“The family business is in good hands”

This post is also available in: Malay

BIM inside pages16

Peter Lee, second-generation owner

Koon Kee Wantan Noodles, Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur 2012

Before 1945, Peter’s father had already been selling porridge and other noodles in the Petaling Street area. In 1945, he started a shop selling wantan mee and never looked back. Today, Koon Kee is the byword for wantan mee in Chinatown and even though the shop is hidden behind a wall of petty traders, business continues to be very brisk.

Peter is a very friendly person, always happy to pose and talk about his legacy. His children are not involved in the business but he has trained someone to run the store when he is away. It’s not always about passing on the business to one’s own son or daughter. In Peter’s case, his right-hand man is a nephew whom he is obviously very proud of.

Like his neighbours, Peter has witnessed the dramatic transformation of Kuala Lumpur’s renowned Chinatown with the influx of foreign workers from countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, India and Myanmar, who mingle with tourists from all nations. However, he is sanguine about these changes saying that Petaling Street has always been a place where the immigrants congregated, just as his own father did when he arrived from China to make a new life.

Peter Lee and his nephew

Peter Lee and his nephew

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