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Old Chang Kee: Lessons from Mr. Han.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Added on 12 April 2017:

I enjoyed an article on Old Chang Kee today in The Business Times.

Mr. Han Keen Juan acquired Old Chang Kee in 1986. He tried blending cultures and introduced croissants but these did not take off. 

Apparently, it was the norm to hold a curry puff and eat it on the go but people preferred to eat French pastry sitting down! It also created some customer confusion as to what Old Chang Kee represented.

To me, Old Chang Kee is the King of Asian finger food in Singapore. Their menu has expanded to include, for example, XL size fishballs which they call "footballs" and you have to trust me when I say they are delicious especially with the special chilli sauce made just for them!

Some of my other favourites are spring roll, yam cake, carrot cake and fried chicken wings (Sedap!). For sure, I cannot go without at least one of their signature curry puffs every once in a while.

The success that is Old Chang Kee today is very much about keeping to a theme that is familiar to Singaporeans. It is about sticking to a formula which has worked well for years.

Similarly, it could be a good idea for us to stick to what we know best when we are investing in the stock market. 

If we were to expand our investment portfolio, it could make sense to look at industries we are familiar with or industries which are related to what we are familiar with. 

If a strategy works well for us and is reliably replicable, why not stick to it?

Mr. Han also ventured into the dining arena by starting a small kiosk that sold authentic Hainanese dishes. It became a hit! He quickly opened another outlet without first ensuring that the kitchens could maintain the quality of the food. Diners were disappointed and the business folded within four months.

Old Chang Kee's mobile kitchen!

This holds a precious lesson for investors at large too. Don't be too hasty to take the plunge. Make sure we have a strong foundation and the necessary resources before we try growing our investments.

If our portfolio size is beyond what is the optimum (and this is probably a subjective notion), we could be increasing the probability of something nasty happening along the way. Shudder at the thought.

Related post:
Old Chang Kee: Almost 70c a share.


Don_Jerome said...


another quality article.

good to have you back AK!

AK71 said...

Hi Jeremy,

I hope you like it as much as OCK curry puffs et al! Couldn't resist doing a bit of advertising for my company. ;p

Don_Jerome said...

Haha. Yes I actually do. I think their curry puffs r quite unique in Sg. I don't think I've really tried the rest you mentioned thou. Will try to support AK's OCK annual dividend fund. ;)

Too bad I missed this boat. :(

AK71 said...

Hi Jeremy,

Well, we never know when the boat might turn around and come back for us. There is no accounting for Mr. Market's behaviour. :)

Solace said...

Hi AK,

Thanks for the article.

I drop you a email just moments ago. Dropping by to say hi and gd to see you back!

AK71 said...

Hi Solace,

Yup. I saw it and replied already. So happens I was replying to emails when yours came in. :D

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

So that's where some of my money went ;)

Each time I buy a OCK curry puff, some mirco cents will end up in AK's pocket!

Hmm... Which listed company got sell oats? Then next time AK have his oat meal, I will kaching!

AK71 said...


Actually, I am also a shareholder of QAF but I have not blogged about this one before.

Gardenia, Bonjour, Cowhead, Farmland etc.

You buy anything from these brands? ;p

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

Lucky I buy cheap non-branded bread!

You can't touch my money here ;)

Wow! Wait you become like Li KaShing.

You tentacles may already be in telecoms, transport, utilities, property, supermarkets, etc.

Ah!!!!! Your're like Big Brother!

P.S. This Teochew HK guy power right? He is like a one man Temasek. In one generation somemore!

Solace said...

Hi AK,

Believe you recommend a book "Technical Analysis Plain and Simple" in your blog post before.

Just nice, in better world books, i saw it currently selling at $10.48. Hard Copy. A copy left.

Maybe it will be gone after you posted this reply, when a alert readers of yours spot it. haha.

AK71 said...


Li Ka Shing? Aiyoh, in my dreams. LOL.

Strangely, however, you are right. I do have some investments in telecoms, transport, utilities, property and supermarkets (I am a shareholder of NTUC Fairprice). Wah! You are a seer! ;p

What you have, I don't know. You are still water running deep. I must remember. -.-"

AK71 said...

Hi Solace,

That is a very good book for TA! I paid more than $40 for it, iirc. Well, fastest fingers first. ;)

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

Ha ha! I guessed right after all :)

OK, besides clowning around, let me do a public service announcement for your less experienced readers:

"This holds a precious lesson for investors at large too. Don't be too hasty to take the plunge. Make sure we have a strong foundation and the necessary resources before we try growing our investments.

If our portfolio size is beyond what is the optimum (and this is probably a subjective notion), we could be increasing the probability of something nasty happening along the way. Shudder at the thought."

Now link it to the the sectors that AK have (with exception of property, the rest are defensive), plus his allocation of max 10% share to S-chips.

AK didn't write this post to talk about curry puffs ;)

Portfolio management? Risk management?

(AK cares; but can someone explain to him what is face palm?)

Cory said...

This post is classic. Exactly my concern today. Cash still rot in banks. I still have 3 months to increase my investment but this is a double reminder.

Keep it up !

AK71 said...


I forgot to say I am also invested in the insurance sector. Specifically, NTUC Income. Is that a defensive?

You are right to say I have investments in "defensives" with the exception of the property sector (which is cyclical). However, my biggest exposure is to the property sector (through my investments in REITs). Cham liao. :(

I talk talk only lor. ;p

AK71 said...

Hi Cory,

Why the 3 months deadline?

Also, I am curious how did you link OCK curry puffs with cash rotting in the bank. Not a very savoury link up. Curry puffs... rotting... urgh... ;p

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


Just helping out. Call me kaypoh lor!

Just showing you are not "all-in" REITs (or S-chips) - to use a poker terminology.

There are other counter-balance weights for hedging ;)

By the way, the young may not always be right:

This is face-palm:

Save money until like that... Face palm.


AK71 said...


"The act of dropping one's face / forehead into one's hand."

LOL. You are one up on the young uns on this. You good!

Hey, you were laughing at me and I still say you good? Wah! That makes you lagi good!

So, you visit your dentist once every 6 months har?

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


Ah ber then?

I well train by my Hua Yi primary school dental nurse.

We have a dental clinic in our school and we always fear when a fellow student knocks on our classroom with the big dental card... Could it be me? Argh!!!

I don't think schools now have dental clinics. Interesting times the 70s ;)

To make you feel better, I go to dentist regularly because I have to: I love sweet stuffs and coffee.

Small holes easier to fill; and must go for regular cleaning of coffee stains :(

AK71 said...


Oh, yes. I remember the dental nurses. Quite scary. Actually, we were fortunate that our government took such good care of us when we were kids. :)

I love chocolates and ice cream but I try to moderate my intake these days. Sigh. Metabolic rate going downhill means tummy balloons more easily. :(

I also eat less nuts and hard food which require crunching. Oatmeal, porridge and softer options are preferred. Teeth not as strong now.

AhJohn said...

Hi AK, I am confused. Is NTUC fairprice a listed company?

AK71 said...

Hi Ah John,

Nope. NTUC Fairprice is a co-operative. So is NTUC Income. We can be shareholders of these co-operatives and be entitled to dividends too. :)

AhJohn said...

Hi AK, sorry, still need your enlightenment. How to have shares for those co-operatives? How to check its financial data and dividend history? Just can't get it after search,

AK71 said...

Hi Ah John,

I believe the memberships are closed already.

NTUC Fairprice: When I buy grocery, I get 4% rebate and I also get a share of the yearly profits. All in, I think I get about $100 a year. No big deal.

NTUC Income: The dividend yield is something like 6 to 8% per annum, if I remember right. I receive a few hundred dollars a year. Not a lot too.

Not publicly traded. So, I am not surprised that information is hard to come by online.

AhJohn said...

Hi AK, I received $49.13 dividend from NTUC, I have no idea why I am entitled to this, maybe I am NTUC member now. Anyway, good to have money in.

AK71 said...

Hi Ah John,

You are a shareholder of NTUC Fairprice and you didn't know? LOL. Congratulations. :)

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