visit the fish market at 2am… during the monsoon season, when her prawn suppliers had no stock for her. “These days, I have a better working relationship with my suppliers, so I don’t have to go to the market anymore,” says the lady boss, who peels about 300 prawns daily – which means no more manicures.

PHOTOGRAPHY: WINSTON CHUANG, STYLING: EVON CHNG, HAIR: NG HUIMIN/PALETTEINC, MAKEUP: ERIC NG/PALETTEINC, USING M.A.C. JACKET FROM MOTIVI, SWEATSHIRT FROM PAUL & JOE SISTER, JEANS FROM IRO, ACCESSORIES ARE JULYN’S OWN

This story was first published in Her World Magazine July 2015.

For more stories on inspiring Singapore women: Find out what it’s like for this woman to run a funeral parlour and more about the teacher who quit her job to save the sharks.