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'If it's not good, I'll still scold': Million Star Fried Banana owner sells business for 6-figure sum

'If it's not good, I'll still scold': Million Star Fried Banana owner sells business for 6-figure sum
The new owner of Million Star Fried Banana, Chen Shuqing (left), alongside the former owner Li Ruiying (right).
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

Don't be surprised if you find a new face, and boss, behind the counter at Million Star Fried Banana.

The popular fried fritters stall at Changi Village hawker centre had been managed by 79-year-old Li Ruiying (transliteration) since last year, after the passing of both her husband and their son.

Ruiying had helped her husband Chan Fook Kee run the stall till 2019, when they handed it over to their son James. But the latter unexpectedly died in his sleep in February 2022 at the age of 49.

The elderly couple then took after managing the business once again until Fook Kee's passing in July 2023.

According to Shin Min Daily News, Ruiying continued to keep the business running, albeit "intermittently", as she did not wish for her husband's efforts to go to waste.

Ruiying also had hopes of securing a buyer for the business.

And she appears to have found one, in the form of 61-year-old Chen Shuqing (transliteration), Shin Min reported.

Shuqing is apparently no stranger to the food and beverage business, having managed several stalls selling nasi lemak, fishball noodles, economic beehoon and desserts in the past 10 years.

She'd also previously helmed a fried banana fritters stall which closed after several months because of poor management, she said.

Shuqing told Shin Min that she'd gotten acquainted with Ruiying a few months ago and she'd felt sorry to see the latter managing the stall alone at her advanced age.

"Auntie is already very old and can't walk properly. With all the stock to manage I was afraid that she can't handle it physically, you know?" said Shuqing, expressing her hope for Ruiying to retire and enjoy her remaining years.

According to Shuqing, she'd bought over the business for a six-figure sum, and officially took over on July 1.

Following the change in ownership, sales on the stall's first day of opening on July 6 were encouraging, said Shuqing, with the day's takings totalling more than $1,000.

Shuqing also expressed confidence that the stall's name and reputation will see the business through.

"I believe as long as the flavour is there, the customers will come."

Speaking to Shin Min, Ruiying reportedly choked up at one point when talking about the stall and their years of hard work being passed on to someone else. 

While still somewhat reluctant to let go, she described being comforted by the fact that the business has found a successor.

For now, Ruiying will continue to teach Shuqing the ropes at the stall and is in charge of quality control.

"If it's not good, I will still scold. When she has mastered everything then I'll let her do it all by herself. After that, I'll go for my holiday," said Ruiying, who has plans to visit her daughter overseas.

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