Coffee House Banh Mi: 14-Year-Old Helps Out At Mother’s Stall |
Behind The Food Hawker Interviews

Meet The 14-Year-Old “Coffee Prodigy” Who Helps Out At His Mother’s Drink Stall

15th March 2024

Coffee House Banh Mi is run by a mother and her teenage son


The idea of a 14-year-old boy who spends his afternoons helping out at his mother’s drink stall is intriguing, to say the least. But as I travelled down to Coffee House Banh Mi to interview the teenager, the armchair psychologist in me began to worry. Can this boy cope with all the work and media attention at such a tender age? I asked myself.


Upon meeting Daniel Pun, however, these concerns were quickly assuaged—first by his skill at crafting cups of Vietnamese coffee, then by his confidence and enthusiasm whenever he spoke. It also helped that the teenager seemed to absolutely love the idea of fame.

“I want to be a celebrity chef, like Gordan Ramsay,” Daniel excitedly told us. “I want to be more famous than Taylor Swift and Drake combined!”

“I want to be more famous than Taylor Swift and Drake combined!”


Daniel’s early foray into the F&B world has likely fostered these big dreams. His mother and stall owner, Ruby Ho, began teaching him the basics of operating a drinks stall when he was 11 years old, but it was only when he turned 13 that he was legally able to work at the stall part-time.


While the stall offers both drinks and Vietnamese snacks such as banh mi, Daniel focuses on the drinks. He mentioned that he began practising his signature “pulling” technique with plain water, before moving on to actual coffee and tea. Now, Daniel is able to craft excellent cups of coffee, and he regularly receives compliments from customers because of that.

“A lot of people say I make coffee better than my mom!” Daniel proudly declared.

“A lot of people say I make coffee better than my mom!”

While most are charmed by this coffee prodigy, some customers are less forgiving. Daniel recounted a time when he attempted to man the stall by himself while his mother went for a quick toilet break.

“An uncle asked for siew dai. I didn’t know what siew dai was at that time, so I give him normal amount of sugar. He came scolding me saying it is very very sweet, and even ask for refund.”

I told Daniel that this was shocking behaviour from the uncle, but Daniel didn’t seem to mind that much. “It’s okay la, it’s kind of my fault. And maybe he was just in the wrong mood.”


While Daniel’s skill and emotional intelligence are beyond his years, we have to remember that he is still a kid. And so I asked him how he juggles his time between school and the drink stall.

“It’s very easy, you just need self-discipline,” said Daniel. “After school or CCA, I just drop by to help my mom. If I want to go play, I will just ask my mom for permission.”

With Daniel being a regular fixture at the stall, Coffee House Banh Mi received some media buzz, which pleased the teen greatly. Given his passion for F&B, he hopes to eventually open a successful Vietnamese restaurant that will further grow his fame and pay homage to his mother’s Vietnamese roots.


As for his mother’s stall, I asked Daniel if he sees himself taking over operations in the future. He reserved his most fantastical ideas for this one.

“The stall will last foreva. In the year 3010, there will be flying cars, spaceships, and aliens. Humans will have five eyes. But I’ll make sure the stall is still around. I’ll try my best to keep it up.”

For a story about the restaurant that invented fish head steamboat, read our Nan Hwa Chong feature. For a story about possibly the first ever prawn mee stall, read our The Old Stall Hokkien Street Famous Prawn Mee feature.

Address: 210 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, #01-10, Toa Payoh Lorong 8 Market & Hawker Centre, Singapore 310210
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 8am to 9pm
Tel: 8727 6799
Coffee House Banh Mi is not a halal-certified eatery.

Behind Nan Hwa Chong: The Legendary Restaurant That Invented Fish Head Steamboat

Photos taken by Melvin Mak.
This was an independent feature by

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