Yesterday, I was shocked, shaken, stirred and saddened. Because I made my way to Bugis Junction, full of anticipation of a slurpilicious great meal at Tea Shake Hut, only to find that a hoarding has covered its frontage, declaring a great new experience awaits me.
When will those super-rent squeezers at Capitland wake up to the fact that many, if not most, customers, don’t want a great new experience but an ongoing great experience that suits us just fine?
After all, I’m not a tourist passing thru looking for kicks and “experiences”. I’m a resident citizen, looking for my familiarity fix.
Now I have one fewer reason to go to Bugis Junction.
Perhaps I will soon have none, as the remaining two reasons, OCBC branch across the road and reasonable parking rates, can be found at MRT confluences other than Bugis Junction.
A couple of months ago, I lost a major reason when Pacific Internet moved its conveniently located outlet at the bottom of the escalators.
Now I’ve lost Tea Shake Hut. And Kedai Kueh Kueh, from which I used to buy my ondeh ondeh and sri mukah for the family’s tea treat, has moved too far into the bowels of Bugis Junction for me on a well-planned time-tight schedule to make a quick pit-stop.
Yesterday when I asked the push-cart vendors in the concourse facing where the Hut once was what happened to Tea Shake, some shrugged and others said “it’s closed”, which is like stating the obvious.
The “ah soh” at the upmarket ladies rest room in the Intercontinental Hotel was more forthcoming: the rent, she said, then immediately dimmed her credibility in my eyes by adding:”no business”.
No business? Impossible. All the times I’ve been there, it’s always been choc a block, albeit my visit times had always been between noon and 2pm, when the office brigade was probably at its most ravenous.
Perhaps it did less well at other times? Perhaps the average prices for its meals, including a lovely bubble tea, ($7.50 to $7.90) were too low for it to survive against Capitaland’s rapacious rent demand?
Whatever it is, if Tea Shake Hut with its tiny premises and huge following, can’t make it, I doubt the whole clutch of Jap-western wannabes that are appearing in Bugis Junction will be around for long either.
Capitaland will surely rue the day it drove what’s a uniquely Singaporean blend of local and Taiwanese food experience into extinction.
Rest in peace Tea Shake Hut! I mourn your loss. You’ve given me good food at low prices in an environment that’s full of noise and buzz, yet strangely and uniquely unintrusive, as I ate my dry mee siam and the grilled chik mid wings and sucked up the chewy “frog’s eggs” from my bubble green tea. It was bliss while it lasted.