Soy Sauce Chicken Specialist Lee Fun Nam Kee To Shut Toa Payoh Eatery After 55 Years - 8days Skip to main content



Soy Sauce Chicken Specialist Lee Fun Nam Kee To Shut Toa Payoh Eatery After 55 Years

“Biz has dropped more than 35 percent,” says boss David Lee. He plans to open a humbler hawker stall or kiosk with the help of daughter, MasterChef Singapore runner-up Gen Lee.


Heritage F&B brand Lee Fun Nam Kee (LFNK), famous for its juicy, silky soy sauce chicken, will be shutting its doors in Toa Payoh after 55 years. 

Run by second-generation owner David Lee, 57, the family-style eatery is an institution in Toa Payoh. It was started as a hawker stall by his father in 1967 before moving to its current premises below a block of HDB flats a year later.

David’s daughter Genevieve Lee, runner-up of MasterChef Singapore’s first season, announced the store’s closure on her Instagram account yesterday (Aug 21), writing: “Bye bye, Lee Fun Nam Kee. It's never easy to witness the close of an era. After careful consideration, numerous family discussions, and evaluating various factors, we've come to acknowledge that it's time to bid farewell to this chapter.”

She adds: “My dad's unwavering commitment to this restaurant for over 40 years has been truly remarkable. As his daughter, I couldn't be prouder of being raised amidst bowls of delicious chicken rice. The way he raised our family through this business holds immeasurable pride. While I firmly believe that the essence of his legacy will continue to live on in the hearts of all who enjoyed our food.”

Besides its signature chicken, LFNK also offers a small selection of other dishes like char siew, homemade ngoh hiang and double-boiled soups. 

The eatery’s last day of operation is on Sep 13.

Owner has been mulling closure for years

David tells that the decision was a very difficult one and something he has been mulling about for the past five years.

Like many F&B businesses, LFNK faces manpower shortages, which has taken a toll on him and his family members who help run the biz. “We can’t employ foreign workers and locals don’t want to work for us. My staff are also getting old and want to retire, so I have to always be ready to do the cooking. I’m really very tired. I’ve been running the business for 35 years,” he laments.

“The F&B landscape is very different now. There’s so much variety and choices for consumers now, it’s a blessing that we’ve been able to survive [this long]. Business has dropped more than 35 percent from a decade ago, which is a lot. I thought we would have shut 10 years ago.”

Plans to return with new, modern concept

However, it’s not goodbye for good.

David reveals there are plans to return with an “express concept” focusing on modern rice bowls.

“Nothing is concrete yet. We could open a kiosk or a hawker stall, where customers can just grab our food and go. I don't rule out opening in the CBD or town area,” he shares.

Besides its signature soy sauce chicken, they will also offer “different flavours of chicken rice”.

“We will begin R&D for the new menu after taking a break and Gen is part of the team. We hope to launch [the new concept] in three to four months’ time,” says David.

Lee Fun Nam Kee will operate until Sept 13, 2023, at 94 Lor 4 Toa Payoh, #01-04, S310094. Tel: 6255 0891. Open daily 11am-3pm; 5pm-9pm. LFNK will be closed on Sept 1. More info via Facebook & Instagram

Photos: Genevieve Lee/Instagram, Lee Fun Nam Kee/Facebook, Jillyeatssg/Facebook



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