January 2019



Welcome to the January 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.


  • Students from leading hospitality college eager to sharpen culinary skills
  • Milo coated deep fried chicken with sambal dip, anyone?
  • Wider array of comfort foods conveniently located in Heartland cafes
  • Celebrating Tết in Vietnam
  • Ideas for Chinese Reunion Dinner Takeaways in Singapore
  • The “No plastic straws” movement in Singapore
  • F&B Talents Are Giving Singapore A Good Name Internationally
  • News Bites



Additional Market Information Available

We have updated our website to include more information on market reports and export documentation guidelines.

You can visit our ASEAN website at: www.usapeecasean.com




Students from leading hospitality college eager to sharpen culinary skills

The U.S. poultry nutrition and handling workshop in Ho Chi Minh City attracted a class of 60 students eager to learn about the finer points of poultry nutrition, handling and preparation of U.S. poultry in a variety of dishes. During the workshop on December 12, culinary students were briefed by well-known Chef and Lecturer Norbert Ehrbar on the overview of the U.S. poultry industry, the nutritional benefits of U.S. poultry, proper handling and storage and the versatility of use of turkey in various Western and Asian dishes.

The poultry workshop organized by USA Poultry & Egg Export Council was carried out at the Saigon Tourist Hospitality College which provides a wide range of hospitality courses some of which include two-year degree courses that will allow students to specialize in Culinary Arts, Hotel Management or Restaurant Management. Students were given the opportunity to participate in hands on cooking with U.S. chicken and turkey. Participants felt that the workshop created more awareness of the high quality and nutritional value of U.S. poultry as well as stimulated their creativity on the versatility of meal preparations.


Chef Norbert explaining how to cut up a whole turkey during the poultry workshop in Vietnam

Hands-on Session by culinary students during the Poultry Workshop in Vietnam


Milo coated deep fried chicken with sambal dip, anyone?

Who would have thought of pairing deep-fried chicken chop with a coating of chocolatey Milo powder? Apparently, a humble family restaurant in Malaysia did, and Milo lovers rejoice! Milo coated fried chicken is now a most popular dish in town.

Late December last year, a mid-tier family restaurant added a new dish to its menu: the “Chicken Chop Milo Earthquake”. It was an earthquake of a name, that unexpectedly lives up to expectations. The bizarre savory, greasy, chocolatey combo – works. Have Halal Will Travel, a website that caters to Muslim travelers and their halal requirements, gave the absurd Milo-chicken pairing a thumbs up.

“Chicken Chop Milo Earthquake” is created by Cheese Banjir Restaurant, a local family restaurant known for its adventurous food combos. Large chunks of chicken chops similar to the infamous Taiwanese fried chicken were dipped in a spicy batter, deep fried, then dunked into a bag of Milo powder. Diners may choose to consume the chicken chop with either a spicy sambal belachan sauce or a Milo sauce.

Now, will the fad last? Will it spread?

On January 4 th , Mothership.sg website reported that Flavor Flings Café in Singapore has started selling Milo-Coated Chicken Pops at S$9.90 a serve. The Singapore version has the deep-fried nuggets drizzled with condensed milk before coating it with Milo powder and is served with nacho cheese sauce and sambal belachan mayonnaise.


Milo Coated Chicken Pops


Wider array of comfort foods conveniently located in Heartland cafes

Coffee shops and hawker centers used to be the go-to- place for most Singapore residents seeking to find tasty and reasonably priced food. With changing lifestyles, however, the café culture has become a way of life among many of the younger population. After a lengthy stressful workday, most diners would be happy with just a quiet dinner & a good cup of coffee or tea at a little tucked away café seated with the companions we enjoy. Previously, when it comes to café dining, most people would head down to cafes found in downtown or shopping malls where most often, it is difficult to locate available seating. The higher cost of eating in downtown cafes may be an additional inhibiting factor. For the majority of Singapore population living in the suburban heartlands, it is often a dream to be able to locate cafés tucked in the round the street corner from where we live.

The lower rental costs for restaurants in suburban areas and the convenient location for consumers contribute to a growing number of cafés being increasingly established in greater numbers in the heartland areas. From cafes serving hearty burgers, cakes & waffles, pizza to even fusion cuisines, it provides a wider choice to discerning appetites especially among the younger generations.

One outstanding example of a café which caters to the increasing numbers of consumers living in the heartlands may be found in the Builders at Sims inconspicuously located among coffee shops and Mom and Pop stores in the Eastern part of the Singapore island. The menu includes crispy & juicy golden wings, unpretentious truffle fries, delightfully prepared duck salad, perfectly grilled kurobuta pork chop and ending with the signature French toast that is served with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream. Making dreams come true are within the realms of possibility.



Duck Salad

Truffle Fries


Celebrating Tết in Vietnam

The Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Tết Nguyen Dan) is one of the most important festivals in Vietnamese culture. This year, Tết falls on 5th February. Tết is steeped in culture and traditions, and its celebration a feast for both the eyes and the stomach.

Tết Nguyen Dan is literally translated as: the first morning of the first day of the year. At the stroke of midnight, Vietnamese usher out the old year and welcome the new with much fanfare. Traditionally, families lit firecrackers in the streets to signal the start of a new year. Today, they gather in designated public spaces to watch fireworks.

Vietnamese traditionally pay tribute to their ancestors during Tết by placing their offerings on family altars and burn incense in memory of the departed. An offering of gold leaf paper is also prepared in the kitchen for the family’s Kitchen God, to encourage the deity to speak favorably of the family when reporting to the Jade Emperor in heaven. Family members will make the effort to traverse distances to celebrate Tết together, exchanging news and renewing family bonds – over traditional food and snacks. Here are some traditional dishes consumed over Tết:

Banh Chung

The Banh Chung remains one of Vietnam’s most popular and enduring traditions. The local folklore has it that thousands of years ago, a dying emperor conducted a cooking contest to determine which of his 21 sons is worthy of inheriting his throne. While most sons chose rare and expensive ingredients, the winner of the competition created the humble Banh Chung – a simple tasty dish that can be enjoyed by the general populace and not just the wealthy. The Banh Chung is simply a well-seasoned mix of mung beans, ground meat, and glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves and boiled to perfection.

Boiled Chicken

Traditional Tết dinner usually include a boiled whole chicken, a symbol of purity, that served as an offering to the ancestors earlier in the day. The chicken is consumed dipped in a salted lime sauce.

Spring rolls

Spring rolls may not have originated from Vietnam, but it is almost the staple at festive gatherings with large numbers of people, which is how every meal should be during Tết.


A Traditional Tet Holiday Dinner Set by Tony Albelton (photo: Shutterstock.com)

Banh Chung Cake by Anna Pustynnikova (photo: Shutterstock.com)

Hanoi Street Selling Tet Holiday Decorations by Angela Grant (photo: ShutterStock.com)


Ideas for Chinese Reunion Dinner Takeaways in Singapore

Time flies in the blink of an eye, and before you know it, the annual Chinese Reunion Dinner is just days away. If you are planning a reunion dinner in the comfort of home away from the boisterous restaurant crowd, takeaways are an effective way to reduce the hassle of home-cooking and an easy way to spruce up a simple home cooked reunion dinner. But what dishes can you pre-order for the dinner of the year?


What is a Chinese reunion dinner without Yu Sheng? Yu Sheng is a salad dish that traditionally consists of strips of raw fish, vegetables, and other condiments. Yu Sheng is literally translated as “raw fish”, but its Chinese enunciation also sounds like “abundance” in Chinese. Yu Sheng thus represents abundance and prosperity.

Pre-prepared Yu Sheng takeaway packs are readily available in most supermarkets in Singapore throughout the festive period. If you are looking for something a little different, some eateries replace the fish component with pork to celebrate the upcoming Year of the Pig. Pork-sperity Yu Sheng by Ichiban Boshi essentially replaced the fish component with Bak Kwa (Dried savory meat made from minced pork or chicken) and added a Japanese-inspired Yuzu sauce to the mix.

It’s the year of the Pig

This Lunar New Year marks the year of the Pig. In Chinese culture, the sacrificing of a pig and the consuming of pork is a prominent part of many Chinese festivities and celebrations for pigs are the symbol of health. Hence it would be doubly remiss if there is no pork dish at the reunion dinner table. The traditional pork dish for a Chinese for any celebratory occasion would be the barbequed whole suckling piglet. If the preference is for something different and a little western, do consider Roasted Pork Belly Roulade with Seafood Mince from Man Fu Yuan restaurant.

There’s always a roasted duck

A celebratory Chinese feast is never complete without a roasted poultry. A whole roast duck is an easy and affordable takeaway that looks great on the dining table.

Pen Cai

Pen Cai is a one-pot Chinese dish that is Cantonese in origin that became very popular as a Chinese New Year dish amongst Singaporean Chinese in the recent years. The Singapore version of Pen Cai consists of layers of rich ingredients with auspicious sounding names or appearances. Prawns in Cantonese “ha” sounds like laughter and symbolizes happiness. Abalone looks like Chinese gold ingots and symbolizes wealth. Consuming Pen Cai has come to signify wealth and abundance for the coming year. A generous sized pot of Pen Cai will serve as an impressive centerpiece at any dining table. Many Chinese restaurants in Singapore offer takeaway Pen Cai packages for families that prefer to have their reunion dinners in the comfort of their own homes.


Roasted Suckling Pig by Bangkok Smiles (photo: Shutterstock.com)

Takeaway YuSheng Set by Kelvin Ko (photo: Shutterstock.com)


The “No plastic straws” movement in Singapore

The global trend of the “no plastic straws” movement was sparked by a video of a plastic straw being removed from a turtle’s nose that went viral 1. This video helped spark the consideration of people to reduce single plastic use waste.

Championing this movement is the Millennium Hotels and Resorts (MHR) group in Singapore. They are committed to eliminate single-use plastics from all six hotels; Orchard Hotel, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, M Hotel, Studio M, M Social and Copthorne King's Hotel2 in June 2018.

Top fast food chains such as Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Burger King (BK) are doing their bit to reduce plastic waste as well. KFC removed not only plastic straws but lids as well from all of its 84 eateries 3from 20 June 2018. KFC is making an exception for deliveries as it is logistically difficult to deliver drinks otherwise. This will reduce an estimated 17.9 metric tonnes of single-use plastic waste annually. BK shared that they will no longer provide plastic straws and lids for dine-in customers unless they need it (for children, etc). They produce about 14.7 metric tonnes of plastic waste annually and are working towards reducing it 4. Yakult Singapore have joined the movement, pre-empting their customers that they will stop including plastic straws in their packaging 8as of end December 2018.

Although experts say that banning plastic straws alone would not do much for the environment6, it is a stepping stone to the bigger picture of reducing plastic waste. It brings awareness that people can be more conscientious about their plastic waste usage.

(1)  The Turtle That Became the Anti-Plastic Straw Poster Child

(2) Six hotels pledge to eliminate single-use plastics

(3) All 84 KFC outlets to stop providing plastic straws and lids for drinks

(4) Burger King Singapore to stop providing plastic lids and straws for drinks

(5) Yakult Singapore to stop providing straws

(6) Marine debris: Killer litter



Green Turtle swimming in the Ocean

Marine litter along the coast

Plastic Straws


F&B Talents Are Giving Singapore A Good Name Internationally

Singaporeans have put the country on the map in the F&B industry by clinching coveted titles at international competitions. Some of these chefs and experts leading the way include Joshua Kalinan, the first-ever Singaporean Sake Sommelier of The Year in an international competition, Sashi Cheliah, the MasterChef Australia 2018 and Chef de Partie Koh Han Jie from Les Amis Singapore who came in first for cuisine at Young Talents Escoffier 2018.

Bestowed by the Sake Sommelier Association, Joshua Kalinan, a Singapore Airlines inflight auditor/air sommelier was awarded Sake Sommelier of The Year title. It was his third attempt before finally clinching the title as he wowed the judges with his unconventional pairings of sake and food 1. Although sake is usually known to be paired with Japanese cuisine, he intends to explore further with local Singapore hawker food as well as North Indian cuisine.

Sashi Cheliah was crowned the Masterchef Australia 2018 by beating Queensland builder Ben Borsht in the grand final on July 313. Sashi was a former officer with the Singapore Police Force’s Star Unit. He won A$250,000 (US$183,990) after scoring a record-high 93 out of 100 points in the finale against his opponent4,5. His ability to combine unique flavours with his dishes6 gave him the extra advantage to clinch the title.

Chef de Partie Koh Han Jie’s brief in the Young Talents Escoffier 2018 competition was to prepare a dish for eight persons using all parts of two farm chickens. The competition saw challengers from various backgrounds who are part of the Disciples Escoffier International organisation, a network of over 30,000 disciples across the world7. Chef de Partie Koh is the first Singaporean to have achieved the title. The Chef de Partie of Le Amis Singapore , Koh Han Jie,was among five other finalists from Switzerland, Spain, France, Italy and the Benelux. The successes exemplified above demonstrate that Singaporeans are able to achieve recognition in the culinary arts on the international stage.

(1) How Joshua Kalinan Became The World’s Sake Sommelier Of The Year http://prestigeonline.com/sg/people/-/worlds-top-sake-sommelier-indian-man-singapore/

(2)Singapore-born Sashi Cheliah crowned MasterChef Australia champion

(3)Chef de Partie Koh Han Jie from Les Amis Singapore comes in first for cuisine at Young Talents Escoffier 2018

(4) First Singapore chef wins annual Young Talent Escoffier Asia competition


Joshua Kalinan, Sake Sommelier of The Year (photo: Joshua Kalinan)

Sashi Cheliah holding his winning title with the Masterchef Australia judges (photo: 8 Days Magazine)

Chef de Partie of Le Amis Singapore, Koh Han Jie (photo: Wine&Dine Online)

Chef de Partie Koh Han Jie’s winning dish for Young Talents Escoffier 2018 (photo: DISCIPLES ESCOFFIER INTERNATIONAL, SINGAPORE DELEGATION)


News Bites


Singapore’s Liho Tea debuts in Brunei

Singapore’s own bubble tea brand, Liho, opens its first outlet in Brunei at the Times Square Brunei Darussalam. The company expects to expand to 10-12 outlets within 2 years. Liho bubble is popular in Singapore and has 93 branches across the island.


Coastal provinces drew an estimated 4.4 million tourists in 2018

Coastal provinces in Cambodia are forecast to attract more than 4.4 million tourists in 2018. The Ministry of Tourism projected that the total tourist traffic will consist of 3.5 million domestic tourists and 920,000 foreign tourists.Cambodia implemented double taxation accord with 3 countries.

Cambodia double taxation agreement with Brunei, China, and Vietnam came into effect from 1 st January 2019, according to the media release from the General Department of Taxation (GDT). Cambodia signed the agreement with Vietnam in 2018, Brunei in 2017, and China in 2016. The agreements will protect the citizens of the stated countries fromdouble taxation and help prevent income tax evasion.


Government up prisoner meals budget by 37%

The food budget for prisoners in Indonesia is increased to Rp1.79 trillion (US$126.5 million) this year, from Rp1.3 trillion (US$91.9 million) in 2018. The 37% increase in the budget is due to the sharp increase in number of prisoners. Each Indonesian prisoner is allocated a food budget of Rp20,000 (US$1.41) a day.

Consumer goods tariff hike failed to significantly reduce imports

The government implemented a higher import tariffs policy on 1,147 consumer products in October 2018. The policy was introduced help narrow the country’s trade deficit by curbing imports of consumer goods. Figures from Statistics Indonesia (BSP) showed an average monthly value of imports of US$31.1 million before the introduction of the policy. The figure declined less than 10% to US$28.1 million after the policy was implemented.


Local convenience store chain rebrands as Mini Big C

M Point Mart, a known local convenience store chain, rebrands itself as Mini Big C as Thai retailer Big C took over its management. Big C’s Thai website places Mini Big C as a 24-hour convenience store that offers over 3,500 daily products. Mini Big C will differentiate itself from other small convenience stores by offering a selection of fresh meat and vegetables.

Laos turns to historical sites and natural attractions to boost tourism

The government plans to convert more areas of natural attractions, historical sites, and other places of cultural interests, into appealing tourist destinations, the Deputy Prime Minister said during his speech at the National Assembly. The government also plans to apply to the Unesco to list the Plains of Jars as a world heritage site. Laos currently has two Unesco world heritage sites: Luang Prabang and Wat Phu Champsak.

Mercure Hotel to cease operations in Vientiane

Mercure Vientiane announced on 26th December 2018 via its webpage that it would cease operations in Vientiane. The hotel will close its doors on 1st March 2019.


Jollibee launched first Malaysian outlet in December last year

Jollibee launched its first outlet in Malaysia in Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah. Jollibee is the largest food chain in the Philippines and has embarked on an aggressive international expansion plan in the recent years. The brand is well-loved in the Philippines for its Chickenjoy fried chicken and its burgers. The company plans to launch more outlets in major cities across Malaysia.

Malaysia bans exports of 4 species of fish in January and February

Malaysia will ban export of mackerel, trevally, Indian mackerel, and pomfret, as well as shrimp, in order to stabilize prices and supply in the home market. The ban will be in place for January and February 2019.


Mini-mart chain Alfamart to add 200 new outlets this year Alfamart, an Indonesian mini-mart chain, plans to open 200 new outlets in the Philippines in 2019, according to a Fitch Ratings report. Alfamart currently has 400 outlets in the Philippines.


AVA award 2 tenders for quail eggs farms
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has awarded two land parcels for quail egg farming at Lim Chu Kang. The tender was launched using the Fixed Price tender method in June last year and closed on 4th September 2018.


EU lifts “yellow card” imposed on Thailand

The European Union (EU) has lifted the “yellow card” it has in place for Thailand sinceApril 2015 in recognition for the country’s progress in addressing illegal unregulated fishing and other human rights abuses in the fishing sector. The decision is also the first
step towards revoking the complete ban of Thai seafood exports into the EU.

Low-income earners’ New Year festivities spending to drop

The Government Savings Bank expects low-income earners New Year festivities spending to plunge to B30.2 billion (US$946 million) this year, from B57 billion (US$1.78 billion) in 2018. The bank forecast average spending per person to drop to B2,150
(US$67.33), down from B3,765 (US$117.91) last year. According to the bank’s nationwide survey, the three top spending categories for the holiday season are foodand snacks, clothing, and health drinks.

BJC plans massive expansion for new acquisition Wawee Coffee

Berli Jucker Group (BJC) acquired a local 22-outlet coffee chain Wawee Coffee mid-2018 and plans massive expansion strategy nationwide. Wawee coffee pricing starts at B35 (US$1.10), about 30% cheaper than Starbucks Coffee Thailand. The company plans to allocate a total of B2 billion to open new outlets over the next 5 years. There are 3 planned shop formats: flagship stores (at 100 square meters) mid-size branches (40-80 square meters) and kiosks (20 square meters).


Vietnamese consumers willing to spend more for quality

As income increases, Vietnamese consumers are increasingly willing to spend on quality products, according to a survey conducted by market research company Kantar Worldpanel Vietnam. Fresh foods and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) accounts for 26.8% of total spending in urban areas, and 25.9% of total spending in rural areas.


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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