Not letting dad's skills go to waste

Not letting dad's skills go to waste

Her parents were against it.

But Joanne Ng and Daniel Lee, both 31, wanted to be part of Ms Ng's family business.

Her father has been selling fishball noodles for more than 10 years and owns the Ru Ji Kitchen stall in Holland Drive.

The couple now run a second branch at Old Airport Road. The family has also opened a third branch in Redhill in May.

She says: "There's a lot of potential in this business. Many people still love hawker food.

"It would have been a shame to let my father's skills go to waste. He does everything by hand - the fishballs, fishcake, even the chilli and lard."

Both have degrees in biomedical science from the University of Bradford in Britain through a private university, where they studied together.

After graduating, they worked in biomedical sales, and then as tutors. They also started a business selling clothes.

Sadly, these ventures didn't work out or could not be expanded further.

That's why they decided to join the family business.

Two years ago, they started helping out at her father's stall.

In those days, they felt embarrassed whenever their friends came by.

Says Ms Ng: "We were sweaty and grubby. It felt so unglamorous."

But they soon got over it.

In May last year, they invested $10,000 of their savings to start the second branch.

They recouped the amount in two months.

Says Ms Ng: "We were lucky. Many people like my father's recipe and are happy there is an outlet in the eastern side of Singapore."

These days, business is brisk. Queues are long and their homemade fishballs and fishcake sometimes sell out before noon.

In the last few months, they've also hired three workers to help them.

"Because the response is encouraging, we hope to expand even more in the future."

On average, they work about 10 hours a day.

Says Mr Lee: "We go out less on weekends because that's when there's most business.

"But it's worth it when you see the customers' satisfied faces."

What: Ru Ji Kitchen
Where: 51 Old Airport Road, #01-37, Old Airport Road Food Centre
Hours: 7.30am to 1.30pm, or till it sells out. Closed on Mondays
How much: From $3 a serving
Is it good? Very cheap, light and tasty. The fishballs are smooth and bouncy, and the noodles are firm and springy. A true delight.

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