(above: Ms Violet Ooi Owner/CEO of Violet Oon Consultants (left) presenting the Best Hawker Award to Mr Wee of Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken, Thomson Road.)
By Tony Ng
THE founder of Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice has a bizarre habit of sampling his customers' leftover food.
The amiable Mr Wee Too Ouut cannot stand it when a group of customers orders some dishes and ends up with a lot of leftovers for one particular dish.
The 72-year-old would help himself to them immediately after the customers leave in order to find out why the food was left untouched.
He said: "One reason could be that they have over-ordered or it could be that the dish is not good. But I would not take it for granted."
That seriousness for food quality and service, even after being in the line for 33 years, earned Mr Wee AsiaOne People's Choice Award for Best Hawker, coming above nine other finalists.
His shop, Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice, earned him 23.6 per cent of the votes cast for the Best Hawker category. His nearest competitor was 12.9 per cent behind.
93 brands, products and services in Singapore and in the region were recognised for their excellence as voted by AsiaOne readers. Held for the third time, the annual awards have expanded to 31 categories - 13 of these are all-new.
Mr Adrian Tay, editor of AsiaOne, said: "The winners were decided purely by AsiaOne readers who are very opinionated and would only vote for what they fancy.
"Looking at the winners this year, the trends are quite telling. For example in the motoring categories, the quality European makes seem to dominate in this year's results." Eight out of nine finalists for the three automotive categories were from European brands.
After a round of nomination last October, in which some 3,360 products and services were nominated, 277 of the most popular ones were short-listed for voting.
The top five categories which received the most votes from the readers were Wellness Providers, Chinese Restaurants, Buffets, Private Schools and Asian Restaurants.
Bagging the top award three times consecutively in their respective categories were SIM for Best Private Schools and POSB Everyday Card for Best Credit Cards.
AsiaOne readers also endorsed first-time nominees like Mary Chia Beauty and Slimming Specialist, OCBC NTUC Plus! Visa card, Ku DeTa, Studio M Hotel, and Kuriya Penthouse.
Mr Tony Tan, chief executive officer, NTUC Link, said: "We are very pleased that OCBC-NTUC Plus! Visa has been voted one of the winners in the credit/debit card category.
Plus! is the co-operative's programme to help Singapore's working families stretch their dollar on everyday expenses.
Mr Tan said: "The award recognizes the contribution Plus! is making through our strategic partnership with OCBC, to accelerate benefits to working families. We will continue to work hard enhancing the benefits and visibility of Plus! Visa, so that more people can enjoy even more benefits from our OCBC-NTUC partnership."
Mr Tay said: “We would like to congratulate all winners, especially those which are first-time nominees. Through the awards, we hope to connect our trade partners and help strengthen their presence with our AsiaOne readers."