CC Lee Juju Penang

CC Lee, Co-founder & Co-owner of JUJU Lounge, Penang

CC Lee – Juju Lounge Penang

In this interview, CC Lee, co-founder and co-owner of Juju Lounge, Penang tells of the beginnings of the restaurant and some stories from the kitchen.

What do you do?

I run the day to day operations of Juju Lounge, Penang. My main tasks are deciding on the direction of the restaurant, creating the type of food to serve and curating the wine and spirit list.

How did you get into the industry?

I started cooking in a friend’s cafe – Thor’s Affair – on Tuesdays (my off day) as a kind of weekly pop up. So basically that was my first experience of serving paying customers.

What does your typical day look like?

I start my day by communicating with local fishermen around 4-5am to find out about the catch of the day. Lunchtime I start to go on my rounds selecting ingredients and seafood from different boats and markets. Once I reach the restaurant, we start the kitchen prep work with the help of my two-man kitchen team. Next, I set up the dining tables, make sure the restrooms are in order and that everything is ready before diners arrive. I serve all food to our customers personally and help recommend alcohol to go pair with it. At the end of service, I do all the necessary cleaning up before closing the restaurant door. So basically, it’s what Hokkien people call “bao sua bao hai” (to cover the mountain to cover the sea!)

What’s a food memory from your childhood or travels that stands out?

Of course, the most important food memory is all the great food that I’ve tasted from my mom’s kitchen! It really sets the benchmark of what good eating is all about. Another childhood memory is by the beach catching a live horseshoe crab and passing it to the fishermen nearby to cook for us and eat it on the spot! Also, travel to Spain and Portugal revealed the different ‘saltiness’ levels of each food culture and also how they treat their fresh seafood.

What’s the best / worst part of your job?

The best part is for diners to take a bite of our food and appreciate what we are trying to present to them. The worst part is opening a bottle of Gran Cru reluctantly that is not ready for drinking yet!

What’s your favourite food and beverage pairing?

Nasi lemak and Sancerre

What’s one of the scariest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?

Getting your fingers cut at 7 pm just when you are ready to serve your first course and the bleeding refusing to stop!

The perfect day off would be…

Uninterrupted sleep and not receiving any phone calls.

What does CC Lee do for fun?

Eat good food and drink good wine!

What’s something you’d like guests to know about Juju Lounge?

We try to highlight the best wild-caught seafood from our local waters and to serve it as honestly as we can.

How has the pandemic changed you, your perspective, or the way you operate?

It has slowed everything!

What’s something you’d like people to know about being a restauranteur as a profession?

This industry is truly a blood, sweat and tears affair.

What’s your view on the restaurant scene in Penang?

I hope the restaurant scene in Penang will continue to flourish with more new creative dining experiences opening up.

What practices do you currently implement or hope to implement in the future to work towards social responsibility and sustainability?

Head to tail movement towards utilizing every part of the animal towards zero waste. I’d like to see a reduction of the use of plastic in Malaysian wet markets.

What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?

Natural wine pairing events and a Mediterranean canned-food party.

Find more interviews similar to this one with CC Lee here. And, stay up to date with the latest food and beverage happenings in KL here.


  1. Great idea “communicating with local fishermen around 4-5am”. I do that with the lady at my favourite fish & seafood stall here – she’ll tell me what’s fresh and what to buy.

  2. Mom’s kitchen shapes each of us!

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