Around 1920s, Hainanese Lee Seng Shen travelled across the sea to Kuching. He first help in a shop operated by one of the folks from his village. After being familiar with the environment, he started to sell curry rice. It was believed that Lee cooked two huge pots of curry rice each day and peddled around the streets. During his spare time, he earned some extra income by doing therapeutic massage (推拿Tui Na, Bone setting). After a few years, Lee ended his hawker business and started grocery and coffee shop businesses. He established Ann Lee Restaurant at Carpenter Street in the 1930s.

Ann Lee Restaurant was the first high end restaurant with air condition in Kuching. Their signature dishes, “Qi Pan Duck”, chicken hams and roasted pork were very famous. During those time, Old Bazaar folks frequently used “Jiak An Lee” to refer to ‘having a big meal’.

By end of 1980s, the descendants of Lee renamed the restaurant as “Kheng Lee” which specializes in curry rice, returning to their original trade.




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