Some brands come and go; oth­ers stick around long enough to earn a place in our kitchens and our hearts

Wine & Dine - - CONTENTS -

Cel­e­brat­ing home­grown brands

What do Chee Seng sesame oil, Fong Yit kaya spread, Mag­no­lia milk, Owl cof­fee and Ayam Brand prod­ucts have in com­mon? Be­sides be­ing sta­ples in many a Sin­ga­porean kitchen, these pop­u­lar brands all boast a long and fruit­ful his­tory. Most im­por­tantly, they are all proudly home­grown.

Most peo­ple as­so­ciate Sin­ga­porean food with hawker dishes like char kway teow, car­rot cake, Hokkien mee, and chicken rice. While these dishes are cen­tral to our food her­itage, there are also the food brands that many of us grew up with and con­tinue to love to this day.

Most of our lo­cal food brands have a long and rich his­tory. Ayam Brand, for in­stance, was started by Al­fred Clouet, a French­man liv­ing in Sin­ga­pore, back in 1892. The brand’s logo was an “ayam”, which is the Malay word for rooster or chicken; over time, the prod­uct came to be known as Ayam Brand. In 1900, the brand won a gold medal at the Uni­ver­sal Ex­po­si­tion in Paris for its can­ning tech­nol­ogy, which was ad­vanced for its time.

An­other brand, Chee Seng Oil Fac­tory, was also con­sid­ered ad­vanced—it was the first sesame oil man­u­fac­turer in Sin­ga­pore to use ma­chin­ery for its pro­duc­tion. Founder Lim Tai Tin orig­i­nally spe­cialised in co­conut oil but switched to sesame in 1956. To­day, the 74-year-old com­pany makes sev­eral va­ri­eties of oil, in­clud­ing black sesame, and white sesame.

While some lo­cal food brands were built on cut­ting edge tech­nol­ogy, oth­ers banked on tra­di­tion and nos­tal­gia. Fong Yit Kaya, for ex­am­ple, is a 72-year-old com­pany that won fans for its clas­sic kaya recipe, which used rich co­conut milk, fresh eggs and fra­grant pan­dan leaves.

Then there are oth­ers like Long Beach Seafood, who rev­o­lu­tionised our din­ing scene in Sin­ga­pore with its many in­no­va­tive cre­ations such as the now-sig­na­ture black pep­per crab.


Sin­ga­pore’s old­est and most loved culi­nary brands were founded on the hard work, de­ter­mi­na­tion, busi­ness acu­men and in­no­va­tive spirit of pi­o­neers and en­trepreneurs. Over many decades, these her­itage brands have con­tin­ued to pro­duce great-tast­ing, qual­ity foods. They are syn­ony­mous with trust, value and ex­cel­lence, and are com­mit­ted to ful­fill­ing the ev­ere­volv­ing needs of the mar­ket.

In the fol­low­ing pages, find out how three made-in-Sin­ga­pore brands be­came an in­dis­pen­si­ble part of our food her­itage.

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