Swee Kee chicken rice war: Half-siblings fall out over business, sister opens own stall in Chinatown

Swee Kee chicken rice war: Half-siblings fall out over business, sister opens own stall in Chinatown

After making headlines in April of this year for opening ( and closing ) a Hainanese chicken rice shop that employs staff with disabilities, the siblings who founded the business are now at odds with one another over how to run it.

Joseph Tan, 58, and Jass Lee, 49, set up Traditional Rui Ji Chicken Rice up in 2023. The half-siblings, Joseph describes as” Chinese for relatives who have the same family but different fathers,” are allegedly descended from the Moh family, the originator of Swee Kee Chicken Rice.

” ]Swee Kee’s founder Moh Lee Twee ] was my granduncle”, said Jass.

Swee Kee, who was widely regarded as Singapore’s top meat grain specialist, stopped working in 1997. However, brand offshoots like Sing Swee Kee and Rui Ji ( which are said to have been opened by various Mohs relatives ) can still be found.


However, two weeks ago, Jass introduced her own stalls barn, Moh Swee Kee, at Women’s Park Food Centre. After disagreeing with Joseph about how to run their business, she ended up detached herself from Rui Ji. ” I left when we had troubles working up”, Jass told 8days.

After losing her left foot in a traffic crash in Malaysia that also claimed her husband’s life, she underwent a wheelchair-bound amputee treatment in 2010. ” I started going to Singapore for businesses, and I rested until 2019,” Jass said.

Jass helped out at the restaurant’s operations when she and Joseph opened their initial Rui Ji Chicken Rice restaurant in Toa Payoh. The restaurant also serves chicken curry pasta cooked in the Hainanese fashion.

Despite her impairment, Jass was also trim chickens and assist customers using a desk that was particularly calibrated to her wheelchair’s height. ” I do n’t have a share]in the business]. I merely drew a salary of S$ 50 a day”, she told us.

The sisters sold just about 20 chickens a day during the original opening period, according to Jass, and the business operated slowly. However, after being featured in media interviews, their sales increased to about 60 animals per day.

Jass claims that her brother hired more people to relieve her stress and give her a break as a result of her heavier workload. He even added two more Rui Ji locations, one at Beach Road and the other at Ubi, despite the latter’s closure due to declining sales.


Jass claimed that Joseph had already modified their Swee Kee-linked recipes and changed the Hainanese list to include cooked meats and laksa.

She was upset about Joseph’s decision to stick to their standard dishes, which she found troubling. Jass added:” Last time, Swee Kee did n’t just have chicken rice. It even sold Hainanese meat trim, ngoh hiang and fish mind boat. Since he changed the dishes, I decided to leave”.

She planned to start a new hawker stall when Jass ‘ son expressed interest in learning how to run a chicken rice business. ” Joseph said,’ Do n’t want lah, he can come to my shop to learn ‘”, recalled Jass, who insisted to her brother that she preferred to go her own way.