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Eat it, then buy it: Restaurants now sell their signature sauces and foodstuff

Restaurants are doing more than just serve food - they are also packaging food products for sale

Have you tasted a sauce at a restaurant that was so delicious you wished you could use it in your home cooking? Or, at a cafe, sipped a tea so fragrant that you wished you could serve it to your guests?

Thanks to a growing number of eateries that produce in-house food products such as jams, sauces, condiments and beverage blends for retail, diners can now take home the flavours they enjoy.

At least nine eateries have expanded into food retail in the last nine months.

New entrants include Chinese restaurant chain Din Tai Fung, which will roll out its sauces from Oct 13, and The Marmalade Pantry, which will launch jams on Oct 17.

D'Good Cafe, known more for its brunch and coffee, introduced its tea brand, DGC Tea, at its second outlet in Ngee Ann City last month. Its first outlet is in Holland Village.

Some eateries see food retail as a side business to cater to diners who have asked to buy their food products.

A spokesman for Din Tai Fung says: "Our customers haveasked if they could buy our condiments home." It will sell its sauces at its 12 outlets.

Other eateries see food retail as another source of revenue and produce their goods on a large scale.

Three-month-old Japanese dessert kiosk Matchaya in Tanjong Pagar is selling the Japanese tea blends that are used in its soft serve, drinks and sweets, which helps diversify its revenue.

The products are also sold at lifestyle shops such as Naiise and Megafash and flea markets. Co-owner Kevin Chee, 29, says this helps "expand the brand's exposure".

Selling its products across various platforms also draws people to visit the shop to try out its soft serve and sweets.

This is also what d'Good Cafe owner Mike Chin, 49, hopes to achieve with DGC Tea, which comprises teas ranging from white and oolong teas to adventurous flavours such as pineapple green tea and rum and raisin.

Of the more than 100 types of tea under the brand, 51 are available for retail.

Mr Chin says: "Diners who come for the food and coffee can go over to the tea bar to sample the teas and chat with our tea sommeliers."

Chinese restaurant chain Crystal Jade made its foray into food retail in April by bottling three sauces - Hong Kong-style chilli oil, shrimp paste and premium XO sauce. The restaurant's chefs worked with a sauce manufacturing company.

Food merchandise may also be in demand among tourists and Singaporeans who live overseas.

Ginger-themed restaurant Halia, which has outlets at Raffles Hotel and the Singapore Botanic Gardens, pushed out its retail line, Halia Provisions, in July.

Products include dressings, jams and condiments used in its signature dishes, such as the ginger flower sauce which is drizzled over its lemongrass and ginger prawn salad. It sells about 300 items monthly.

Ms Esther Wee, 45, managing director of The Halia Group, says: "Tourists make up half of our diners and they want to bring our products back as gifts."

The food products by these eateries are also sought after by diners who want more interesting alternatives to mass-market brands.

Mr Yudi Debeer, 42, a manager in the oil and gas industry, who recently bought matcha powder from Matchaya, says: "Although its tea powders are more expensive than those sold in supermarkets, they are of better quality."

Sports scientist Samantha Tay, 35, who tried the teas at d'Good Cafe, says: "Its rainforest oolong tea has a strong aroma. I want to check out the rest of its tea range, which has interesting flavours."


Eateries that sell their in-house food products

DIN TAI FUNG

What: The Chinese restaurant chain will launch three sauces - Taiwan Chilli Oil ($11), Fragrant Chilli Sauce ($11) and Premium XO Sauce ($33.90) - at its Centrepoint outlet on Oct 13 and at its 11 other outlets on Oct 20.

Where: 02-55 The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road

Open: 11am to 10pm daily

Info: Call 6694-2292 or go to www.dintaifung.com.sg

CRYSTAL JADE

What: The Chinese restaurant chain sells three sauces. The Superior Shrimp Paste ($9.80) and Premium XO Sauce ($16.80) are used in some of its popular dishes such as sauteed scallops with broccoli and stir-fried XO carrot cake. The Hong Kong-Style Chilli Oil ($6.80) pairs well with noodles and dimsum.

Where: 21 restaurants including Crystal Jade Golden Palace, 05-22 Paragon Shopping Centre, 290 Orchard Road

Open: Various opening hours

Info: www.crystaljade.com

HALIA

What: The ginger-themed restaurant's Halia Provisions range has seven condiments, such as the tangy Ginger Flower Sauce ($13.50), which also contains plum, rice vinegar and chilli. The sauce is used in one of the restaurant's popular dishes, lemongrass and ginger prawn salad.

Prices of its Ginger & Pineapple Jam, which is served with the bread basket and pastries during brunch, starts at $5.

Where: Ginger Garden, Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road; 01-22 Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Road

Open: Singapore Botanic Gardens: noon to 9.30pm (Monday to Thursday); noon to 10pm (Friday); 10am to 10pm (Saturday); 10am to 9.30pm (Sunday) Raffles Hotel: noon to 2.30pm, 6 to 9.30pm (Monday, Wednesday to Friday; noon to 10pm (Saturday); 11am to 9.30pm (Sunday); closed on Tuesday

Info: thehalia.com

MATCHAYA

What: This Japanese dessert kiosk sells tea blends ($14.90) such as matcha and hojicha from Kyoto and black tea from Hyogo. For tea purists, there are higher grades of matcha and hojicha ($16.90), which are used in Japanese tea ceremonies.

It also has innovative tie-ups with local brands such as baking supplies company Baking Blocks, with matcha and hojicha-infused chocolate spreads ($19.90). Those with a sweet tooth can go for the matcha and hojicha milk-based jams ($12.90).

Where: 01-72 Icon Village, 12 Gopeng Street

Open: 8am to 8pm daily

Info: www.matchaya.sg

PAPER CRANE

What: After Paper Crane's owner Kamei Cheong, 33, saw diners bring their own bottles to buy her cafe's condiments, she decided to bottle them in-house.

The Red Chilli Sauce, which is served with the cafe's buttermilk fried chicken, is a savoury mix of coriander, ginger, garlic and chilli padi; and the Green Chilli Sauce has smoky roasted chillies, coriander and lime zest. Vegetarians can go for the Roasted Red Pepper & Eggplant relish. Each 250ml bottle costs $10.

Where: 96 Waterloo Street

Open: 11am to 10pm (Monday to Saturday); closed on Sunday

Info: Call 6837-0836 or go to facebook.com/papercranesg

PLENTYFULL

What: The multi-concept restaurant-cum-grocer sells about 10 condiments and meats that are used in its dishes. Condiments made in-house include the Thai Chilli Jam ($9.90), which has dried shrimp chilli and tamarind and sambal belacan ($9.90). The restaurant also has house-smoked products such as bacon, salmon and mussels ($12 each).

Where: 01-79 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard

Open: 11.30am to 10.30pm daily

Info: Call 6493-2997 or go to plentyfull.com

SALTED & HUNG

What: This contemporary Australian restaurant sells five types of charcuterie including chorizo, salami and coppa. Rarer cuts include lardo, which is seasoned with herbs such as rosemary and thyme, and guanciale perfumed with star anise, cloves and cinnamon.

Prices range from $38 to $80 a kg. From next month, it will also sell marinated meats such as sausages, Iberico pork and hamachi collar that are good for barbecues.

Where: 12 Purvis Street

Open: Noon to 2.30pm, 6 to 10.30pm (weekday); 6 to 10.30pm, (Saturday); closed on Sunday

Info: Call 6358-3130 or go to www.saltedandhung.com.sg

THE MARMALADE PANTRY

What: On Oct 17, the chic restaurant-cafe chain will roll out four fruity jams - lime and coconut marmalade; Spanish mandarin, white balsamic & cranberry marmalade; pink grapefruit marmalade; and orange marmalade. The jams are sold as a set of four bottles and prices start at $18.

Where: Three outlets including 01-01 Osia Hotel Downtown, 100 Peck Seah Street

Open: Various opening hours

Info: themarmaladepantry.com.sg

WAKU GHIN

What: The one-Michelin-starred restaurant sells three products from chef Tetsuya Wakuda's retail line. The Tetsuya's Truffle Salt ($38) is sprinkled as a finishing touch on salads, meat and pasta dishes. The Tetsuya's Wasabi Mustard ($19) is made from wasabi from Tasmania, which has a sweeter and more robust flavour than its Japanese cousin. There is also Tetsuya's Black Truffle Salsa ($26).

Where: L2-01 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue

Open: 5.30pm till late daily

Info: Call 6688-8507

D'GOOD CAFE


PHOTO: D'GOOD CAFE

What: This cafe opened its second outlet at Takashimaya last month and has a tea bar selling about 50 teas (pictured). Popular teas include Bi Luo Chun, a green tea from China.

More adventurous drinkers can try the 16 in-house tea blends such as Pineapple Green Tea, a blend of hibiscus, apple, pineapple and coconut; and Tiramisu Black Tea, which is blended with amaranth, barley and coffee beans. Prices start at $12 for a 30g tin.

Where: B1-56 Takashimaya, Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road

Open: 10am to 10pm daily

Info: Call 6694-1411 or go to dgoodcafe.com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 02, 2016, with the headline 'Eat it, then buy it home'. Print Edition | Subscribe