BKH Jerky is a favourite Vancouver stop for lovers of Singapore-style jerky
Family business taken over by three brothers is set to expand
BKH Jerky stands for Bee Kim Heng, which means "beautiful golden smell."
People walking by can smell the aroma coming from two or three blocks away, said owner Scott Lim. And customers can see the Singapore-style pork and beef jerky on a grill when they walk in the shop.
What's the secret to a great product — and what makes it different from any other jerky?
Fresh, lean and local
"We use sliced meats, and the difference between ours and the other stuff is that most jerkies use ground meat," Lim said.
"Ours is a fresh, lean meat."
It's also made from about 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day using local ingredients and the shop sells out on a regular basis.
The hours are long, but it has given the family a chance to spend time together since it was founded more than 30 years ago by Scott Lim's father, William Lim.
William went to Singapore to learn how to make jerky and brought it back to Vancouver, where he opened up his shop in Chinatown.
A family business from the beginning
It was a family affair then with William's brothers and sisters involved in the business.
William died from cancer at the beginning of this year and his three sons have taken over.
Scott's brothers, Dennis and Raymond Lim, are involved in the production process.
"There was a lot of hardship too, you know, like my dad getting sick and stuff like that," Raymond Lim said.
"Business was a little up and down because we didn't know what was going on. Now that we've taken over, we know exactly how hard it is to run the business."
William's wife, Jenny, is still working the grill, and one of the cousins, Rowena Liew, works alongside her.
"My children, they are very good helpers. And my niece, too," said Jenny Lim. "I'm really proud of my three sons."
Taking the next steps
The shop has moved four times and the Lim brothers are now looking for a bigger space.
"I think that our dad wants us to make it into a bigger company," Lim said.
"It's actually pushed us a little bit and [made] us, the brothers, a little bit closer.
"I think in the next year or two, you'll see a lot more BKH Jerky."
Still Standing is a series about the small businesses in the Lower Mainland that have managed to stay open despite the challenges. Listen every second Tuesday on CBC Radio The Early Edition.
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