Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Everyone agrees that burnt food is a disaster. The taste in the food suddenly disappears and is replaced by a dominant bitter taste. However, this agreement does not apply to Lee Kam Sheung. Burnt food actually brings blessings because it can make him so rich that he has IDR 300 T.
What’s the story?
The story begins in 1888. Lee Kam Sheung was the owner of a tea shop in Nanshui, Guangdong Province, China. He not only sells tea, but also oyster soup which consumers really like. For this reason, the shop is always packed with visitors and often makes Lee confused. Understandably, he is multitasking. All the work, from cooking, serving and delivering orders, was done alone.
Until finally one day in 1888, this confusion made Lee suffer. At that time he was boiling oysters. However, due to customers continuing to arrive, he left the kitchen to serve them.
One by one the guests were served seriously until Lee forgot about his work in the kitchen. Meanwhile, at the same time, the boiled oysters continued to emit foam, indicating that they were ready and asked to be removed. However, that still couldn’t distract Lee.
Until finally, after a few minutes, there was a strong aroma coming from the kitchen throughout the shop, accompanied by smoke rising high. People were confused. At this point, Lee was immediately shocked and remembered something.
“Wow! I’m boiling oysters in the kitchen,” said Lee.
He rushed to the kitchen, turned off the fire and lifted the lid on the pot. How shocked Lee was when he saw that his oyster stew had changed shape. The water has reduced drastically and turned dark brown. The oysters are burnt! Cannot be served to consumers.
Even so, Lee didn’t immediately throw it away. He poked at the thick brown liquid and was immediately shocked. Unexpectedly it tastes very delicious.
“That’s when the world’s first oyster sauce was born,” he wrote South China Morning Post (SCMP).
From that incident, Lee started experiments. He boiled the oysters again, this time adding spices and seasonings, and let the water drain a little.
As expected, when it’s ready it tastes even more delicious. Lee also stored the thick liquid in the form of sauce. Sometimes he uses sauce to mix recipes.
Unexpectedly, thanks to this sauce there were more and more visitors to the shop. In fact, they just want to buy the sauce. From here, the business idea emerged. He also formed his own oyster sauce company called Lee Kum Kee in 1888.
After being marketed, Asian tongues and dishes turned out to be very suitable when combined with oyster sauce. As a result, because the only oyster sauce industry, Lee Kum Kee sold well at the end of the 19th century.
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The company has also moved several times. From China, to Macau, and settling in Hong Kong until now. After Lee Kam Sheung died in 1932, Lee Kum Kee’s business was continued by his son.
Until now, the business has been run by the fifth generation. Throughout that period there have been many changes in Lee Kum Kee’s business line. Even so, the passage of time has not changed the deliciousness of Lee Kum Kee.
“Lee Kum Kee uses strict supervision regarding taste and business continuity. In order to survive, the company always applies the teachings of Chinese philosophy and Confucianism. This is the key to Lee Kum Kee’s success in surviving for more than a century,” wrote Fu-Lai Tony Yu and Diana S. Kwas in “The Business Success of Lee Kum Kee” (Global Business Review, 2015).
On the company’s official website, Lee Kum Kee is now available in 100 countries around the world. Then the business is not just oyster sauce, but has reached 200 various products.
And everything is an inspiration for other companies to make similar things. However, Lee Kum Kee brand oyster sauce still cannot be compared.
Now, the Lee family is listed by Forbes (2023) as the 4th richest people in Hong Kong and among the richest people in Asia. His total assets reach US$ 19.3 billion or almost Rp. 300 trillion. All of this is obtained from accidentally letting food burn.
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