Hundreds drawn to BBQ goodness
MS MAY Lee waited in line for seven hours at Lim Chee Guan's flagship store in New Bridge Road, just to get her hands on fresh bak kwa for Chinese New Year.
That was two hours more than when she had to queue for the famous barbecued pork slices in previous years - all because she woke up half an hour late, she said.
More than 80 people were already in the queue when the 53-year-old sales promoter arrived at the store on Saturday - at 6.30am.
"My first thought was: 'I should have set two alarms'," said Ms Lee, who eventually bought 7.5kg of bak kwa.
She was just one of hundreds who formed snaking lines outside bak kwa stores all over Chinatown on Saturday, the last weekend before Chinese New Year festivities officially begin on Friday.
Prices for bak kwa this year are roughly the same as last year, said Ms Lee, who paid $52 per kilogram.
When The Sunday Times visited Chinatown on Saturday afternoon, queues at Lim Chee Guan's two outlets stretched some 100m. Its outlet in ION Orchard was sold out by midday.
As in previous years, some customers brought foldable chairs to sit on, while others sent workers to do the queuing for them.
Long lines were also seen at other bak kwa stores like Kim Hua Guan at People's Park Food Centre. More than 50 customers were still waiting in line at 11am, despite a sign warning that the stall was likely to run out of stock.
Business, however, was less brisk at stores like Bee Cheng Hiang and Fragrance.
Auditor Elizabeth Hao, 26 - who was buying her bak kwa from Bee Cheng Hiang, as she has done for the past eight years - said: "The queues seem shorter this year. Maybe (the stores) have more competitors."