WITH an honours degree in electrical and electronics engineering, one would expect Mr Abdhus Salam to be carving out his career in the engineering industry.

But his time as an assistant engineer at a semiconductor company made him realise that he was more cut out to run his own business.

Towards the end of 2011, he quit his job to help his parents run a hawker stall specialising in Indian rojak. Mr Salam, who first started helping out at his father's stall as a teen to earn extra pocket money, plans to take over the business once his dad retirees.

"My father worked so hard to build his rojak empire and I didn't want his sweat and hard work to go to waste," said the 27-year-old, who studied part-time for his degree conferred by Coventry University in Britain.

A typical day begins as early as 4am, with seven hours of preparation at the Ayer Rajah Food Centre until the stall opens at 11am. Although father and son rotate their shifts, the long working hours mean Mr Salam has to sacrifice public holidays and miss attending certain functions.

But he said: "I always tell myself that one day, I will make it to a level that I won't have to work long hours because someone else will manage the stall. I can just supervise it. That thought keeps me going," he said.

The stall, called Abdhus Salam Rojak, was selected to take part in Singapore Day in London in 2009 and in Shanghai in 2011. "You get to see so much potential and so many skilled hawkers and you cook food for people who miss it. It's satisfying, and I'm proud to be able to represent our food," he said.