Sisters Preserve Mother’s Seafood Legacy That Hosted Celebrities like Simon Yam
Are you an aficionado of crab bee hoon or seafood delicacies? If you are, the name Kelly Jie Seafood, or perhaps its earlier moniker Mellben Seafood, might resonate with you.
Originating in 1988, this culinary gem began its journey as a modest stall on Alexander Road.
Through the years, it blossomed into a renowned establishment, celebrated for its consistently delightful seafood offerings.
Among the award-winning talents in the kitchen is Chef Chin Chi Vun.
He notably steered a quartet from the Singapore Society of Chinese Cuisine Chefs to a runner-up position at the Lee Kum Kee Cup 2017 World Championship of Cookery.
Their acclaimed claypot crab vermicelli soup, a centerpiece of their menu, often necessitates a patient wait of around 45 minutes.
This eatery’s allure hasn’t just been confined to local food enthusiasts. Luminaries like Singaporean songstress Stefanie Sun, Hong Kong’s celebrated actor Simon Yam, and the famed Taiwanese actor-model Ethan Juan have all savored its offerings.
The restaurant has even received a three-star review from Food King:
A Kelly Jie Seafood Without Its “Kelly Jie”
Kelly Soon, affectionately known as “Kelly Jie”, has been the driving force behind this restaurant. Under her stewardship, Kelly Jie Seafood has flourished.
However, last year marked Kelly’s yearning for a well-deserved retirement. This left her grappling with a difficult decision: to hand over her life’s work to new proprietors or to shutter it.
Selling meant more than a mere transfer of assets. For Kelly, it signified parting with her life’s passion and a dining institution cherished by many loyal patrons.
Her daughters, Rachel and Zara Lim, deeply understood this sentiment. Determined to safeguard their mother’s legacy, they embarked on an unconventional path.
From Corporate Ladders to Kitchen Stoves: The “Chiobu” Sisters’ Bold Leap
Rachel Lim, 31, and Zara Lim, 26, have taken a leap to shoulder the restaurant’s mantle.
Rachel, in an interview with Zaobao, expressed, “My mother was so tired that she wanted to give the restaurant away, which made me feel very sad. I didn’t want her years of hard work to go to waste. Fortunately, my sister, who is a property agent, agreed to join without saying a word.”
Rachel has resigned from her job as a banker. According to Zara who contacted Goody Feed, Rachel earns a six-figure annual income from her previous job.
Talk about taking a leap of faith.
In the meantime, Zara is a property agent, and is still one as of now.
Embracing the challenge to honor and amplify their mother’s legacy, the sisters displayed unwavering determination.
While the Lim sisters’ decision was met with admiration by many, the world of social media had varied responses.
A portion of the online community speculated a less romantic narrative. These individuals conjectured that the sisters might be putting a positive spin on what could have been an involuntary career change and thus saw the restaurant as a fallback.
You can’t please everyone, can you?
Infusing Fresh Vibes into Kelly Jie Seafood
With a unified vision, the Lim sisters set forth their revitalization plans for the restaurant, from installing modern amenities like air-conditioning to introducing novel culinary delights.
While one sister spearheaded the marketing endeavors, the other diligently supervised the daily operations.
During the interview with Zaobao, the sisters emphasized the smooth transition, attributing it to the existing top-tier food quality and a dedicated staff.
The duo also adeptly capitalized on digital trends, featuring their beloved mother in engaging TikTok skits and leveraging other social media platforms.
Their most popular TikTok video has already amassed a staggering 100,000 views.
In a particularly entertaining video, Kelly Soon humorously portrays a befuddled customer and then effortlessly switches roles to recount the restaurant’s rich history.
Kelly’s New Chapter
As for Kelly, her retirement days are filled with the joys she once yearned for.
While she occasionally graces the restaurant, she’s savoring her newfound freedom by diving into volunteer initiatives and immersing herself in church activities, truly embracing the golden years of her life.