Malaysian Dream come true for Mrs Wong & Kah Lin

October 15, 2019

It’s a Malaysian Dream come true for Mrs Gaik Wong and her daughter, Wong Kah Lin, founders of The Chicken Rice Shop (TCRS), Malaysia’s pioneer halal Hainanese chicken rice chain. Japan’s Zensho Holdings Co., Ltd paid RM220 million to the Wongs to buy up TCRS. The deal was done in June 2019. Though old news, we were asked to place it on our website for the benefit of those who didn’t know. Kentaro Ogawa, Group CEO of Zensho said that the acquisition was a directive from the board to take Zensho global. Zensho is the No.1 food service company in Japan by sales and ranks among the top 10 food service companies in the world. Find out more about Zensho at

Mrs Wong has certainly come a long way and has shown the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that is most inspiring. Nobody thought of a halal Hainanese chicken rice shop except her. And not anyone can manage so well 100 outlets of a chain if they did not possess the expertise that Mrs Wong had. She worked more than 2 decades at KFC Holdings from the time the KFC franchise was brought to Malaysia till she retired as Executive Director. Then she was a consultant to the Esquire Kitchen before she decided to venture out with her concept of a halal chicken rice shop for the Malay community in particular because all the Hainanese chicken rice shops at nearly every street corner sells chicken rice together with roast pork and char siew. She knew the Malay consumer market because of KFC and she had the important connections to the supply chain. Suppliers know Mrs Wong and that was a vital ingredient for her success. Her lovely daughter, Kah Lin, an accountant, worked with her and eventually became the CEO of TCRS.

Mrs Wong did not franchise her TCRS shops for better direct management though many people wanted to take on the franchise. She has proved to Malaysians that post-retirement success can be achieved. Never give up!

Just a bit more about Zensho. The group has a diverse network of restaurants (about 10,000 retail locations) serving gyudon, udon and hamburger steaks plus conveyor-belt sushi restaurants and coffee shops (Café Milano mostly at subway stations in Tokyo and Moriva Coffee). Brands include Sukiya, Nakau, Ichiban, Denmaru, Big Boy’s, Coco’s restaurant etc. Sukiya has 13 outlets operating in Malaysia (Mid-Valley Megamall, Sunway Velocity Mall, Uptown Damansara, IOI City mall Putrajaya, Aeon Bandaraya Melaka, IOI Mall Bandar Puchong Jaya etc. Zensho Foods Malaysia Sdn Bhd was established in 2012.