MOONCAKES of myriad flavours and textures were the rage this Mid-Autumn Mooncake Festival and one of the most unusual was the Koorimo range. I must say their packaging in my professional opinion as The Travelling Gourmet is the most innovative and environment friendly! Their mooncakes come packed in an eye-catching super-colourful rectangular lunch box with cute artwork featuring their cartoon Koorimo girl with a happy smile. It has a collapsible handle, and you can re-use it to pack your lunch or even for your school books and pencil case. The Mooncakes also come in mini sizes. This is excellent in terms of portion control for those on a diet and are scared of becoming overweight! Incidentally, Kuri is Japanese for Chestnut and Chestnuts are very closely entwined with Autumn in Japan.
J’adore the Koorimo Yellow paste Mooncake…a slightly sticky mouth-feel, it’s light, not heavy on the palate, not over sweet, velvety texture and soothing, fragrant chestnut flavours. They also have Brown Paste Chestnut filling with a whole Chestnut in the middle, baked to a lovely golden brown hue.
In an exclusive interview with the CEO of FoodXervices Inc, which makes the Koorimo range of products including ice cream, now retailing in Cold Storage and The Marketplace, bubbly and bright Nichol Ng told me more about her passions & Koorimo…
The Travelling Gourmet (TTG): What was your best dining experience?
Nichol: We took the famous ‘Blue Train’ in South Africa. One of the best dining experiences was in Capetown in Sun Citywhen I was 13 years old. It was very luxurious. The Ostrich Egg sunny side out was as big as a pizza, fresh seafood, squid steak 4cm thick! At 9 years old, my father brought me and my brother to Japan…Kobe Beef and hot pot were delicious. I ate and ate and ate…My best memories are with my family. My father is in the food business so he would bring us along on his trips…
TTG: Your father reminds me a lot of my father. He was a great gourmet…There’s a wave now towards low salt, low fat, low sugar food and snacks nowadays for health reasons. Will Koorimo explore this avenue?
Nichol: We are planning for next year. The learning curve is very steep. In Hong Kong they have 30% Chestnut and 70% Lotus paste but our Koorimo is 100% Chestnut. We can’t make the paste with zero oil. We are planning to introduce a low sugar version for next year…and also salted egg next year.
TTG: What was the inspiration behind Koorimo?
Nichol: We want to be the Ambassador for Japanese Chestnuts…in Japan in the Autumn, there are special cakes dedicated to the Chestnut, and the Japanese celebrate Autumn by eating Chestnuts. Products to embody the Chestnut…
TTG: Are your Chestnuts from Japan?
Nichol: They are the Japanese breed…variety, but grown in the province of Jiangsu near Xuzhou in China under strict quality control. We have 154,000 mature trees and over 20,000 still growing. The Japanese come to carefully check on the quality of our Chestnuts. The Chestnuts are cooked to a Japanese recipe and made into a paste in Singapore. Our mooncakes with the Chestnut filling are baked here in Singapore!
TTG: How big is your Chestnut Orchard in China?
Nichol: It is 180 hectares. We export our Chestnuts to Japan too.
TTG: In Asia what are the top markets for your products?
Nichol: Singapore,Hong Kong…Bangkok and our next target is Guangzhou in China.
TTG: What is the best selling product in your portfolio?
Nichol said with a cheerful smile, “Koorimo ice cream!”
I’ll say YUMMY YUMMY to that!
It was a pleasure to interview Nichol, one of the nicest CEOs I have ever met.