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Patrons saddened as iconic Bedok dim sum shop to close after 42 years

Renowned dim sum spot, Bee Kee Hong Kong Thiam Sim, closing after 42 years in Bedok. Devoted patrons express sadness, reminiscing about cherished childhood memories and affordable, flavourful dim sum.



SINGAPORE: Bee Kee Hong Kong Thiam Sim, a renowned dim sum establishment with a 42-year legacy on Bedok Reservoir Road, is set to cease operations at the end of March.

Following the dissemination of the news online, an outpouring of sorrow came from devoted patrons.

Many shared poignant reflections, recalling how the dim sum served at this establishment had woven itself into their collective memories, spanning from childhood to adulthood, cherished for its affordability and delectable flavours.

Mr Pritam Singh, Leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC, also conveyed his sentiments of melancholy.

Specifically lamenting the impending closure, he fondly remembered the stall’s handcrafted Char Siew Baos which he described as “to die for.”

Health challenges

The proprietor, Ye Mingrong, a man in his sixties, cited physical limitations as the reason for the closure.

He had experienced hand pain two years ago, leading to a two-month hiatus. With no successors to take over, he decided to retire.

As reported by Chinese media Shin Min Daily News, Mr Ye mentioned that the exact closing date is yet to be determined.

“I plan to use up the ingredients before shutting down, but lately, we’ve been informing customers about our impending closure. Word has spread, and everyone is gradually becoming aware,” he said.

Mr Ye commenced his journey as an apprentice at a dim sum stall in Chinatown over 50 years ago. In the 1970s, he lent his assistance at his relatives’ dim sum shop, which later relocated to Block 632 Bedok Reservoir Road.

“This shop was originally run by my wife’s aunt. When they transitioned to other businesses, they rented the shop to me and three other employees,” explained Mr Ye.

“Two of them ceased working over ten years ago, and one passed away five years ago, so now it’s mainly me and my wife in charge.”

He and his wife would arrive at the shop at 4 a.m. daily, with other staff coming in at 6 a.m.

The operation continued until around 9 a.m., allowing others to manage the shop.

In the afternoon, Mr Ye’s 68-year-old sister-in-law, Ye Lan, would assist with selling the remaining dim sum until the evening.

Regarding the decision to close, Mr Ye mentioned his declining physical health over the past two years.

He experienced pain and occasional numbness in his hands and feet, making it challenging to continue making dim sum. Upon hearing this, his children suggested they retire and enjoy life.

Mr Ye and his wife have four children, all with their careers and no intention to take over the business. They plan to hand over the shop to relatives who sell vegetarian food.

“If someone is willing to learn, I wouldn’t mind teaching them,” Mr Ye added.

Minimal price adjustments over a decade

Over the years, the prices have reportedly only been raised twice, about ten years ago and last year, each time by just 10 cents.

“I don’t have many employees; only three elderly workers help with making dim sum, and one helps manage the shop, all part-time for a few hours. ”

“Since everyone is in their sixties or seventies, I don’t expect them to come every day, so labour costs are not high.”

The shop offers around 10 types of dim sum, including lotus seed buns and red bean buns priced at 80 cents, small meat buns and barbecue pork buns priced at 90 cents, and glutinous rice chicken selling for S$1.70, making them very affordable.

Customers are saddened by the closure, initially thinking it was a relocation rather than a shutdown.

The stall boasts an impressive rating on Google reviews, standing at 4.8 out of five stars, with customers consistently praising the quality and value of their dim sum offerings.

Some reviewers highlighted the rarity of finding such high-quality dim sum at such reasonable prices in today’s market.

One comment expressed, “Could hardly find fairly good dim sum with these pricing nowadays.”

Another patron remarked, “Best siewmai I’ve ever had in my life.”

WP Pritam Singh praises Mr Ye’s culinary legacy

In response to Bee Kee’s impending closure, Mr Pritam Singh, overseeing the constituency, lauded Mr Ye for offering exceptional traditional comfort food.

He shared, “I have known of his shop’s impending closure for a while now, but I have always secretly hoped this could be delayed indefinitely. ”

Expressing his personal sentiment, he added, “And I will miss the hand-made Char Siew Baos for sure, which were to die for!”

Despite the sadness surrounding the closure, Mr Singh expressed optimism for a potential silver lining, suggesting the possibility of a vegetarian outlet taking over the shop’s place.

He concluded his remarks by extending gratitude to Mr and Mrs Ye for the cherished memories they provided to the community.

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