SINGAPORE - New York burger restaurant chain Shake Shack marks its entrance into Singapore at the new Jewel Changi Airport with a nod to local flavours.
Singapore exclusive items include a Pandan Shake ($7.80) with vanilla frozen custard ice cream blended with pandan, coconut, and topped with gula melaka crumble - a twist on ondeh ondeh.
There is also a Jewela Melaka Concrete (from $7.50), vanilla custard mixed with coconut salted caramel, Lemuel chocolate chunks, shortbread and gula melaka. Lemuel is a home-grown chocolate maker and the creation is part of Shake Shack's bid to work with local producers.
In addition, its Shack Attack Concrete (from $7.50) uses brownies from local patisserie Plain Vanilla.
Shake Shack's culinary director Mark Rosati, 42, who is in town for the opening preview, says that the team came to Singapore many times over the past two years to do research on local flavours.
He says: "We wanted flavours that inspire us, and as we kept coming to Singapore, we ate not as tourists, but like the locals."
The brand offers its signature burgers (from $7.50) and Shack-cago Dog ($6.50) - after all, it started off in 2004 at Madison Square Park as a hot dog cart.
Its entrance into Singapore is with South Korea-based global food company SPC Group, which operates the Paris Baguette bakery chain. The burger buns are brought in from South Korea, while the meat is from the United States.
The New York-based Mr Rosati adds that Shake Shack is looking to open 10 outlets in Singapore in the coming years, and will open in Manila and Mexico this year.
On how the brand has evolved over the years, he says: "It took three to four years to understand the evolution. We only opened our second outlet after five years, and we weren't even sure if it would be busy. We never set out to be a chain.
"What matters is that the burger is as good as it was when we started 15 years ago."