Taiwan's popular flame-grilled beef cubes arrive in Singapore, with first outlet to open on Jan 20

Co-owners Sean Lee (left) and Cheo Tian Feng are opening Huoyanshaiziniu, which sells flamed, diced beef cubes, on Jan 20.
Co-owners Sean Lee (left) and Cheo Tian Feng are opening Huoyanshaiziniu, which sells flamed, diced beef cubes, on Jan 20. PHOTO: SEAN LEE

SINGAPORE - Meat lovers, get set to sizzle.

Fans of Taiwan's popular flame-grilled beef cubes can soon get a taste of this street food favourite in Singapore.

Two young Singaporeans are opening Huoyanshaiziniu - the name is the hanyu pinyin phrase for "flamed, diced beef cubes" - at the basement of Plaza Singapura on Jan 20.

While the dish may look similar to those sold at night markets across Taiwan, the owners told The Straits Times that the Singapore store is not a franchise, but a "self-made brand".

Co-owner Sean Lee, 23, told The Straits Times on Monday (Jan 8) that he had initially approached the Taiwanese business owners, together with his friend Cheo Tian Feng, 21, to discuss the possibility of bringing in a franchise.

But when this option failed, the pair decided to forge ahead with their own version of the street food, and have since trademarked their brand in South-east Asia.

The shop will serve beef steak cubes which are first cooked over a grill, then torched and sprinkled with seasoning. At the Singapore outlet, the beef cubes will be priced at $6.90 for 130g of Angus rib-eye, Mr Lee said.

To cater to the lunch crowd, the shop will also offer the option of having the juicy cubes with Japanese rice. A rice set is priced at $8.

There are three seasoning choices - seaweed powder, garlic powder and yakitori sauces - with more to be introduced in the future.

Mr Lee said that there had been plenty of trial and error involved in searching for the perfect type of beef and seasoning flavours that would appeal to local taste buds.

Stalls selling this snack have become a staple in nearly every Taiwanese night market in recent years.

Several netizens have already expressed excitement at the news, after a sneak peek of the store front was posted on its Facebook page on Jan 5.

The post has since received close to 700 shares, with a reach of more than 100,000 said Mr Lee.

This is Mr Lee and Mr Cheo's first business venture, and they decided on beef cubes while they were both in national service.

"When we Googled a list of must-eat Taiwanese street food, we realised all of them were already available in Singapore, except the beef cubes," Mr Lee explained.

"We knew that the beef cubes are very popular and a lot of Singaporeans enjoy eating it, so we were keen on bringing it in.

"Now, Singaporeans would not need to fly to Taiwan to eat this."

The pair registered their company on the day they reached their national service operationally ready date on Nov 4, he said with a laugh.

They have pumped in a total of $250,000 into the business.