Famous ice-kacang stall closes

GEORGE TOWN: The brothers running the famous Swatow Lane ice-kacang stall have decided to take a long rest after their family served the ice cold delicacy for close to a century.

Current owner and fourth generation operator Lee Eng Lai, 67, said the decision to close and move out on April 30 from the New World Park food court was made due to high monthly expenses.

He said he was reluctant to move from the food court at Jalan Burma here but increasing rent, overhead and maintenance has forced his hand.

He said, as an example, the rent is to increase next month, and this will burden him.

"I have no choice but to move," he said when met at his stall within the food court which he moved into in January 2007.

The family started serving the local favourite — a dessert concoction of shaved ice, flavoured syrups, fruits and ice cream — in the early 1920s from a pushcart at the then Swatow Lane.

The place where they started was initially next to the New World Park entertainment centre before it closed and subsequently bought over and turned into a food court.

Lee said he planned to take a rest after operating the business for more than two decades.

"I will take a break before deciding what is next," he said adding he might be going on a cruise with friends for a chance to unwind and plan what to do in the future.

Meanwhile, a food court spokesman said the monthly rental will not be increased and the operating hours will also remain the same and hoped the Lee brothers will continue their business.

Meanwhile other food stall traders theSun spoke to said they were not closing just because the Lee brothers were moving out.

"Many of us will still be operating," a char koay teow seller said to refute talk the entire food court was closing.