Singapore Business Review Feature

Edmund Goh Chang Yang, 28, and Jake Pang Zhi Wen, 26, owners of Wafuken

Edmund and Jake have not much kitchen experience and zero business background but have overcome great obstacles and grown from strength to strength to successfully build a solid brand well known today in the health-food industry and fitness community in just one year. Wafuken, located Asia Square’s Food Garden, offers healthy Japanese-style rice bowls.


Edmund has a Diploma in Culinary Skills at Shatec and had a one year internship at The Shangri-La Hotel. Jake, on the other hand, graduated Bachelor in Information Technology from Monash University

After getting his Diploma, Edmund decided to do something different other than following the usual route of furthering his education or diving straight into his kitchen career. He worked as a flight steward for Singapore Airlines to travel and learn more about food and F&B concepts around the world. “Travelling gave me tons of ideas to create dishes inspired by my trips. That creativity has helped create the concept and dishes I now serve our customers,” he said.

Jake meanwhile is self-taught through books, videos and tons of experimenting. He shared that he used to be overweight but started to diet and exercise. He is now selling the same diet techniques to his customers.

http://sbr.com.sg/hotels-tourism/exclusive/13-hottest-restaurateurs-aged-40-and-under#show

Singapore Successful Brand: Wafuken

Health Tasting Good

Healthy food can and should go beyond pedestrian salad offerings, being able to offer as much flavour as they do nutritional content for satisfying and wholly-balanced meals. Wafuken, headed by founders Mr Edmund Goh, Mr Desmond Sim, Mr Jake Pang and Mr Deon Tee, has been delivering customisable, quality Japanese sous-vide both for dine-in and delivery to
Singapore’s city-centre since 2015.

Coming from previous fields such as IT, finance and hospitality, the directors united in their passion for cooking while recognising the potential in providing more varied options for nutritious meals. Opportunity waits for no one, as the directors started Wafuken despite not having much prior experience in F&B.

The name Wafuken is a portmanteau of “wafu”, Japanese-style western cuisine, and “ken”, short for “kenko”, meaning wellness. Sous-vide became the cooking method of choice for Wafuken as the gentle cooking method doesn’t mask original protein flavours, nor require excessive seasoning, unhealthy fats or sugar to produce delicious dishes.

Passion is what brought the founders together, with the support of family, friends and staff giving Wafuken its head start. In fuelling Wafuken’s lasting success however, it is the founders’ dedication and hard work that endures. The founders recall “hell week”, Wafuken’s first opening, when a mishap in the kitchen landed Mr Jake in the A&E during a time when
they still needed to prepare ingredients until five in the morning.

Today’s Wafuken continues to serve delicious meals based on restaurant-grade meat from premium suppliers, as it is their belief to only use quality ingredients for quality meals. The highly customisable online a-la-carte menu and ordering portal features a large selection of proteins including chicken, salmon, dory, Oyster Blade steak, Wagyu Rump and more.

These can be ordered and paired with varied add-ons such as vegetables and carbohydrates, including Japanese brown rice, for an affordable, nutritious and delicious bowl. With two locations in Singapore’s city-centre, patrons can also choose to dine-in at Wafuken’s new OUE Downtown location as delivery is currently limited to Singapore’s CBD area.

As these affordable sous-vide meals became the daily routine of its regulars while also being featured on radio shows and in newspapers, Wafuken continues to engage patrons and garner feedback for menu updates through social media and regular campaigns. In staying true to its fitness and health roots, the restaurant is also activeinsponsoring health and
fitness campaigns.

Wafuken would not be where it is today without the consistent support of its staff, and the founders promote working as a family within the team of 22. As Mr Goh notes, “hospitality is key in any business transaction”, which rings equally true for both customers and staff. “If our staff is happy, chances are our customers will be satisfied too.” With benefits such as meal allowances and ample rest time, Wafuken’s staff now quite literally “works as a family” as team members have now also brought their own family members on board to become part of the Wafuken staff.

Wafuken continues to focus on strengthening its brand within Singapore, envisioning more outlets island-side while also rolling out island-wide delivery. The brand is also exploring franchising options for entering current patrons’ home markets regionally and internationally.
Without compromise to dedication in consistent food quality, Wafuken will continue to provide healthier, scrumptious sous-vide options for the CBD and the whole of Singapore in years to come!

iFitness Magazine

Delectably healthy food at Wafuken

Wafuken at Asia Square is one healthy eatery you want to keep in your to-go list. Meat and fish (proteins) are sous vide to ensure it is cooked evenly, and that it retains moisture, flavour and most importantly, nutrients.

This method of cooking is usually used in higher end gourmet restaurants but more chefs are beginning to learn the benefits of sous vide and choosing to use it in their kitchens. Yet it is still a rarity in food stalls located in foodcourts, which is why Wafuken is unique in their offerings.

Wafuken’s food also does not contain unhealthy fat or excessive sugar. They season and flavour their dishes with a combination of herbs, spices and quality ingredients. But the proof is always in the pudding and Wafuken does not disappoint.

Their signature Truffle Wagyu Don (S$24.90) is amazing and you will likely get hooked on it. The sous vide Wagyu steaked is so tender and flavourful. It is seasoned with truffle salt and topped with black winter truffle oil. It is perfect on its own but if you are into stronger flavours, you can choose the Garlic Soy or Yakiniku Tare sauce.

The Chicken Don (S$8.90) with their sous vide chicken breast seasoned with shiso salt, is deliciously healthy and the most affordable set on their menu.

If you are feeling a little fussy or maybe creative, you can also create your own meal with a choice of one protein and two vegetables/carbs. Prices vary depending on the choices you pick. A sous vide salmon with asparagus, soba salad, plus an add-on onsen egg will set you back about S$14.90.

You can check out their full menu online at www.wafuken.com

http://www.ifitnessmag.com/delectably-healthy-food-at-wafuken/

Pinky Piggu Feature

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Wafuken @ Asia Square ~ Food Kisok That Sells Healthy Japanese Rice Bowls

My tummy was fixed on getting that Instagram-lovely bowl of beef donburi from Wafuken, but Mr Ang made a special mention that the owners are hot. "Hot", according to the recent "Hot Hawkers" feature by Straits Times.

A meal with both good looking food and owners? Why not? Humans are such visual beings. Haha!

Located at Asia Square Tower 2 where the food garden is, Wafuken positions itself as a food kiosk that sells healthy Japanese rice bowls.

And looking at the owners' lean physique, it does give the healthy concept a credibility edge. Meet Edmund Goh, 27, a Shatec Institute culinary graduate and ex-SIA crew, and Jake Pang, 25, an avid boxer and gym-goer.

They use high quality non-frozen meat, and employ the sous-vide cooking method to retain its moisture and nutrients. Seasoning is minimum, and Australian brown rice is served (instead of Japanese rice) for more flavor and fibre.

Sounds really guilt-free!

Our bowl of Truffle Wagyu Don ($24.90) looked promising with pinkish slices of grain-fed, Kobe BMS 8 wagyu rump seasoned with truffle salt and perfumed with black winter truffle oil. The sous vide beef was tender, but lacked the smoky aroma which I seek. While it is highly recommended to enjoy it on its own, we thought a generous dash of the garlic soy sauce gave a much-needed lift to the overall taste.

Accompanied by an onsen egg and brown rice which gave a nutty and chewy bite, the bowl did feel "cleaner and lighter" than usual. Suitable for you who are looking for a healthier choice.

Besides the Truffle Wagyu don, there are also choices of Beef (Sirloin Steak) Don ($14.90), Chicken Don ($8.90) and Salmon Don ($12.90), as well as "Create Your Own" option.

http://www.pinkypiggu.com/2015/07/wafuken-asia-square-food-kisok-that.html

Daniel Food Diary Feature

“Wafu” is a Japanese style of western cuisine, while “Ken” is shortened from the word “Kenko”, which means wellness in Japanese.

There are 2 Wafuken outlets in the CBD – the first at Asia Square Tower 2, the other at Downtown Gallery.

Wafuken focuses on cooking ALL their proteins using the sous-vide method. I found that the process helped for certain food items such as chicken breasts in keeping them juicy and smooth, but may not be so for all types of meats.

When it comes to ordering, there are 2 steps – choose your proteins, then the sides.

The proteins include Chicken Breast ($4 for half, $6 for full), Dory ($8), Salmon ($10, $12 for salmon belly), Oyster Blade Steak ($7 for half, $12 for full), Hamburg Steak ($10) and Wagyu Rump ($20 for half, $30 for full).

The sides range from Steamed Vegetables, Furikake Japanese Brown Rice ($2.00) Sweet Potato Salad ($2.00), Chawanmushi ($2.00), Wafu Salad ($2.00), and Cold Soba ($2.00).

While this allows customisation, I thought that the portion could be on the pricier side when compared to other salad and grain places around. If you order say 2 proteins and 2 sides, it might have cost more than 20 bucks.

Recommended items to order include the tender Chicken Breast ($4, $6), Salmon which is sous vide then torched to finish for an aburi aroma, and Wagyu ($20, $30) rated BMS 5, sous vide for 12 hours, then given a flame grilled treatment.

I liked the inclusion of Chawanmushi, not often found elsewhere, but included protein in the form of steamed egg, and some wobbly smooth texture in the mix.

As I don’t see any other salad place at Downtown Gallery with the exception of a salad vending machine (maybe I missed out), my humble suggestion is to ‘beef up’ on raw greens – to have spinach, romaine, wild rocket. Possible?

Straits Times Feature

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Wafuken, a food stall at the Asia Square Food Garden, specialises in sous vide meat and fish options that are pan-seared, torched or grilled when served.

First, you choose a protein - chicken breast, dory, salmon, steak, hamburger patty or truffle wagyu rump (from $4 a serving and upwards). Next, you can pick the don buri option ($4) with seasoned Japanese brown or white rice, served with an onsen egg; or opt for a choice of carbs ($2 each) ranging from rice to pasta to soba. Side dishes (from $1 to $2.50 a serving) include steamed vegetables, tofu and more. Expect to pay about $10 and upwards for your grain bowl.

 

http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/food/9-places-for-grain-and-poke-bowls-in-singapore

Her World Magazine

Looking fit and healthy comes in handy when running a health food kisok, say the co-owners of Wafuken, a two-week-old kiosk that sells healthy Japanese rice bowls.

Mr Jake Pang, 25, says it is much easier to initiate dining collaborations with gyms. He says: "Sadly, the world is superficial, but it is easier to sell a health- related concept when you look healthy and fit."

He and his business partner and former army buddy Edmund Goh are avid gym-goers who dabble in sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts and calisthenics work-outs.

Mr Pang, who is attached, took part in inter-gym boxing matches when he was an Information & Technology undergraduate at the University of Melbourne. He says being good-looking and eloquent helped in negotiating with food suppliers and bank staff when starting up the business.

The stall sells Japanese rice bowls topped with the likes of chicken breast seasoned with shiso salt and Australian wagyu with truffle oil. And business has been brisk, with about 200 bowls sold a day. Both he and Mr Goh spend most of their 15-hour work days in the kitchen, while their shop assistants tend to customers.

Mr Goh, 27, a culinary arts graduate from Shatec Institute, was an air steward with Singapore Airlines for two years before quitting to try his hand at his first business venture.

The 1.75m tall bachelor, who has a brown belt in taekwondo, says that when he was with SIA, some female Japanese passengers called him kawaii (cute in Japanese).

He adds cheekily: "I'd rather customers say that the food we serve looks good, but I wouldn't mind if they comment on our looks too."

http://www.herworldplus.com/lifestyle/food/singapore-has-hot-hawkers-too