The Many Charms of HenLin

That stage between dreaming and realization must have caused a lot of anxieties and stressful days for aspiring entrepreneurs. Yet, if that phase eventually led to the blossoming of what was once a humble beginning, then all troubles must have paid off.

Thus, goes the story of Hen Lin --- the Chinese dimsum expert who always manages to send senses racing on the sheer aroma of its delicacies.

In an industry ruled by fast food, Hen Lin has succeeded in carving a name for itself simply by creating authentic and surprisingly affordable Chinese dimsum that cater to the ever fussy Filipino taste. Starting out with its first outlet in BF Homes, Paranaque, Hen Lin has more than a hundred branches, strategically located in malls and key cities. Today, across the metropolis, inevitably you will find a Hen Lin kiosk, or at the very least a dine-in outlet, even in small towns.

Determination Means Defying Failure

“Fondness for Chinese cuisine was instrumental in Hen Lin’s birth,” “Back in the 70s, when one can have a sumptuously filling meal of siopao and mami for only P1.00, the owners saw Chinese cuisine as a lucrative business. But it was only in 1983, when, as a means to augment their income, that the owners finally ventured into the business.”

After a hard day’s work as an executive in a Makati insurance firm, the owner would drive all the way to Escolta to fetch his wife, who was then working in a bank. Upon reaching their Alabang abode and long after attending to their children’s dinner and schoolwork, the couple would toil in the kitchen, trying to perfect the recipe for siomai. “Making siomai or dumplings is really a team effort,”. “The owners must have realized this at the onset. They made the process fun for their kids who joined the work, starting out as ‘tasters’ and eventually growing into the business.”

But Hen Lin was not just an upstart cashing in on a fast food novelty. To succeed, the couple knew that they needed to have the impeccable Chinese taste down pat. Thus, the couple commissioned the help of a Hong Kong chef whose expertise was instrumental in giving Hen Lin’s innumerable assortment of delicacies the authentic Chinese flavor. The couple further expanded their knowledge by learning the intricacies of dimsum making and experimenting with recipes, relentlessly pursuing that elusive Chinese taste that customers would eventually crave for.

Finally, in 1983, confident that they have perfected the blend and armed with P30,000 as capital, the couple opened their first store in Paranaque. “Like any other business, Hen Lin had its share of problems. For one, we had to make do with whatever resources we had on hand. At that time, we only have a few dimsum,”. With the kids and several househelp providing the manpower, the couple did studies on expansion while supervising production.

What is your favorite Dimsum?