For more than a decade, she has been tending to her husband's kway chap stall, tirelessly working up to 15 hours a day on some days.
Picking up the ladle was something that the 56-year-old woman, surnamed Zhu, never thought she'd have to do, reported Shin Min Daily News.
But she was left with little choice after Zhu's husband suffered a stroke and lost mobility in his left arm in 2011.
The couple had started Kelantan Kway Chap Pig's Organ Soup, located at Berseh Food Centre, 18 years ago.
With her husband unable to work, Zhu was forced to take up the mantle, but business soon plummeted.
"At that time I was very lost and confused. We had three kids to feed and the youngest was only 11 years old. There was also our mortgage loan to cover. I worked 15 hours a day and because business wasn't good, I didn't dare to employ a helper," said Zhu.
Life dealt her another blow years later in 2019, when Zhu was diagnosed with uterine cancer.
Fortunately, surgery proved effective and her condition has since stabilised.
Zhu shared how she also underwent another operation due to a hand injury.
"I couldn't even lift a knife at the time, I thought I was finished," said Zhu, who bemoaned the series of misfortunes that fate had dealt her.
Zhu told Shin Min Daily News that she managed to pick herself up from the depths of despair after the encouragement she received from Minister for Parliament Denise Phua, other hawker representatives, as well as social workers.
"I realised there was no point in complaining, the solution was up to me," said Zhu, who expressed her gratitude to everyone who had helped her.
In a Facebook post about a walkabout done at the food centre, Phua remarked how she respects Zhu "for her tenacity".
From struggling hawker to Bib Gourmand 2022
Zhu shared that following her husband's stroke, it took her several years for her to learn the recipes and manage the stall on her own.
"I didn't know anything at first and my husband didn't write down the recipe," she added.
Her effort wasn't for naught.
In 2022, the stall was awarded a place on the Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand list. It's an accolade which took Zhu by surprise.
Zhu has since hired a stall assistant.
The 63-year-old stall assistant told the Chinese evening daily that Zhu would get to the stall at 7am and be there till 2pm. After a three hour break, Zhu would return at 5pm and remain there till the stall closes at around 8pm.
"I never expected to receive the award. I'm happy that my years of hard work has been recognised. My three kids are now working adults, I only hope life will be better from now on," Zhu said.