Mr Yu Beng Chew, in his late 30s, decided to pack his bags in search of a better life and came to Singapore, the new land of opportunities. Little did he expect that the Japanese Occupation of Singapore in World War II would bring severe hardship but Beng Chew was determined to provide for his wife and children.
For years, Beng Chew worked long hours doing odd jobs to save money to rent a stall in a small coffeeshop at 8 Upper Cross Street and started Singapore’s 1st Soy Sauce Chicken stall. He had spent years trying to perfect his recipe and was finally happy with the result. Beng Chew named his stall “CHEW KEE” using the last word in his name.
Business was brisk and he soon garnered popularity for his soy sauce chicken noodle amongst a pool of loyal regular customers. People from all walks of life including workers, housewives, and bosses supported the business. His wife and four children took turns to help out at the stall.
Over the next few years, seeing how good his business was, competitors started selling their variation of soy sauce chicken with one of them in the same coffeeshop. But Beng Chew stood out amidst competition by staying true to his beliefs – preparing food with a sincere heart, quality over quantity and making his food affordable for the community. Taking customers’ feedback into consideration, he also started selling soy sauce chicken rice and hor fun (rice noodle).
After toiling for more than 25 years, Beng Chew decided to retire at the age of 63. He handed the family business and the recipe to the 2nd generation. His daughter, Madam Yu Lye Kuan, who has helped out at the stall at the tender age of 7, took over the daily operations with the help of her siblings and at the same time, took over the whole coffeeshop after it was renovated.
80 年代。 辛苦了超过二十五年后，炳钊决定在六十三岁时退休，将家族生意和秘方交给了第二代。他的女儿余丽琴女士从七岁时就在档口帮忙。在兄弟姐妹的帮助下，接管了日常营运。也在这同时，当南园咖啡店在经过一番整修后，钊记油鸡也接管了整个咖啡店。
Due to structural issues, the coffeeshop had to undergo major reconstruction and moved temporary to No. 34 Upper Cross Street.
Construction at No. 8 Upper Cross Street was finally completed and the business moved back to its original location.
During the bird flu scares in 1997 and 2003, when the business had to import poultry from Brazil, resulting in higher cost and the business sustained losses, the family managed to keep the business afloat.
3rd generation Thomas Ho, son of Madam Yu Lye Kuan, took over the business at the age of 24. He had big shoes to fill and was determined to carry on the family’s heritage. Working long hours every day, he mastered the recipe and learned the skills of the trade. He holds high standards for the food he dishes out every day and personally makes sure that the flavour of the sauce is authentic and consistent to the one served by his grandfather. Attention was given to small details such as giving the chickens sent by their supplier a second wash, so that their sauce stays clean and smooth.
Despite the pressure from neighbouring competition or suggestions to expand the menu, Thomas stayed true to his family’s values and only wants to focus on soy sauce chicken.
Today, among the daily throng of office crowd and tourists, many are Chew Kee’s loyal old-timers who have been eating their soy sauce chicken for decades. The business still operates from its original location, No. 8 Upper Cross Street, which is one of the oldest streets in Singapore.
Spanning across more than 70 years and 3 generations, Chew Kee has withstand the test of time and remained true to its roots.
如今，在每日办公的人群和游客中，许多人都是钊记油鸡几十年以来的忠实顾客。钊记油鸡屹立不倒，仍然位于原址 – 新加坡最古老的街道之一，八号克罗士街上段。