- Computer Science student Lee Ray Sheng’s fried bee hoon stall at Canteen 13 opened on Feb 24
- Raydy Bee Hoon operates Sunday to Friday, 9pm to 4am
- On-campus delivery is available
By Jessica Prince
Most NTU students are familiar with Ah Lian Bee Hoon near Pioneer MRT, the go-to supper option for many students here. But for those unwilling to travel out of school or order food delivery, 20-year-old Computer Science student Lee Ray Sheng has an alternative.
On Feb 24, he opened his own fried bee hoon stall at NTU’s Canteen 13. Catering to students who have late-night hunger pangs, the stall is now open for business from 10pm to 4am all week except Saturday. Its name, Raydy Bee Hoon, fuses Lee’s own name with the concept of his bee hoon being “readily” available.
Lee told Soapbox that his idea to open Raydy came after he noticed a lack of late-night food options on campus despite the high demand for supper food in NTU. During his first year of study in NTU, he and his neighbours from Hall 12 often travelled out of school to have supper.
He realised there was an opportunity to open his own bee hoon stall in NTU and started negotiations with the NTU Canteen 13 operator. During this time, he also surveyed the supper habits of students, noting down when they tend to buy food.
Three months into the negotiations, Lee started experimenting with different bee hoon recipes by cooking for his hallmates and the Hall 12 dance team. Over the next month, he gave out more than 200 free packets of bee hoon in Hall 12 in exchange for feedback.
“The four months of studying supper patterns helped us to identify the peak supper period, which is around 11pm to 2am,” said Lee. “9pm is also the time when all other canteens start closing.”
By the time Lee’s trials wrapped up, Canteen 13 approved Raydy for operation. Lee then began to set up his business with $10,000 that he earned from previous part-time jobs and internships, and Raydy opened on Feb 21.
The first day of business was overwhelming, said Lee. According to him, his stall received more than 400 orders on the night it opened. Long queues snaked around Canteen 13, and some buyers waited for up to 45 minutes.
By the first night, Lee’s team had depleted the ingredients that were meant for the entire week.
“We started with five students in the kitchen, but slowly, our hallmates who came down to try the bee hoon helped us in the kitchen after realising that we needed a lot more help. We ended up with 11 people in the kitchen like headless chickens,” said Lee. Raydy’s team now consists of 15 people.
Now a student who must double as the chief of this new business, Lee is no stranger to juggling work and studies — he worked his first part-time job at McDonald’s while he was still in secondary school.
He said that although managing his food stall while studying may be hard, he believes his time in university is his best chance to try his hand at running a business.
“We missed many lessons for sure, but we’re still coping. We take different shifts throughout the day,” he said.
One customer, first-year English student Ng Kai, said that having an on-campus supper option saved him the trouble of going out or ordering from other delivery services.
Ng, a resident of Hall 14, told Soapbox: “I’m not usually someone who likes supper, but I’ve been eating Raydy regularly because of how convenient it is.”
For students who want their bee hoon delivered straight to their halls, Accounting student Lincoln Ng, 23, delivers both Raydy and Ah Lian Bee Hoon to students on campus between 12.30am and 1.30am from Sunday to Thursday.
Looking ahead, Lee told Soapbox that he wanted to make Canteen 13 a popular supper spot for NTU students and hoped that other late-night stalls would open alongside Raydy.
He also plans to expand Raydy Bee Hoon beyond NTU and add more options to the stall’s menu.
“We are here to leave a legacy behind and intend to operate even past our graduation. Our plan for the stall is still to run it as students, so do expect to see your friends working around the stall,” he said.
Featured Image: Soapbox contributor
This article has been updated to reflect the new opening hours of Raydy Bee Hoon.