September 2018



Welcome to the September 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.


  • Twin seminars on Food Safety and Poultry Nutrition spark keen interest from culinary staff in Danang
  • Will pre-portioned meal kits take off in Singapore?
  • The popularity of diverse flavors of char-grilled chicken across Southeast Asia
  • News Bites
  • An egg a day keeps the doctor away
  • The wonders of sous vide



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:




Twin seminars on Food Safety and Poultry Nutrition spark keen interest from culinary staff in Danang

The two-day seminar showcased the Poultry Nutrition & Handling Workshop and Food Safety & Hygiene Seminar respectively. It was organized by the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council. The seminar evoked considerable interest among participants from the food service industry.

Participants shared their learning experiences during the presentation which covered daily issues that cropped up in their regular work routines. The combined Poultry Nutrition & Handling Workshop and Food Safety & Hygiene Seminar were held at Furama Resort Hotel in Danang. It embodied a broad spectrum of lessons covering food handling and food safety, poultry nutrition, poultry storage and handling, cutting and preparation of various poultry dishes in Asian and Western cuisines.

During the Food Safety & Hygiene Seminar, Food Safety Expert Joe Chua taught participants the various ways in which food contamination could occur and the importance of ensuring safeguards as preventive measures. Chef Norbert Ehrbar demonstrated the finer points of cutting up a whole turkey, as well as the unique ways in which turkey can be used in both local and Western meal preparations.

Most of the participants held the position of sous chefs or higher and were employed either in a hotel or an independent restaurant. The results tabulated from completed questionnaires revealed that all participants became more aware after the seminar on the presence and availability of U.S. poultry, as well as its nutritional qualities and high food safety standards. More than half of the participants also responded that they will more likely use U.S. poultry at where they work if possible. Over ninety per cent of the respondents stated that they are likely to adopt at least some of the food safety measures in the restaurants they are working at.


Margaret Say, USAPEEC ASEAN Director, provides welcome remarks at the Poultry Nutrition Workshop

Margaret Say, USAPEEC ASEAN Director, (2nd Left), Chef Norbert (3rd Left) and Food Expert Joe Chua (5th Left) during the Award of Participant Certificates

Food Safety Expert Joe Chua extolls the importance of food hygiene and food safety to seminar participants

Chef Norbert Ehrbar demonstrates the versatility of poultry in various cuisines


Will pre-portioned meal kits take off in Singapore?

As MasterChef Singapore premiered on Sunday, September 2, many would wonder - Will the program inspire aspiring home chefs and home cooking in Singapore?

In this island nation where casual dining and hawker scene provide relatively inexpensive meals for the masses, eating out becomes more of a lifestyle than a special dining occasion. According to the latest Nielsen Out-of-Home Dining Survey, almost one in four Singaporeans dine-out daily, and more than half eat out on a weekly basis1. With rising incomes, more working couples and busy work schedules, the local consumer is also increasingly willing to pay for convenience (home delivery service), the exotic (gourmet and artisanal), and healthier options2.

Home-cooked meals are generally accepted as being healthier than dine-out or pre-cooked meals delivered from various eateries. However, long working hours and availability of relatively affordable eat-outs and takeaways mean that many will continue with eat-outs, takeaways, and opt for the discerning, home-delivered gourmet meals.

This is where recent Singapore startups such as YourMama and Freshef hope to make an inroad into Singapore dining scene3,4. YourMama and Freshshef are online home delivery pre-portioned meal kits companies. Both are in the business of removing the hassle of grocery shopping and food preparation by delivering fresh pre-portioned ingredients, complete with easy-to-follow recipes for any aspiring home chefs to whip up a gourmet meal under an hour. YourMama and Freshef operate on a subscription model where the consumer pre-orders the meal plan on a weekly basis.

Pre-portioned ingredients are home-delivered together with a step-by-step recipe card. The advantages are as follows: no grocery shopping hassle, no menu planning headaches, and no wastage from expiring ingredients. Unfortunately, one must still clean up after preparing home-cooked meals. Pre-portioned meal kits were the rage in the West over the past few years, spawning a multitude of companies offering weekly home-delivered meal kits to aspiring home chefs at reasonable cost. Highly prominent companies include Blue Apron and Plated in the US and HelloFresh in Europe. The concept was so well-received that local supermarkets in U.S. sold pre-portioned meal kits.

Only time can tell if quick-and-easy home gourmet cooking will take root in Singapore. If it does, other ASEAN cities, those with small yet significant population of savvy and higher middle-income working professionals, may provide the basis for expansion in the region.


1. Nielsen Out-of-Home Dining Survey (2018)
2. Nielsen Global Health and Ingredient-Sentiment Survey (2016) 3.


Freshef in Singapore


The popularity of diverse flavors of char-grilled chicken across Southeast Asia

Fragrant and well-flavored grilled chicken cooked slowly over simmering coal embers are a staple in many Southeast Asian cities. The secret to the burst of flavors as one sinks teeth into the soft and juicy meat lies in its marinade, which is often reflective of traditional local spices. The cooking method involves slowly grilling the marinated meat over smothering smoky coals adds to the rich aroma.

Bangkok’s Gai Yang (literally translates as “grilled chicken”) is possibly the best-known grilled chicken dish in Southeast Asia due to the spread and popularity of Thai cuisine in the global market. It is available in almost any food center across Bangkok and is one of Thailand’s most popular hawker foods. Gai Yang originated from the Laos and North-Eastern (Isaan) Thailand. The traditional version of Gai Yang (or Ping Gai as known to the Laotians) requires a whole chicken to be halved, flattened, and marinated overnight before affixed to a pair of bamboo skewers. The marinade is made from garlic, coriander root (cilantro), turmeric, white pepper (cayenne pepper), local palm sugar, fish sauce, and a dash of lime juice. The chicken is char-grilled to perfection over a simmering charcoal grill and usually served with warm sticky rice and somtam salad (spicy raw papaya salad) in Thailand. Laotians, however, consume their Ping Gai with sticky rice and laarb (a spicy citrus Laotian salad).

As one gets to the south of Bangkok, the fish sauce gets replaced by soy sauce, lime juice is not used, and turmeric flavor gains prominence over coriander root as Malay influence steps in. Malaysians love their Ayam Panggang Kunyit (grilled turmeric chicken) where chicken thighs are marinated in a rich mix of regional spices that includes a liberal dose of turmeric, lemongrass, ginger, galangal (lengkuas), cumin and coriander seeds. The range of spices used reflects the region’s history. Sometimes, coconut milk is used to help tenderize the meat, or as a glaze during the slow-grill process. Ayam Panggang Kunyit is served with steamy hot rice with achar (a spicy pickled vegetable dish) on the side.

As seventy-five percent of the population is of Chinese origin, Singapore has added the Chinese influence on the Southeast Asian grilled chicken marinade. The ever-popular Singapore hawker grilled chicken wings marinade is a blend of Malay and Chinese influence. The marinade is usually made from a blend of shallot, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Some marinade is set aside for use to baste the chicken wings during the final minutes of the grilling. The result is a caramelized sweet and sticky glaze that covers the chicken wings, giving the Singapore hawker-grilled wings their unique texture and flavor.


Gai Yang, Bangkok’s best known chicken dish

Grilled turmeric chicken thigh sold in a Singapore food stall

Grilled chicken wings on display in a Singapore hawker stall


Are you interested in finding out more on the following?
1. Nutritional qualities in chicken, turkey, duck & eggs
2. Import Requirements for Individual ASEAN Countries
3. Buyer’s Guide
4. Food Sector Reports by individual USDA offices in ASEAN
5. Recipes

You may obtain the information by going into our USAPEEC ASEAN website:


Newsbites - Consumer Markets


Kam’s Roast opens first Indonesian outlet
Kam’s Roast, a Michelin-starred Hong Kong-based roast goose restaurant, has opened its first Indonesian outlet in northern Jakarta.


Philippines to welcome American Red Lobster and Popeyes
American Red Lobster restaurant, partnered with The Bistro Group Philippines, will open its first outlet in the Philippines by end of this year. The restaurant, known for its sustainably sourced and traceable seafood, will be located at Conrad Manila in Pasay. Inside Retail Philippines reports, American fast-food chain Popeyes signed a master franchise agreement in the Philippines with local operator Kuya J Holdings. The first Popeyes outlet in the Philippines should be in Manila.

Korean Harim Group to start selling frozen poultry products in Philippines Harim Group, a Korean poultry giant, will soon commence selling frozen poultry products such as chicken nuggets and Samgyetang – a Korean chicken ginger soup – in major cities within the Philippines. The company received approval from the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration in July.


29.4 per cent profit growth for Q2, 2018: 7-Eleven Malaysia
This year, 7-Eleven Malaysia announced a profit surge of 29.4 per cent in quarter two from the previous quarter. The company reported US$135 million in revenue and US$3.17 million in net profit after a successful internal restructuring and implementing improved consumer promotion strategies. 7-Eleven Malaysia has 2,241 outlets nationwide as of quarter two in 2018.


Myanmar to see first Krispy Kreme outlet
Yangon residents will be able to purchase their first Krispy Kreme doughnut on September 16 at Times Link Mall in Bahan Township. The company plans to open ten outlets in Yangon over the next couple of years before expanding to other parts of Myanmar.

Myanmar to allow 100% foreign-owned companies
Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) recently issued Directive 25/2018 that permits 100 per cent foreign-owned companies to operate in a retail or wholesale business within the country. Under the new law, 100 per cent foreign-owned companies must make initial investments of US$3 million to operate a retail business and US$5 million to operate a wholesale business.


BJC Thailand to launch new urban concept supermarket
Berli Jucker Plc (BJC), operator of Big C hypermarket outlets in Thailand, said they are investing B40 million (US$1.2 billion) in a new supermarket concept that will cater to the urban food market trend. Big C Food Place will open on October 28, 2018 at the Bangsure Gateway Complex with 15,000 products for sale.

Kasemchaifood to offer fresh egg delivery service to end consumers
Kasemchaifood, a major egg producer in Thailand, teamed up with DHL eCommerce to offer direct farm-to-home fresh egg delivery service. The eggs will be delivered within 24 hours of order placement online. The company extends their traditional B2B business model to include an online B2C component by leveraging DHL eCommerce’s national delivery network.

Tesco Lotus Thailand opened 45 new outlets first seven months of 2018
Tesco Lotus Thailand has opened 45 new outlets across Thailand in the first seven months of 2018. The new offerings include six hypermarkets, one department store, one Talad supermarket, and 37 local Tesco Express convenience stores. The company will continue to focus on new outlets in second-tier cities in Thailand for the rest of 2018.

Cali-Mex debuts first Thai outlet
Cali-Mex, an American restaurant chain selling American-style Mexican food, debuts its first Thai outlet at Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Soi 22’s Holiday Inn. Cali-Mex will also offer Thailand’s first beer taps at the table where customers will be charged by volume consumed. The company plans for 20 outlets over the next three years.

Five new Big C hypermarkets in Thailand by end 2018
Big C will add five new hypermarkets to its portfolio in Thailand by the end of this year, bringing its total number of outlets to 148. Berli Jucker Plc (BJC), operator of Big C in Thailand, said the company will invest B300 million (US$9.2 million) for each new hypermarket.

Takashimaya Co to launch first Thai branch in November 2018
High-end Japanese retailer Takashimaya Co will launch its first shopping outlet at Iconsiam complex in Thailand in November this year. Takashimaya is the prime tenant at newly completed Iconsiam commercial complex located on the West Bank of Chao Phraya River. Takashimaya Co. expects the Bangkok branch to be profitable from its second year of operation.


Singapore’s CCCS fined 13 poultry distributors S$26.9 million for collusion
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) fined 13 fresh chicken distributors a record S$26.9 million (US$19.7 million) for price-fixing and non-compete agreements on September 12, 2018 after a four-year investigation. These 13 distributors supplied more than 90 per cent of fresh chicken products in Singapore.

SEEDS Capital seeking co-investment partners for Singapore-based agri-food startups
SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore (ESG), is calling for co-investment partners to help groom Singapore-based startups in the agri-food technology sector. The call for partnership will close on October 5, 2018. SEEDS Capital will provide a co-matching of 7:3 for the first S$500,000 of co-investment, and up to S$4 million for a deep-tech startup. Applicants will need to show agri-food sector expertise and experience in nurturing startups.

Taiwanese bakery Wu Pao Chun signed joint venture with BreadTalk for Singapore branch
Taiwanese bakery Wu Pao Chun signed a joint venture with Singapore’s Breadtalk Group to open its bakery in Singapore in 2019. The Taiwanese bakery is named after its founder, Wu Pao Chun, who won the Master Baker at the Masters de la Boulangerie title in Paris in 2010 with his Taiwan Litchi Rose Bread.


Surge in chicken imports volume in Vietnam
Vietnam imported about 88,000 tons of chicken meat, valued at an estimate of US$84 million in the first six months of 2018, according to data from Vietnam’s customs department (CGD). The country imported about 123,000 tons of chicken in 2017.


An egg a day keeps the doctor away

It is not just apples that keep the doctor away. Eggs do too1. According to studies conducted, consuming an egg daily can lead toward reducing risk of heart disease1.

Data was collected among 461,213 participants aged 51 years on average. None of them had a prior history of suffering from heart disease. Almost 50 per cent of the participants were part of the study for more than nine years. The results revealed that 83,977 participants suffered from heart disease or faced a heart attack or stroke during the study. 9,985 individuals passed away from suffering these ailments during that period. The study revealed that those who consumed an average of 0.76 eggs daily were 11 per cent less likely to have heart diseases and 18 per cent less likely to die from such conditions1. According to the study, when eggs are consumed in moderation, such as one a day, individuals did not display signs of developing heart diseases1.

Besides reducing the risk of developing heart disease, eggs contain approximately 200 milligrams of cholesterol which block the liver from producing low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL is classified as bad cholesterol that builds up in blood vessels. It can lead to clots and heart attacks. To achieve optimal heart health, adopting a Mediterranean diet is recommended1. This type of diet includes nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry. Research suggests that some benefits derived from the Mediterranean diet are reduced risk of depression, weight loss, and better control of blood sugar levels2.

1. Asia One. (2018). An egg a day tied to lower risk of heart disease. [online] Available at:
2. Eating Well. (2018). 8 Ways to Follow the Mediterranean Diet for Better Health. [online] Available at:


Fresh whole eggs

Healthy chicken skewers


The wonders of sous vide

Bonjour! Have you ever ordered a chicken dish in the restaurant that was cooked in sous vide style and wondered what that was?

It is French with a literal meaning of “under vacuum”1. It refers to the cooking method where food is secured in a zip-lock bag and placed into a water bath at a precise temperature for hours1. The food will be cooked slowly until ready. As compared to other cooking techniques, sous vide eliminates the hassle of manipulating other elements during food preparation, such as heat1.

Sous vide cooking style provides several cooking benefits2. Chefs can expect consistent results in the final product since there is precise control of the cooking temperature. By cooking food using the sous vide technique, the cooked food remains moist, tender, and flavorful as food is locked in a sealed bag.

The sous vide cooking technique also offers some healthy benefits3. As the cooking process locks in the flavors of the food naturally, no additional salt is required to enhance the flavor profile. For example, chicken cooked in this method will not lose its nutrients and minerals. For instance, Wafuken serves fusion cuisine to their diners in Singapore4. They pride themselves in preparing food via sous vide cooking method4. Some of their popular protein dishes include their signature sous vide chicken breast that is seasoned with pepper and sous vide smoked duck5.

1. Michelin Guide. (2017). Kitchen Language: What is Sous Vide? [online] Available at:
2. Anova Culinary. (2018). What is Sous Vide? [online] Available at:
3. Clifton at Home. (2018). 10 benefits of sous vide cooking. [online] Available at:
4. Wafuken. (2018). About Wafuken. [online] Available at:
5. Wafuken. (2019). Our Menu. [online] Available at:


A sous vide meal served at Wafuken Credits: @wafuken

A healthy sous vide chicken meal


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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