Food producers adapt for slice of halal market

SMH group operations director Johnson Tay with his company's halal dimsum offerings. It took SMH about a year of testing before it was satisfied that its halal version of siew mai tasted identical to the original non-halal versions.
SMH group operations director Johnson Tay with his company's halal dimsum offerings. It took SMH about a year of testing before it was satisfied that its halal version of siew mai tasted identical to the original non-halal versions.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA
Golden Bridge managing director Ong Bee Chip, with halal products sold under the El-Dina and Kizmiq brands.
Golden Bridge managing director Ong Bee Chip, with halal products sold under the El-Dina and Kizmiq brands.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
SMH Foods Enterprise staff prepare Thai pandan leaves chicken. Food manufacturers such as Golden Bridge and SMH had to construct separate manufacturing facilities to ensure their food would not be contaminated with non-halal sources.
SMH Foods Enterprise staff prepare Thai pandan leaves chicken. Food manufacturers such as Golden Bridge and SMH had to construct separate manufacturing facilities to ensure their food would not be contaminated with non-halal sources.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

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When dimsum manufacturer SMH Foods Enterprise approached hotels with its halal version of siew mai - a Cantonese delicacy usually made with pork - chefs were not keen to serve it in their restaurants.

But SMH, which was confident that its chicken version tasted just like the original, found a way to convince the cooks - by offering them samples to try without disclosing the ingredients.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2018, with the headline 'Food producers adapt for slice of halal market'. Print Edition | Subscribe