August 2017



Welcome to the August issue of the USAPEEC ASEAN Regional Office’s newsletter.

This newsletter seeks to provide readers with useful product and major market information for institutional and consumer users of U.S. poultry. Readers will find in every issue a variety of general market information, program activities as well as useful product information.

This issue, we share several activities that took place in Southeast Asia.


  • Culinary students enjoy hands-on practical experience in preparing various chicken dishes
  • Culinary experience at Le Meridien Hotel, Sentosa Island
  • News Bites
  • The rise of cashless dining
  • The boom of Asian cuisine in the West
  • Bak Kwa, the Asian Jerky
  • Sampuru: Is it real?



Additional Market Information Available

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Culinary students enjoy hands-on practical experience in preparing various chicken dishes

Subsequent to the completion of theory classes of the fundamentals of Western and Asian cooking, students in the culinary classes of SHATEC, Singapore’s oldest established culinary school, were provided a first-hand practical experience in preparing various chicken dishes using U.S. chicken parts.

In the training kitchen, students learned to clean, cut, and prepare chicken parts for a variety of chicken dishes. The culinary students worked at their own individual pace and were under close supervision and guidance by Chef Instructor Eugene Lee throughout the practical session. At the end of the semester, these culinary students will participate in an internal cooking competition, where the best recipe will be featured in the SHATEC training restaurant.



Chef Instructor Eugene Lee providing guidance to culinary students

Culinary students preparing the ingredients for the chicken fricassee dish


Culinary experience at Le Meridien Hotel, Sentosa Island

USAPEEC collaborated with Le Meridien, Hen Tick, a U.S. chicken importer and with food and travel publication to organize a culinary experience of sights and tastes for a group of 50 female executives at the Le Meridien, Sentosa Island, Singapore on July 15, 2017.

Executive Chef Jackson Goh, a gold medal award winner and a TV cooking program celebrity, prepared poultry dishes using three specially created local recipes for the cooking workshop. The dishes included stir-fried prawn paste chicken, chicken in Thai curry, and chicken with salted duck egg. The participants were provided with a step-by-step procedure in preparing each of the three dishes using U.S. frozen chicken parts as the main ingredient. Participants were provided the opportunity to view a table display of a range of processed and marinated U.S. chicken parts, which are being retailed in local major supermarkets.

Towards the end of the cooking workshop, the participants were treated to tasting the poultry dishes prepared by Chef Jackson. Participants acknowledged a greater level of consumer awareness of the availability and functional use of U.S. chicken as a result of attendance at the workshop.


Executive Chef Jackson Goh illustrating finer points of chicken preparation at the worskhop in Le Meridien

Prawn paste chicken dish


News Bites

Consumer Markets

Hun Ty to launch fresh food market chain
Hun Ty, a Cambodia-based integrated food-distribution company, plans to launch its own retail fresh food market chain, Fresh Mart, in Phnom Penh in July this year. Kain Poly, marketing manager for Hun Ty, said Fresh Mart will benefit from the firm’s existing food storage and distribution capabilities and claiming that Fresh Mart’s prices will be lower than other stores by at least 30 to 50 per cent.

Banyan Tree launched in Luang Prabang
Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts announced the opening of The Grand Luang Prabang, located along the banks of the Mekong River and just a 15-minute walk to the town center of Luang Prabang. The 75-room resort hotel with its colonial architecture featuring a blend of French colonial architecture with Laotian motifs provides two dining options — Xiengkeo (Western, Thai, and Lao cuisine) and Le Bistrot lounge (light meals).

F&B chains clamoring for hospital retail space
Food and beverage companies are clamoring to rent space at hospitals to capitalize on high consumer traffic and the advantage of having limited competition within hospital grounds compared to locations in mega-malls. Medical centers in big cities provide retail business opportunities for local chains to broaden their brand awareness and customer reach from different countries. Starbucks, located at Bumrungrad Hospital, Thai-owned Black Canyon with 20 outlets at hospitals nationwide, Japan’s Ootoya with locations at three hospitals, and Au Bon Pain with outlets at a number of hospitals are restaurant chains that share this marketing strategy.

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse to open its first Singapore restaurant
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, a New York City chain, will launch its first Singapore restaurant in the InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay hotel in October this year. Wolfgang’s Steakhouse Singapore which asserts that it will use only U.S. prime beef, will offer most of the dishes from the US restaurants menus, plus a couple of dishes with local influences. The chain currently has 17 international restaurants located in China, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.

A&W will return to Singapore in 2018
After exiting the Singapore market more than a decade ago, A&W is looking to set up a restaurant in Singapore in 2018. The Singapore flagship restaurant will also serve as a training restaurant. Besides the Singapore market, A&W is intending to open 30 to 40 restaurants annually in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.




The rise of cashless dining

Cashless dining is rapidly gaining popularity worldwide1. This innovative payment method has opened up new avenues in daily transactions between restaurateurs and consumers, allowing merchants to increase their point-of-sale transactions2

There are two forms of cashless dining. The first form is the ‘traditional’ mode of payment, where the amount is deducted straight from the individual’s bank account. An example of such payment is transacting using credit and debit cards, which have even expanded to mobile applications such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay3. The other form of payment refers to using a loadable card (“prepaid”) within certain premises, where the consumer loads the card with monetary value to transact. This practice has been implemented in Singapore’s largest food court chain, Kopitiam. It offers this cashless dining option island-wide. The food court serves popular local foods such as chicken rice and roasted duck noodles.

Consumers have become more technologically savvy as there is a paradigm shift in lifestyles4. According to the 2016 Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes study, consumers in Asia Pacific were more comfortable with electronic payments due to convenience in quicker transactions5. Diners prefer to transact faster, eliminating long queues and delayed payments at counters.

To cope with the shortage of labor in the food and beverage industry, eateries have adopted this technology within their operational capabilities and opted for cashless payments6. With cashless dining options, restaurateurs can save on daily operating costs and plan their manpower allocation more efficiently7. Furthermore, electronic handling of payment reduces chances of human error such as over-billing, under-billing and providing wrong change to customers. Restaurateurs can consider implementing an integrated cashless program to understand their customers’ purchase patterns8.

In Bangkok, the MBK food court offers cashless dining conveniently to diners. The food court offers local Thai dishes such as Thai green curry, chicken noodles, chicken basil with rice and many more. Patrons approach the service desk located in front of the food court and receive a card to use within the food court. They can add value to the card from as low as US$5. Once they have completed their meals, they can return the cards back to the staff. Any outstanding amount will be refunded fully to the customers9. This is especially useful for tourists who are not familiar with the country’s local currency.

In Kuala Lumpur, Berjaya Times Square has more than 1,000 shops operating in the mall10. Taste of Asia is a popular food court that functions similarly as the MBK food court in Bangkok. It offers chicken satay, chicken rice, duck rice and nasi lemak with chicken cutlets. To transact, diners would have to purchase a prepaid card available in various denominations starting from approximately US$211.

Similarly in Singapore, hawker centers are commonly known as kopitiams, which stands for coffee shop12. Kopitiam is one of the biggest coffee shop chains in Singapore, with 76 outlets operating island-wide13. All of their outlets offer consumers the option of paying through cash or through the reloadable Kopitiam card. The card works by having the customers pay a non-refundable fee of approximately US$114. The card is valid for two years and available for renewal upon expiry15.

1 Channel NewsAsia. (2016). More vending machine cafes, cashless payment at coffee shops under new food industry roadmap. [online] Available at:

2  Gulf News. (2016). The rising trend of cashless payments. [online] Available at:

3 Time. (2015). Mobile Payments Showdown: Apple Pay vs. Android Pay vs. Samsung Pay. [online] Available at:

4 Whereoware. (2014). Today’s Tech-Savvy Consumer- Adapt or Be Left Behind. [online] Available at:

5 Today. (2017). Cashless payments on the rise in Singapore: Visa survey. [online] Available at:

5 unichange. (u.d). Disadvantages and advantages of electronic payment system. [online] Available at:

6 Channel NewsAsia. (2015). More F&B outlets in Singapore going high-tech amid manpower crunch. [online] Available at:

7 Dualtron. (2011). Benefits of Cashless Payment Systems to your Company. [online] Available at:

8 ToastTab. (2016). The Pros and Cons of Cashless Restaurants and a Cashless Society. [online] Available at:

9 Fit Travels. (2017). 37 Tips For Your First Trip To Bangkok. [online] Available at:

10 Berjaya Times Square. (u.d). About Us. [online] Available at:

11 The Sun Daily. (2011). Food Court with a difference. [online] Available at:

12 Remember Singapore. (2011). Singapore Kopitiam Culture. [online] Available at:

13 Kopitiam (u.d). All Outlets. [online] Available at:

14 Kopitiam True Singapore Taste. (2016). [online] Available at:

15 Kopitiam (u.d) FAQ. [online] Available at:



Cashless dining option available in Kopitiam in Singapore


The boom of Asian cuisine in the West

Worldwide consumption of Asian food has grown by nearly 500 per cent since 1999 and this figure is expected to grow1,2.

In recent times, individuals are also becoming more health-conscious3. According to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Health & Wellness Survey that polled over 30,000 individuals, 88 per cent of diners are willing to spend more money on stores that offer healthier eating options4. They look for food that has lower levels of “negative” nutrients such as saturated fat, sugar and salt. Instead, they prefer higher levels of “positive” nutrients such as fiber and calcium5

Asian cuisine offers many healthy options6. For example, lemongrass is often used in Thai dishes such as tom yum chicken soup, green curry chicken and chicken basil fried rice7. It is a great source of iron and potassium8. Vegetables are also a good source of fiber. Comparatively low in fat and rich in vitamins A to K, vegetables are commonly used in Asian cuisine, especially Vietnamese cuisine9. A preferred cooking technique in Vietnam is using water or broth instead of oils, which makes their dishes healthy for consumption10.

According to market research firm Euromonitor, Asian food is one of the most commonly consumed cuisines in the world11. Asian food chains have been expanding rapidly in Europe and North America12. This could be due to the increasing number of obesity cases in the United States, where more than one-third of adults have been reported with obesity13. The spices and flavoring in Asian cuisine such as the Sichuan pepper found in Chinese food provides a tantalizing glimpse of what Asian food has to offer14.

Although US-based chain Panda Express is still the largest Asian fast food chain in the world (valued at US$1.9 billion in 2013), other Asian food chains are starting to catch up15. For instance, Sukiya is valued at US$1.7 billion16. Known for its gyudon, donburi and curry, Sukiya has 1970 outlets worldwide, including Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Japan and China17. In 2013, Sukiya opened its first outlet in Mexico and has seen a rapid increase to seven outlets today18. The success in overseas expansion has seen Sukiya’s parent company, Zensho Holdings, gain an increase of 30 per cent in stock value over the last 12 months19.  

Originally from the Philippines, Jollibee has more than 150 international outlets outside the country. With more than 950 outlets in country, Jollibee is the largest fast food chain in the Philippines. It holds a market share that totals to more than half of the entire Filipino fast food industry20. Jollibee is set to expand beyond their current franchises as part of their aggressive Middle East expansion strategy, opening 100 stores across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region by 202021. Currently, it has franchises in the United States, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam and some of the GCC countries22. Jollibee’s expansion has led to the consistent inclusion in the US Top 500 restaurant rankings by Technomic, a research firm that focuses on food and related products23,24.

Specializing in fried snacks, Old Chang Kee (OCK) has been selling its range of products through retail outlets at shopping malls and kiosks along the road since 195625. Their best sellers include chicken curry puffs, chicken wings and cheezy chicken chicken balls. OCK bagged the Top Brand award by Singapore’s Influential Brands Award for four consecutive years since 201326. OCK also made it to the list of the world’s 20 best fast food chains by US-based magazine, Travel and Leisure, making it the only brand from Singapore to have the honor of being featured27. OCK has since expanded business outside Singapore, having franchises in Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia28. OCK had a two-day pop-up event in Kentish Town, London, where 1,200 chicken curry puffs were sold out within four hours each day. Well-received in London, OCK is also set to open outlets in other cities such as Manchester and Birmingham29.

1 South China Morning Post. (2015). Refined Asian cuisines are gaining popularity around the world. [online] Available at:

2 The Washington Post. (2015). Asian food: The fastest growing food in the world. [online] Available at:

3 Forbes. (2015). Consumer Trends in Health and Wellness. [online] Available at:

4 Forbes. (2015). Consumers Want Healthy Foods—And Will Pay More For Them. [online] Available at:

5 Health Hub. (2015). Make a healthier choice today! [online] Available at:

6 Single Platform. (2016). The Rise of Asian Food. [online] Available at:

7 Food Recipes. (u.d). Cooking With Thai Lemon Grass. [online] Available at:

8 Health Essentials. (2015). Crave Chinese Food? Tips for Heart-Healthy Asian Cuisine. [online] Available at:

9 Northern Vietnam. (u.d). Vietnamese cuisine and food. [online] Available at:

10 CNN. (2010). The 10 healthiest ethnic cuisines. [online] Available at:

11 Nogales International. (2015). Asian cuisine expanding in restaurant market. [online] Available at:

12 Euromonitor International. (2015). Interest in Asian Cuisines is Driving New Concept and Menu Trends. [online] Available at:

13 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Adult Obesity Facts. [online] Available at:

14 Telegraph. (2016). The rise of authentic Chinese food. [online] Available at:

15 Euromonitor International. (2015). Interest in Asian Cuisines is Driving New Concept and Menu Trends. [online] Available at:

16 Euromonitor International. (2015). Interest in Asian Cuisines is Driving New Concept and Menu Trends. [online] Available at:

17 Forbes. (2017). From Pizza To Fried Rice: How These Tycoons Built A Billion-Dollar Fortune From Fast Food. [online] Available at:

18 (2015). Mexican-Style Maruchan: Japanese Food Overseas as Seen Through the Success of an Instant Ramen Brand. [online] Available at:

19 Forbes. (2017). Bowled Over: Meet The Beef and Rice Billionaire From Japan. [online] Available at:

20 Yahoo!. (2016). First-ever Jollibee Store in Canada Opens Ten Days Before Christmas. [online] Available at:

21 Gulf Business. (2016). Filipino fast food chain Jollibee to open 100 stores across the GCC by 2020. [online] Available at:

22 Yahoo!. (2016). First-ever Jollibee Store in Canada Opens Ten Days Before Christmas. [online] Available at:

23 PR Newswire. (2017). Jollibee’s U.S. Expansion Continues with First Florida Location Opening. [online] Available at:

24 Technomic. (u.d). About Technomic. [online] Available at:

25 Old Chang Kee. (u.d). About Us - Our Heritage. [online] Available at:

26 Old Chang Kee. (u.d). Our Awards. [online] Available at:

27 Travel and Leisure. (2012). Best Fast-Food Chains in the World. [online] Available at:

28 The Edge Markets. (2017). Portfolio up as markets continue to run, Old Chang Kee added. [online] Available at:

29 The Straits Times. (2017). Old Chang Kee to open in London. [online] Available at:


A healthy Vietnamese cuisine


Bak Kwa, the Asian Jerky

Bak kwa is a meat snack commonly consumed in Singapore and Malaysia. It is produced by using a traditional food preservation technique that was developed in Southern China1. After preserving the meat by salting and drying under the sun, the bak kwa is grilled with a combination of spices, soy sauce, and sugar over charcoal for a smoky flavor2.

Previously consumed only during festive seasons such as the Lunar New Year, bak kwa is now a favorite staple that is readily available for daily consumption1. Although prices are inflated during peak seasons, bak kwa is relatively affordable during off-peak periods3.
Bak kwa is usually made from pork meat. However, there are other meat options available such as beef and chicken. There is also a vegetarian option made from soy to cater to a wider target market. Bak kwa can be consumed as a side dish or a snack1. Innovative offerings of bak kwa also include crocodile, fish, lobster, prawn, duck, and turkey4. There are many renowned bak kwa brands that consumers in Asia can buy from. In Singapore, one of the leading bak kwa brands in the industry is Bee Cheng Hiang. The company has 42 retail outlets across Singapore and has plans to expand internationally to include over 290 outlets across ten countries including China, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines5.

Most bak kwa brands are not Halal-certified as they contain pork, which Muslims are not able to consume6. However, dendeng is the Halal version of the traditional bak kwa, where Halal-certified meat such as chicken and beef are used instead6. Dendeng is sold in bazaars as a unique street snack in Singapore and Malaysia7. Some of these stalls have created inventive snacks with dendeng such as the taco dendeng and dendeng pizza8,9.


1 Chinatownology (2017). Bakkwa (BBQ Meat) 肉干[Online] Available at:

2 The Finder (2016). Bak Kwa: What is it and Why is it Popular During Chinese New Year in Singapore? [Online] Available at:

3 Dollars And Sense (2016). Why Bak Kwa Costs More During Chinese New Year [Online] Available at:

4 ETHOZ (2017). 7 Types Of Bak Kwa To Lookout For This CNY [Online] Available at:

5 Bee Cheng Hiang (2016). Our Presence [Online] Available at:

6 Serious Eats (2008). Snapshots from Asia: Bak Kwa, Chinese Pig Candy [Online] Available at:

7 SG Asia City (2016). 15 classic snacks in Singapore's Geylang Serai Ramadan bazaar [Online] Available at:

8 The New Paper (2016). Breaking fast at the bazaar [Online] Available at:

9 (2016). Things to Eat: Geylang Serai Bazaar 2016 [Online] Available at:



Bak kwa in Singapore


Sampuru: Is it real?

Sampuru is a Japanese adaptation of the English word ‘sample’1. It refers to replicating food using plastic in the most realistic manner. The process to create sampuru is thorough. It begins with designing the silicone molds that would be used to replicate the dish. Liquid plastic, also known as polyvinyl chloride, is poured into the mold and baked until it is hardened. The plastic is separated and cooled in the next stage. Each component is meticulously painted with an airbrush or by hand2. As making sampurus require precision, the time taken to complete each element of a sampuru ranges from an hour to days, depending on the intricacies in replication3

In 1932, Takizo Iwasaki founded Iwasaki Be-I, a company that specializes in the creation of sampurus4. Dubbed as “the Father of Sampurus”, Iwasaki's company holds around 70 per cent of the sampuru market share in Japan5. Small displays would cost an average of US$27 while others that require more precision can cost as much as US$9006. Generally, sampuru can cost approximately ten times the price of the actual dish7. The steep price for sampuru stems from the amount of time and effort required to create them. 
Despite the high cost of sampurus, they are frequently displayed outside restaurants in Japan8. Restaurateurs implement sampurus as they set expectations with patrons when dining at the restaurants in terms of portion and quality. This enables customers to visualize the dishes easily. It also allows tourists to understand what they are ordering for cases where language is a barrier and they are not able to comprehend what the restaurant offers in the country’s local language. Sampurus are often found in Japanese restaurants to display sashimi, which refers to raw food. Diners are subjected to hygiene and health issues if raw food was left unattended in the open for prolonged hours.

The implementation of sampuru today is not only limited to Japanese food such as sushi and bento sets. Since sampuru is made of materials that will not decay over a short period of time, they can be utilized until the restaurants update their menu9. For example, sampuru is practical to use as displays for desserts such as ice-cream, chocolates, and bingsu (a Korean shaved iced dessert). These desserts melt easily once taken out of the refrigerator, making it impossible to display for long hours. For instance, Gong Cha, a famous bubble tea chain in Asia, placed replicas of their drinks at the Raffles Place Shopping Centre outlet in Singapore. Their models lasted more than six years10.

The use of sampuru is widespread throughout the food and beverage industry. In Singapore, several food chains implemented sampuru as displays in their eateries. For instance, Fat Bird Chicken Hot Pot at Lot One Shoppers’ Mall uses a chicken-in-hotpot display at their stall front to show the exact size of the hotpot and the amount of chicken served instead of a not-drawn-to-scale image in the menu12. Casa Italia at I12 Katong offers a wide selection of pizzas that they sell on display, which gives consumers a good visual representation of the pizzas served13.

1 Distinguished. (n.d). The Culinary Art of ‘Sampuru’. [online] Available at:

2 The Soup Spoon. (2015). Sampuru | Replica food making experience. [online] Available at:

3 Channel NewsAsia. (2016). 5 things you didn’t know about Japan’s fake food. [online] Available at:

4 Hall of Fame. (2016). Takizo Iwasaki and the Origin of Food Replica. [online] Available at:

5 The Japan Times. (2016). Japanese food samples: Look so good you could eat them. [online] Available at:

6 Great Big Story. (2016). Fake Food, Real Art: Crafting Display Delicacies. [online] Available at:

7 CNA Insider. (2016). Japan’s Fake Food | CNA Insider. [online] Available at:

8 Japan Experience. (2015). Fake Dishes For True Gastronomy.[online] Available at:

9 Big Empire. (u.d). Delicious Vinyl: Japan’s Plastic Food Replicas. [online] Available at:

10 Plastic Food Models. (2016). How Customers Used Our Plastic Food Models. [online] Available at:

11 Plastic Food Models. (2016). How Customers Used Our Plastic Food Models. [online] Available at:

12 Plastic Food Models. (2015). How Customers Used Our Plastic Food Models. [online] Available at:



Sampuru used in a food court


Disclaimer: All opinions and views expressed in the articles published in the newsletter are those of the individual journalists and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher, the newsletter's sponsors or USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.

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