This Singapore woman quit banking to sell Hainanese curry rice.jpg

DENIECE TAN, 26
She quit banking to sell Hainanese curry rice.

She’s concerned with the dying hawker trade in Singapore, and her desire to sustain it impelled her to leave her cushy job as a forex broker – with a five-figure monthly salary! – to set up Truly Curry Rice (#01-29 Telok Blangah Food Centre, Block 79 Telok Blangah Drive) in August 2013 with her business partner Joel Chia, 30.

However, it wasn’t long before she realised that cooking on a commercial scale was very different from a weekend cookout with friends. “The 15 items on our menu are cooked daily and we added a breakfast menu recently – the prep work is insane!” says Deniece, who starts her day at 3am and goes to bed at 9pm.

The hands-on boss also washes the cutlery and scrubs the floor at her stall. Once, she even stuck her arm down the kitchen drain to unclog it – the arms of the guys she sought help from were too big to get the job done.

Nevertheless, this second-generation hawker is happy to continue her dad’s legacy, serving old-school Hainanese dishes such as breaded pork chop and chap chye. Says Deniece: “I hope to be able to preserve this part of our culture for years to come.”

Photography: Winston Chuang, Styling: Evon Chng, Hair & Makeup: Jackenline Goh, using Redken & Yves Saint Laurent Beaute, Dress: Saturday, Bangle: Stylist’s own

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

Want to read more about inspiring Singapore women with cool jobs? Find out why this woman quit her job as an air stewardess to run a Penang prawn noodles stall and what it’s like for this woman to run a funeral parlour.