For many Singaporeans, the name Soup Restaurant conjures the warmth of comfort food – nourishing broths, simple stir-fried vegetables, and that irresistible dish of perfectly poached chicken served with an addictive ginger sauce.
While its name is beacon for friends and family to share a wholesome meal together, the restaurant was established by a family of a different kind – a brotherhood, if you will, of four men bound by one “crazy idea”.
Now in their 60s, Mok Yi Peng, Wong Wei Teck, Wong Chee Keong and Mike Ho met while studying at the National University of Singapore’s Institute of Engineering in the 1970s. They went on to work for Mass Rapid Transit Corporation, now the Land Transport Authority, as early civil engineers of the nation’s MRT system.
“One day, Mok told me he had rented a place and asked me, ‘want to play or not? Do something outside of engineering,” recalled Wong Wei Teck, 65, the company’s managing director and executive director. “I asked him ‘what business?’, but, actually, I already knew his answer. Of course (it was) food!”
A talented, passionate cook since his university days, the partners remember the young Mok often rising early to prepare breakfast for his hostel mates.