Bak kwa popcorn: Singaporean start-up launches new locally-inspired range

By Lester Wan

- Last updated on GMT

The Kettle Gourmet has launched bak kwa popcorn and will soon launch chicken rice and chilli crab flavours. ©TheKettleGourmet
The Kettle Gourmet has launched bak kwa popcorn and will soon launch chicken rice and chilli crab flavours. ©TheKettleGourmet

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Singaporean start-up The Kettle Gourmet is branching out into local-flavoured popcorn such as bak kwa, and will soon launch more exotic flavours such as chicken rice and chilli crab.

The company already has a teh tarik — “pulled tea” — product, and the bak kwa — sweetened barbecued pork — is available from this week, in the run-up to Chinese New Year.

“We pride ourselves in our ever-changing, innovative flavours. If it takes off well, we will definitely be open to making it a core flavour,”​ said Zac Chua, founder and CEO.

Each batch of popcorn is hand-baked daily by a team of bakers at The Kettle Gourmet’s central kitchen in Tai Seng.

According to Chua, they pop the corn kernels to first get plain popcorn.

“We don’t use microwave but bake all our popcorn to achieve maximum crunchiness,”​ he said.

The sauce to flavour the popcorn is cooked and mixed with the popcorn. The mixture is then baked in an oven to produce the final flavoured popcorn product.

A rapidly growing business

While The Kettle Gourmet was only officially launched in November, the company’s client base has already grown to over 200 clients across B2C and B2B platforms.

Notable clients include Facebook, SATS, Trip Advisor, the Singapore Police Force, as well as Google events. Several cafes also carry The Kettle Gourmet’s popcorn.

The company recently sold over 10,000 bags of popcorn for an event in December.

The popcorn is also available from its website.

Each Premium Bag is 90g and smaller Snack Packs sold in sets of three are 30g each. Both the Premium Bag and the Snack Pack set are sold for S$10 (US$7.60).

Unique local flavours and healthier too

While The Kettle Gourmet also has popular contemporary flavours such as salted caramel, cookies and cream and Bailey’s, its eye-opening ones are the more exotic local flavours.

Chua said that the recipes for chicken rice and chilli crab flavours “are all done up”​ and they are just waiting for the right time to launch — some time around August 2018.

 “I’ve always been a foodie and popcorn is one of my favourite snacks. I was bored with the limited options available, which were usually just sweet flavours. I believe that popcorn should be an everyday snack, not just to be enjoyed at the movies,”​ said Chua.

Chua said that the company sources for ingredients from around the world, including the non-GMO corn kernels which come from South Africa.

“We continuously search for products that can make our popcorn tastier,” ​he said.

“We are also the only ones in the market with no preservatives. And our popcorn is completely trans fat free.”

Chua started The Kettle Gourmet while he was still an undergraduate in the Singapore Management University (SMU) and launched the company after graduation.

The Kettle Gourmet currently has about five full-time employees and is in the process of expanding. The company is also considering entering into Indonesia or China.

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