Kok Kee Wanton Noodle is relatively famous in Singapore.
Customers like it for its springy noodles and secret flavourful lard-based sauce.
So, it isn't really a surprise that enterprising people want to get their hands on the recipe.
S$2 million offer
One person in particular wanted it so bad that an offer of more than S$2 million was made to the owners of Kok Kee's Jurong West stall -- just for the recipe.
This was reported in Lianhe Zaobao on March 20, 2019.
The owners, Sun Qingfa, 64, and his children, rejected the offer after careful consideration.
According to Zaobao, the owners said they would rather take their time and wait for a golden opportunity to expand the business.
Sun has four other siblings who used to operate Kok Kee Wanton Noodle at Lavender Food Square, and subsequently at Hoa Nam Building.
The previous iterations of the business have closed but it will re-open again this month at Foch Road.
Jurong West family business
Sun himself branched out to open his own outlet at Block 505 Jurong West Street 52.
His son Sun Shiwei, 35 and his daughter Sun Xiaoting, 32 also joined him in selling wanton noodles.
Each has more than 20 years of experience in the business.
Together with their father, they are known as the "Iron Trio" by loyal customers.
Remaining faithful to food prep
The Sun siblings have been helping out at the stall for 27 years.
Shiwei told Zaobao that customers -- including the above-mentioned customer with deep pockets -- often ask if they intend to expand their business overseas.
"Investors will definitely hope for good returns. We don't have wild hopes of developing the business and earning a lot of money. We definitely need to earn money, but our wish is to preserve our skills and the taste that our customers grew up with. We want to remain down to earth and maintain this nostalgic taste. From choosing ingredients to making our special sauce, we want to focus on excelling at every step of the way. If and when we find a suitable location and successor, we will open another outlet."
Multi-stall business tough
Shiwei added that other businesses have collaborated with investors to open many outlets but many toppled in the end, and affected their reputation.
Sun senior also said that opening a shop requires a lot of capital -- often times money that can be better kept for old age.
If hawkers were to open another shop, they might not be able to juggle the business for both sides.
He also said that if an outsider were to buy the recipe, try their hand at the business and fail, it might open the family to legal troubles.
"You need to find an insider who is interested in learning the ropes. Only then can the business be sustained," Sun senior said.
Today, Shiwei and Xiaoting are in charge of cooking the wanton noodles, while their father takes care of the finances and visits the stall daily to check on the quality of the noodles.
If you would like to visit Kok Kee Wanton Noodles:
Address: 505 Jurong West Street 52, #01-14, 640505 (map)
Operating hours: 7am - 2pm (Mon); 7am - 12pm (Tues, Fri - Sun); closed on Wed and Thur
Top images via Google user Wilson Wong.
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