One thing busy Singaporeans often lament is the fact they simply don’t have time to cook. Dining out, fortunately, can be easy and inexpensive – but what if you’re really craving some home cooked food but have no obliging relative to cook for you? Well, you’re in luck if what you’re craving is nutritious Chinese food, as restaurant chain Soup Restaurant (SGX: 5KI) could have just what you’re looking for. Back in 1991, founders Mok Yip Peng, Wong Tei Teck, Wong Chi Keong, and Ho Hong Chin had noticed two things. Firstly, in modernisation, Singapore’s Chinatown had changed. Families…
One thing busy Singaporeans often lament is the fact they simply don’t have time to cook. Dining out, fortunately, can be easy and inexpensive – but what if you’re really craving some home cooked food but have no obliging relative to cook for you?
Well, you’re in luck if what you’re craving is nutritious Chinese food, as restaurant chain Soup Restaurant (SGX: 5KI) could have just what you’re looking for. Back in 1991, founders Mok Yip Peng, Wong Tei Teck, Wong Chi Keong, and Ho Hong Chin had noticed two things.
Firstly, in modernisation, Singapore’s Chinatown had changed. Families could no longer eat simple traditional dishes at roadside stalls at its Night Bazaar as they had done in the fifties.
Secondly, their craving for so-called Chinese heritage cuisine may not have been unique to them, as herbal soup restaurants in Hong Kong had recently observed a huge surge in popularity.
Home cooked food
Realising many of Singapore’s young professionals with limited access to home cooked food could be feeling the same, they decided to take a chance and open up their own small herbal soup outlet, simply named Soup Restaurant in Smith Street.
By 1994, and with their new restaurant’s dishes going down well, Mok Yip Peng decided to draw on his family for some of the traditional Cantonese recipes he had enjoyed during his childhood.
These nutritious, home cooked dishes proved a huge hit, with Singaporean’s snapping up their Samsui Ginger Chicken, Steamed San Yu and Hometown Tofu, as well as the Double Boiled Herbal Soups.
The company followed up in 2001 with a series of home cooked dishes named “Kampong Kitchen”. However, this proved unprofitable and was discontinued in 2005.
Further Soup Restaurants were opened across Singapore, and the company started to venture across to Malaysia and Indonesia.
But did you know…
- Soup Restaurant’s popular “Steamed Hand Chopped Minced Pork with Salted Fish” dish really is chopped by hand – which is why they are only able to produce 30 servings each day.
- Three of Soup Restaurant’s four founders hold engineering degrees.
- Soup Restaurant’s signature dish is its Samsui Ginger Chicken – a recipe that originated from the Samsui women of Singapore’s Chinatown. Surviving on little, they looked forward to Chinese New Year as it was the only time they could savour their traditional Ginger Chicken dish – gently steamed chicken dipped in ginger sauce and wrapped in a lettuce leaf.
- Soup Restaurant’s Ginger Chicken fans may be delighted to learn that they can attempt to recreate the fragrant dish at home – the company has launched a new retail business selling jars of its secret recipe Samsui Ginger Sauce in NTUC Fairprice outlets in Singapore and has plans to export it overseas.
- If you’re sensitive to or simply dislike the often heavy-handed use of monosodium glutamate (MSG) proffered by some Chinese chefs, you may be interested to learn that Soup Restaurant promises never to use the stuff.
Today, Soup Restaurant has 14 outlets throughout Singapore as well as restaurants in Malaysia and Indonesia serving its trademark herbal soups and home cooked dishes at affordable prices.
The company also owns the Pot Luck restaurant chain, which is in the style of a Zi Char outlet (a Chinese food stall that can serve a vast number of affordable dishes) and Café O – traditional, fifties styled kopitiams (coffee shops) serving typical Singaporean fare.
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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Alison Hunt doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.