The one thing that stands out the most about Thomas Koh (other than the fact that he could pass off as a Japanese idol) is that he’s really funny.
“Sometimes, when aunties or uncles want an extra serving of meat for free, they’ll say something like, ‘Ah boy ah, just give me a bit more. Nevermind, one.’ What do you mean ‘nevermind, one?!’” he exclaims. “But I will give, lah.”
The heir to Koh Brother Pig’s Organ Soup at Tiong Bahru Market previously had a career in graphic design and only joined the family business four years ago. He jokes that he initially got “cheated” into helping out, but that his passion for it grew over time and he hasn’t looked back since.
And the thing the 30-year-old finds toughest about his job? Working with family. “We work every day, and I see them so much that sometimes, I don’t even feel like talking to them,” he says. When he isn’t running the business, he can be found playing football or video games.
He and his parents take turns working in shifts; he typically gets in at 9am and leaves at 3pm, but returns at 9pm to do food preparation and bookkeeping till around midnight.
The hours may be long and the work, hard, but Thomas has no plans to slow down. “I just want to sell the best pig’s organ soup. Profit is secondary to me,” he says.
There’s no doubt that he knows a thing about good food. Scroll the gallery to check out five of his favourite hawker stalls at Tiong Bahru Market.