Eleven Customers


Eleven customers — one custom

That’s hard to fathom

A common meal by the roadside

Tastiest and dirtiest side by side.


Eleven customers — one stall

A craggy face that greets all

Crouched and bent on a crooked road,

She cooked — whatever her culinary mode.


Not minding the mix of dust and smell,

Nor the woman’s yap and yell,

Still stood squeezed, perhaps squatted too,

These lovers of tasty yong tau foo.


Outdoor dining in Chinatown

No vanity, no sitting down;

A feast is a feast; though everything’s greased.

At least, the price won’t make you feel fleeced.


Andrew Yip is a rare breed. Psychologist, educationist, army major and housing developer, he writes in English and Chinese. Son of world famous photographer, Yip Cheong-Fun, he adds poetry to his father's masterpieces.

This poem was first published in asia!'s April 2006 print issue.