Ming Kee – from corner store to toko, takeaway and bubble tea!

Ming Kee, started as a toko, now also has Indonesian takeaway and its very own bubble-tea corner in the Markthof. We talk to Kary about Ming Kee’s history.


Her father came to the Netherlands from Hong Kong when he was eighteen. He always says, “I got here with $100, and I’ve always worked hard to build my store.”


That is absolutely true. Ming Kee now fills almost half of the Markthof. Many of you will know what the Markthof is, but just in case you don’t: the Markthof is a small shopping center in Chinatown The Hague. There are two entrances, one on Bezemstraat (near Rabbijn Maarsenplein) and one on Gedempte Gracht.


Ming Kee started out as a very small toko, really only in a small corner of the Markthof. Business was going well, as Ming Kee sold authentic spices. Soon, customers were asking for more. Ming Kee expanded, and slowly but surely it got bigger and bigger. Now it is a full toko, with its own takeaway. The shop sells a lot of authentic products. Ming Kee is a well-known name for people who are looking for the real spices from Indonesia!


Remaining opened during lockdowns


Because Ming Kee is a toko, and therefore falls into the category of supermarkets, they were fortunate to be allowed to remain open during the lockdowns in the past two years. Kary says: “It was really quiet on the street. Very strange. Fortunately, we were allowed to stay completely open. We were only one of very few who were able to do this. Besides us,, Pazze e Pizze, Simonis fish shop and LA American Pizza were also open, but that was it. The combination of takeaway and supermarket turned out to be good: because there was relatively little to do outside, getting some tasty takeaway at Ming Kee quickly became an outing in addition to shopping in the toko.”


Ming Kee takeaway


What can you buy at Ming Kee takeaway? All different Indonesian menus. Think of pempek, ayam kalasan, siomay bandung and much more. There are also soups, fresh drinks (iced tea manis, es jeruk nipis, jeruk nipis panas, coffee tubruk, and so on) and quick snacks! Everything is ready for you, you just have to order it! Ming Kee also finds it important to offer everything for a good price. “Indonesian food is not that expensive in itself, and we like to keep all our menus under 10 euros (with the exception of one fish dish, because you really get a whole fish). Of course that also attracts people. It also keeps takeout fun, because it’s much easier to get a menu of about 7 euros instead of cooking. If a menu costs € 16, that’s a whole different story.”


New plans: Ming Kee x Muí Tea


Recently Ming Kee also has opened a corner where you can order bubble tea. “At first we didn’t want to sell bubble tea, because you can get it so much around here! We sold Indonesian drinks, and then put tapioca in them. We sold that in bubble tea cups, because it’s easy to take with you. Nevertheless, we eventually started selling bubble tea, because we followed a workshop and then found out that making and selling bubble tea is not that difficult at all.”


The corner of Muí Tea is hard to miss, because it has its own look. You can order the classics (green jasmine bubble tea, taro milk tea), but they also have delicious fruit drinks (the sparkling grapefruit is highly recommended!). Do you want to combine your own flavors? That too is possible! For € 3.50 you can design your own bubble tea!


And another fun fact: muí means ‘sister’(妹), Kary’s nickname. Muí Tea is in fact Kary’s project, so the name refers to her!


This article is part of ‘Chinatown Chats’ – stories of people who have a connection to Chinatown The Hague. Do you have a story to share? Let us know via the contact form on our website or send us a DM on Facebook or Instagram!