Jenny and Roy Lim pose for a photo while preparing food at Roasted. The couple has been hosting pop-up events weekly at Roasted after closing the Jenny’s Kuali shopfront in 2022. (Julia Cassone/ B&W Staff)

Jenny’s Kuali lives on following restaurant closure


Every Monday at Roasted — located at 22 W. Fourth St. — traditional table sets decorate the restaurant, with a set of signature sauces at each seat. The scent of authentic Malaysian cuisine fills the space, with a tranquil ambiance of dimmed lighting.

The food at Roasted is not what you’ll find any other day of the week. It’s the cuisine of Jenny’s Kuali.

Jenny’s Kuali, a former Malaysian restaurant on the Southside, first opened its doors in August of 2012. Its owners, Jenny and Roy Lim, shared the warmth of Malaysian food with Bethlehem residents for over a decade before closing their doors in 2022.

Jenny Lim traveled from Malaysia to the United States with her family in 1975. Upon arriving at age 12, she was immediately exposed to the restaurant business. 

Her family opened House of Chen in Allentown soon after their move. Roy Lim, Jenny Lim’s now husband, arrived from Malaysia in 1980 at the age of 21 and worked as a waiter at the establishment. 

After dedicating 35 years to their business, Jenny Lim’s parents retired. With years of experience in the field, Jenny and Roy Lim decided to open their own restaurant: Jenny’s Kuali. 

The cuisine of Jenny’s Kuali combines Indian, Thai and other Asian influences with Malaysian cuisine. They specialize in homemade dumplings, satay chicken and curry puffs. Customers also enjoy their curry and noodle dishes and Malaysian fried rice. 

Mona Sacarakis, an Allentown resident, has been attending Jenny Kuali’s since it first opened in 2012. 

“I came down to try it, and I never left,” Sacarakis said. “I love creamy soup. It’s my absolute favorite. It tastes phenomenal, and it’s good for you.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread, Jenny Lim struggled to find help as her workers slowly faded away from the business and their two children, who often assisted, were away at college.

“We were working a lot of hours, and we wanted to slow down a little bit,” Jenny Lim said. “We thought maybe it was a good idea to give it up.” 

In September 2022, Jenny and Roy Lim sold their restaurant, but they continued sharing their talent and menu through pop-ups, cooking classes and catering. 

Throughout the following year, they hosted cooking classes primarily at Jay’s Local in Allentown,  sharing knowledge about the ingredients and recipes.

“People really want to learn about homemade dumplings,” Jenny Lim said. “They wanted to come and roll the dough and learn how to make curry puffs.” 

Lehigh students have built a strong appreciation for Jenny’s Kuali as they showcase their food at the Bethlehem Farmers Market on campus between April and October. 

As Jenny’s Kuali gained popularity in their new forms of business, Jenny and Roy Lim were inspired to start a pop-up in town. 

Roasted is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, making it the perfect spot for Jenny and Roy Lim to host a pop-up. Every Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Roasted is essentially transformed into Jenny’s Kualis.  

Jenny and Roy Lim have continued hosting cooking classes in this location, teaching how to make not only appetizers, but main courses, too. Attendees are encouraged to pick an entree off the menu that they want to learn how to prepare. 

“There’s good people here, real good people,” Sacarakis said. “I’d come every day if they were open.” 

Jenny and Roy Lim will be hosting cooking classes on March 2 and March 23. Those interested in attending can register online for a slot between 4:30 and 7:45 p.m.

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