British Columbia·Still Standing

BKH Jerky is a favourite Vancouver stop for lovers of Singapore-style jerky

For more than 30 years, BKH Jerky has been making fresh Singapore-style pork and beef jerky. Now the three Lim brothers have taken over the business from their father and they’ve got big plans.

Family business taken over by three brothers is set to expand

Jenny Lim and Rowena Liew barbecue jerky at BKH Jerky in Vancouver on Fraser Street. (Jennifer Chen)

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.

Locally sourced pork is sliced, marinated, cooked and then grilled to make fresh Singapore-style jerky. (Jennifer Chen)

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."  

The three Lim brothers took over the BKH Jerky business on Vancouver's Fraser Street from their father, who died earlier this year. Raymond (left), Dennis (middle) and Scott (right) (Jennifer Chen)

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."

For more than 30 years, BKH Jerky has been making fresh Singapore-style pork and beef jerky. Now the three Lim brothers have taken over the business from their father and they've got big plans. 7:07

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.

If you have a suggestion for a store or business in the Lower Mainland that's been around for awhile and provides a specialized service, or has an unusual survival story, please email earlyed@cbc.ca

About the Author

Jennifer Chen worked as a radio producer at CBC Vancouver for 14 years. She is relocating to Ottawa and recovering from her road trip.

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