For Asians, we could be pretty familiar with many Western brands entering our shores and we have embraced them well enough. Over the last few decades, Asian cuisine has been shining strongly on the radar and as the world becomes increasingly globalised; a number of brands have also made a bold move to introduce their specialties to the world; although some of the names here aren’t necessarily serving Asian food but they originated from this continent.
Standing for The Wellbeing Group, TWG Tea was co-founded by by Taha Bouqdib, Maranda Barnes and Rith AumStievenard in 2008 to purvey luxury teas and develop a high-end concept in tea appreciation. 1837 marks the year Singapore became a trading post for teas, spices and fine artisanal products. It offers more than 1,000 types of teas alongside tea patisseries and other tea-infused delicacies in over 50 Tea Salons & Boutiques around the world. Particularly in fashion and shopping capitals such as Tokyo, London, Dubai, Shanghai, Bangkok, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney all the way to Doha.
24 years ago, Mr Ip Yiu Tung strived to tell the story of a Chinese meal prepared with a high level of skill, technique and understanding of ingredients. From Crystal Jade Palace, the Group started numerous concepts to further explore the vast Chinese culinary landscape. Today, it has more than 120 outlets of its various brands, across 21 cities in 10 countries such as China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, USA and the Philippines. Having various concepts allows the Group to appeal to everyone; be it the desire for a simple bowl of noodles, sharing dishes with the family or splurging on exquisite delicacies.
CEO, Sun-Kwon Kim’s idea of selling coffee in open-air cafes like in Europe caught on like a storm in its homeland where it opened 650 stores in its first four years. It arrested the interest with a menu extending from coffee to waffles, shaved ice desserts like the ‘bingsu’, plus a signature ‘misugaru’ (black sesame seeds, black bean, black and brown rice and barley) that people consider a healthy breakfast drink. Operating on franchise, it currently has presence in United States, Philippine, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Canada, China, Mongolia, Singapore, Japan and Vietnam.
AYAM PENYET RIA
‘Ayam’ (chicken) and “Penyet” (smashed) comes from the Javanese region. The chicken or beef is smashed to soften it and allow flavours to penetrate better and fried. A fiery chilli dip made with chilli, anchovies, tomatoes, shallots, garlics, shrimp paste, tamarind and lime juice is a necessary accompaniment alongside fresh vegetables and white rice to cool you down. From Indonesia, it went to Singapore and Malaysia and even Melbourne.
TIM HO WAN
The “world’s cheapest Michelinstar restaurant”, this dim sum shop earned notoriety for its small shop and a consistent long line in Mongkok. Perhaps more than a culture than cuisine in itself, dim sum means ‘to touch your heart’ and are presented in tiny one-bite morsels filled with meat, minced seafood and the ubiquitous ‘pau’ (buns with fillings) taken between sips of hot Chinese tea and conversations. Its first overseas branch was opened in Singapore, followed by Philippines, Australia, Jakar ta, Taipei, Taichung, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
CP KITCHEN (Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL)
Aiming to be a “Kitchen of the World”, you might be more familiar with its frozen food segment if you’re outside of Thailand. The company operates in livestock and aquaculture businesses that incorporate manufacturing animal feed, breeding, farming, meat processing, manufacturing semi and fully-cooked meat, food products and ready meal products alongside restaurants.
DIN TAI FUNG
The brand originally began as a cooking oil retailer in 1958 but as tinned oil became a choice supply, Yang Bingyi turned to selling the now-famous ‘xiaolongbao’. An intricate process as the dumpling’s skin ought to be thick enough to hold soup and meat yet without a rubber texture. It only became a full-fledged restaurant in the 1980s and also offered ‘la mien’ (hand pulled) noodles, rice dishes and other Chinese items. It has branches in Australia, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, the United States, Thailand and Dubai.
A humble corn-in-cup venture, it is one that cares about the entire chain from planting, harvesting, processing, distribution channels and storage. The name is familiar in kiosks around Malaysia selling Belgium waffle, sausages, ice blended beverages and Japanese ‘dorayaki’ cakes on top of corn. Today, the brand can be seen in about 16 countries around the world amounting to approximately 800 outlets and has about 80 around Malaysia. Its franchising system offers entrepreneurs an A-Z solution including kiosk and equipment.
THE MANHATTAN FISH MARKET
Yes, it is not from United States although it did draw inspiration from the Fulton Fish Market, once located below the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. The seafood offerings are flamed, poached, grilled, baked or fried. Famous for it’s legendary Manhattan Flaming Seafood Platter; it appeals to group dining with its variety and reasonable prices while classics like Manhattan Fish ’n Chips and Garlic Herb Mussels provide comfort food. The brand offers franchising and has and has expanded to Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Oman, Myanmar, Japan, India, Bangladesh and Qatar. UAE and Brunei should expect to experience the brand by middle of 2016.
Bringing truly Malaysian neighbourhood coffeeshop mainstays like boiled eggs, toast and coffee and hawker stalls like fried rice and noodles into a more classy space was a winning step for the brand. It is not hard to see the allure of the brand with decent food and a place suitable for working as well. The franchise model has been successfully carried and adapted in Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and United States of America.