Nestled among food stalls, souvenir stands and other small restaurants, there is a hidden gem glistening in the heart of Singapore's Chinatown. A small Chinese restaurant with an unassuming storefront reveals nothing about the specialness of this place. But what really makes it come alive is Dr. Hee King Jim, owner and manager of Bei Fang Feng Wei Pte Ltd.
Jim, an older man with a smile larger than his face and large glasses that make his gentle eyes look even larger, welcomes me as I wander into his restaurant for the third time in two weeks. I’d left the country and returned for one night, and made a beeline to this treasure chest of delectable Chinese food. This time around, I’d brought Mica, a firefighter from Finland I'd met at my hostel. We ordered a Tiger beer to split and some spring rolls to start. Jim brings us the beer and with a flourish, pours our glasses for us. "You came back!" he said.
"Of course!" I returned. “I was dreaming about your food while I was in Indonesia,” I admitted. And about the incredibly friendly service. Mica and I smiled as Jim scurried around, showing us a photograph of him on a Singapore talk show, pointed out landmarks on the map on the wall, and told us about how he went to school to be an engineer.
"But now I like this," he says, gesturing around him. And I’m very glad! I tell him.
I ordered the Chicken in Thai Style (again). Jim laid it on the table with a grin, and brought us some hot chili sauce on the side. The bits of tender chicken were coated with a crisp, light batter and fried with little red hot chili peppers, then covered in a gooey sweet and spicy sauce. Mica declared that his Hot and Sour soup was the best he’d ever had. I could smell the spice wafting up with the steam as it rose for the ceiling.
After the meal is over, I am sad to leave. I wouldn’t be coming back to Singapore for a very long time, but I know that when I do, the first thing I’m doing is visiting my friend Jim, and filling my belly with delicious and memorable food. And I take comfort in that fact.
Bei Fang Feng Wei Pte Ltd
18 Smith Street Singapore 058932
Tel: 6324 2933