Swatow Lane ice kacang stall to stay open at New World Park

By Opalyn Mok
The 94-year-old Lee Brothers ice kacang stall will continue to operate at New World Park in George Town. ― Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, May 2 ― The famous Lee Brothers Swatow Lane Ais Kacang stall will continue to operate at New World Park hawker complex after all.

Just last month it was reported that the stall would be closing and moving elsewhere due to rising costs and slow business.

Stall owner Lee Eng Lai, 67, said they are now negotiating with the complex's management PBB Group to continue operating at New World Park.

“We will not close after all... it is better for us to stay on here because all our customers, from my father's and grandfather's time, still come to look for us here,” he said today.

“My sons are running the stall so let them continue operating it here,” he said.

Lee's sons, Wah Onn, 34 and Wah Chai, 30, manage both the ice kacang and drinks stall while Eng Lai comes in later in the day to help.

Eng Lai said they have had a few meetings with the complex's management and they will be meeting again on Thursday to discuss their tenancy terms.

“Let's just consider it resolved, we will definitely stay on, we just need to finalise it with the management,” he said.

Wah Chai hoped their customers will come back for their ice kacang and ice kacang specials now that they are not closing down anymore.

“Business has been slow so we hope people will come back and eat here as the hawker centre is not closed and we are still here,” he said.

He stressed that an article in The Star yesterday that reported they would only remain open until May 31 was inaccurate.

“We never said we are staying on only for one more month, we are already discussing with the management to stay on long term,” he said.

The Lee Brothers ice kacang was started by Lee Kar Tee back in 1923 as a roadside stall selling soya milk and ice balls drizzled with syrup.

Kar Tee's sons, Soo Eng and Soo Khan, took over the stall sometime in the 1950s and after that, Eng Lai and his brother, Eng Huat, took over.

Now, the stall is run by the fourth generation Lees and the ice balls have evolved over the years into the ice kacang we know today.

The stall used to be located by the roadside at Swatow Lane, which is alongside New World Park, before the stall along with other hawker stalls were shifted into the complex back in 2007.