One of the most sought after dishes in Singapore is the Bak Kut Teh and for good reason. The aroma of the infusing meaty pork into a simmering broth of spices and herbs coupled with traditional tea is enough to make you fall in line and order up. What once started as a breakfast staple has rapidly transformed into a meal that can be taken at any time of the day.
There are people who take Bak Kut Teh not only for breakfast but for lunch, dinner, and supper as well. Rainy weather also calls for a hot bowl of the popular dish as it soothes and comforts the soul. It has also become a widely popular meal at the end of the day and even for those “after-party” moments for renewed energy.
Sadly, the hawker industry where Bak Kut Teh is usually found is a fast dying trade in various developing countries all over the world and Singapore is one of them. This is why CoAssets talked to Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh’s owner Mr Lionel Lim to discuss how the popular dish can thrive in an industry where fewer people are deciding to take up the business.
Bak Kut Teh in the developing world
Mr Lim was already involved with a multinational corporation in Singapore doing asset allocation as well as marketing when the call to take the helm of the family business came knocking. His father poured in a good 40 years of his life building the business from the ground up to become well known in the country. As his father gets older, Mr Lim took the reins of the business to preserve his father’s legacy as well as the brand name.
Serving only natural pork and traditional Chinese and floral tea in a bid to keep tradition as well as reach out to modern preferences, Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh has created a good following and market base. This is one of the biggest reasons why Mr Lim decided to trade the four corners of his office wall with that of a kitchen and pots of Bak Kut Teh around.
He knew the challenge the hawker industry faces with the young generation’s preference of more lucrative and glamorous careers. There are not a lot of them who would willingly go into a hawker business and make a name for themselves. Part of the challenge is because people see the trade as a low-end job compared to the options and choices available to them.
Mr Lim recounts how his regular schedule of having a fixed 8am to 5pm office job on weekdays have drastically changed to a 7-days a week full day work at the family business. Part of this is because he is managing everything on his own with no help at the moment as well as the fact that the hawker industry is a tough trade to be in.
It requires long hours to prepare the food at the start of the day as well as an equal amount of work before closing shop to make sure everything is ready for the next day. Mr Lim is not only in the business for himself but is willing to teach the young generation the tricks of the trade. If they want to preserve a part of the culture and see Bak Kut Teh for a long time, he is willing and able to help. Mr Lim and Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh is part of the change taking over a tried and tested industry and helping it transform to meet the challenges of the new generation.
This article is written by the Crowdfunders Editorial Team. In Asia, Crowdfunders.Asia is a leading portal on providing news related to crowdfunding, start-up, property and business. It is operated by CoAssets.com. CoAssets is South East Asia’s first listed and largest real estate crowdfunding platform. If you have any Crowdfunding news or stories to share, please email [email protected]