Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 11th 2015 Contents CHARLES KONG SOO
If the Quan Keps were one of the families
from Game of Thrones---the popular
medieval fantasy series on HBO---their
emblem on their home or shield would be
the pig in a hammock. The pig in a ham-
mock is familiar to the people of Princes
Town, where the Quan keps first started
their food business in the 60s. The pig has
been good to them.
The name Quan Kep is synonymous with
roast pork but they are now famous for a
regional specialty---roast pork, crispy skin
pork, or fry pork sandwich. Now the third
generation chef, Leasanne "Ben" Quan Kep
has brought her family s signature roast pork,
pudding and souse, and range of mouth-
watering culinary dishes to the North.
At Quan Kep s Pork Shed, Bamboo No 3,
on the southbound food strip next to Grand
Bazaar, that runs parallel with the highway,
her loyal customers and friends from all parts
of the country have followed her for her gas-
tronomic fare ranging from everything
porcine, crispy pork fried wontons, BBQ pork
ribs and pig tail, geera pork to hot wings,
pastelles, glazed ham, batter fried chicken,
and turkey from the classically trained chef.
Speaking at the Sunday Guardian s offices,
Quan Kep, 31, said that it was serendipity
that she found her location. She was working
at the Hyatt Regency, in Port-of-Spain, earlier
in 2014, as a chef de partie, while still living
in Princes Town.
She said the commute was difficult, having
grown up in a self-employed entrepreneurial
family and having a background of roast
pork coupled with her formal culinary train-
ing.Quan Kep said: "While I was delivering
roast pork to a new client by Grand Bazaar,
I was passing and saw the for rent sign in
the little shed in Valsayn in October.
"I stopped and spoke to the landlady, sur-
veying the spot and assessing the situation,
the traffic flow, the food places there were
selling burgers, hot dogs, doubles and tacos.
I know that our product is fantastic for street
food, when we roast our pork, you can smell
it on the street half mile away.
"I wrote a cheque to the lady and told her
don t rent the place, and I told my dad we
were going to sell roast pork by Grand Bazaar.
He said whatever I wanted to do, let s go,
he was 100 per cent supportive. I resigned
my job at Hyatt to focus on completion of
my Masters but ended up preparing the shed
in six days and we opened it on November
How the roast pork
sandwich was invented
Quan Kep s father, Glen, said it was his
father, David, from China, who started the
roast pork business in New Grant, in a shop
called Short Shop, then he moved to Craig-
nish Village, in the 60s.
Glen said he left school to help his father
when he became sick and he started teaching
him the art of Chinese cooking, roast pork,
and pudding making, which he learned from
the butchers at the Princes Town abattoir.
He said at that time roast pork was selling
at $2.40 per pound and they went from sell-
ing half a pig to 15 pigs a week, which they
Glen said the family also made their own
hops in the morning to sell, the roast pork
was hung in a glass case and customers usu-
ally bought quarter pound or half pound.
He said in 1976 he rebuilt and expanded
the former shop to incorporate a bar and
food section. Glen said from there he bought
another property at Matilda Junction, which
became Quan Kep s Family Restaurant and
He said he also experimented with his
own seasoning blend and came up with his
own recipe and developed the roast pork,
pudding and souse trade.
Glen said at that time many people didn t
eat pork and it was his family that introduced
roast pork to the Indian community, being
the first to put it in a sandwich. Now there
are bars in Freeport that sell the popular
Quan Kep said that her family tweaked
the traditional roast pork that was done in
China, combined it with their homemade
hops which evolved into the roast pork sand-
She said pork was the mainstay at her
establishment when she now started adver-
tising her business on her Facebook page,
telling all her friends. The Quan Keps already
had a reputation and by the time her sign
went up with the pig in a hammock, the
same image that was on the wall in the Craig-
nish Village shop which her uncle, Drakes
now operates, people recognised the brand.
Quan Kep said the feedback was positive,
the customers were asking if they were the
same Quan Keps from Princes Town and
they recognised her father.
She said people from all over the country
made the journey down to Princes Town for
their roast pork, and they were now happy
to cater for their customers up North at a
Quan Kep said while roast pork, fried
chicken and pudding were available to their
customers in Princes Town, her formal train-
ing and her father s desire to expand their
product base meant that besides their staple
roast pork, every week they did something
different and ran specials such as BBQ pig
tail, char siu pork, pork in black bean and
hoisin, and garlic pork ribs.
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
SUNDAY JANUARY 11, 2015
Continues on Page A26
It's all about the pork!
...the pig has been good to the Quan Keps
Glen Quan Kep and his daugther
Leasanne "Ben" Quan Kep.
Quan Kep said that her
family tweaked the
traditional roast pork that
was done in China,
combined it with their
homemade hops which
evolved into the roast pork
Links Archive January 10th 2015 January 12th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page