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Food Artisans

A Whole New Level of Spicy

Monica Josephine can’t imagine a life without spice. The Manado native and Singapore permanent resident spent her early childhood years surrounded by Indonesian cuisine, which is renowned for its fiery taste and complex fusion of spices. This Indonesian heritage endowed her with a love of all things spicy – and set her on the path to becoming a foodie entrepreneur. Monica and her sister moved to Singapore for their studies when they were eight and nine years old. They soon found …

Toying with Tempeh in Malaysia

Returning to Malaysia in 2013 after 15 years working in Singapore, 48-year-old Alzari “Joey” Mahshar set himself a mission – to popularise tempeh in his home country. Tempeh is a soya bean cake from Indonesia made with natural culturing and a controlled fermentation process that binds soya beans. A staple in Indonesia, it goes well with salads, spicy condiments or as crisps. One of Joey’s fondest memories of Singapore was enjoying tempeh. Being so close to Indonesia, tempeh is easy …

Spread the Love: Bacon Jam

Breaking food stereotypes is one of the major challenges that innovative artisanal food producers face That was certainly the case for home-based Five & Two Foods after it launched its bacon jam range. “They [customers] thought it was bacon with strawberry jam,” explains co-founder Georgina Fernandez, 44. There was uncertainty over how to respond. Fernandez recalls discussing the problem with her husband and business partner, John Peter, when they first started the business in 2013. “I remember him telling me …

Saving Bees One Jar of Honey at a Time

When you think of raw honey and beekeeping, Singapore is probably the last place that comes to mind. Its highly urbanised environment means there just isn’t enough space for commercial apiaries or apiculture hobbyists. Somebody forgot to tell Xavier Tan. In 2014 the former operations manager at Hewlett Packard invested funds from his severance package into Nutrinest, Singapore’s first honey and bee rehabilitation company. Tan has always been fascinated with bees. With 10,000 to 20,000 individuals living in a single …

Sarawak Sambal with Rosana Musa

Known as the “feeder” in her circle of friends, Rosana Musa always had a deep love for food. One of her fondest memories is making breakfast for her father at age eight. After a visit to Sarawak, Rosana noted the strong difference between the typically saucy sambal and Sarawak’s distinctively dry bidayuh-style sambal. Rosana then decided to make her own version of the unique East Malaysian sambal with regional ingredients such as Bintulu belancan. Described more as a condiment than …

Homegrown Marmalades with an Exotic Twist

Singapore is an unlikely candidate in an international marmalade contest. Jams and marmalades are most associated with the English, who enjoy them spread on toast, which is eaten together with a cup of tea. Yet, in 2017, Singapore’s very own Straits Preserves clinched the Gold Medal in the Artisan Awards category at the World’s Original Marmalade Awards & Festival, held in Cumbria in the United Kingdom. The winning entry was Ginger Garden, concocted by Straits Preserves founder Sharon Lee. Ginger Garden is …