Leaving No Stone Unturned – Tangy, Loaded & Interesting Question & Answer

Do you do delivery?

Yes, we will use Lalamove for delivery. The delivery fee is based on the destination from our stall location, as well as the quantity of order. Please check with us for the actual delivery fee.

 

Why can’t you waive off delivery fee, or charge a small amount of delivery fee, like some other eating outlets?

Upon pricing the Rojak, we do not price in delivery fee.

The manpower cost and transport cost is relatively high in Singapore. If we were to absorb the delivery fee, we will need to sacrifice the quantity of the food, or (worse) quality of food, or increase the price, which either way is not a desirable solution for us and consumer.

You may aware that a famous fast food eating chain has 2 different menus, one for delivery and one for in-house menu.

We do not want to have 2 menus, and believe that option of having a constant menu plus delivery fee borne by consumer is the best trade-off for consumer that require delivery service.

 

What constitute of an extremely tasty Rojak?

You’ll feel exceptionally satisfying after tasting the Rojak.

Why do you choose Rojak, instead of other dish to sell at your stall?

We love Rojak. We would like to bring back the exceptionally satisfying feeling when one tasted a finely crafted Rojak, and we believe we have delivered as promised.

 

Is Rojak your repertoire?

No.

 

Why would consumer like you spend on hawker food, instead of DIY?

The time of learning and preparing wonderful food is well ahead of the real cost of the food price. It is the opportunity cost that counts.

 

Is working as a hawker challenging?

There is no job that is not challenging.

 

When have you started?

Since 30.03.2016.

 

Would a Rojak without shrimp paste/hae ko taste good?

To us, the real question should be: Would a Rojak with shrimp paste/hae ko taste good?

 

Would foreign tourist ‘accustomed to’ or like our Rojak?

There is no need to accustom to the taste of Rojak, it is the universally tasty food.

We believe that regardless of the origin of country where the tourists are coming from, they will love our Rojak.

 

Is there any health benefits when consuming Rojak?

If you are buying Fruit & Vegetable Rojak, it is good for health.

 

Can a young hawker cook a tasty food?

Age does not/should not define if the cook can really deliver a tasty food.

If the ability of cooking an exceptionally tasty food is directly correlated with age, a 85 years old cook better than 65 years old, 65 years old is better than 45 years old and so forth, it would be the greatest industry for real old person to join in.

It is a rather naive idea to count on someone based on, or at least heavily weighing on the factor of age for the culinary skill.

We have witnessed as many young hawkers/cook/chef (as well as middle age, or old age) that are capable of delivering fantastic food to the consumer, whom we count ourselves as one too when we are off the work, that we don’t fixate the culinary skill on age at all.

 

Will a vegan and vegetarian food taste good?

The impression of vegan and vegetarian food of being bland should be shattered by the fact that most of the sauces are made from spices, which in turn are from vegetable (vegan), and which in turn make most of the dishes taste good.

You may know that most of the poultry food had been seasoned with spices/sauces (vegan and vegetarian), and it then make the poultry food taste good.

If you love brand X fried chicken, you know by now that most, if not all of the spices that make the chicken tasty are derived from plant-based ingredients.

It is how the chef creates the food that matters.

Just like ‘Can a young hawker cook a tasty food?’ question, it is rather a malicious bias.

And yes, vegan and vegetarian food will and can taste good.

 

There is review saying that the portion is small. How do you respond to this?

The paper tray that we are using now (2017-2019) for the small Rojak is square type, deep and narrow. It looked small, but if you put in a rectangular, shallow and wide plate or putting into our take away box, the portion looked healthy.

Most of the food seller would use plate instead of the type of paper tray that we used now, but we feel that our customers are of intellect kind and would not be bothered much by the appearance of how we served the Rojak.

 

How does your product bring in value for corporate who may be interested in purchasing your product?

Regardless if you are corporate or individual consumer, consumer will get supreme value and satisfaction when consuming ROJAK LINE series Rojak. It is the bottom line.

If you are working in the purchasing/HR/sales department, and would like to please and retain your customer/talent staff/client, a treat like ROJAK LINE series Rojak will definitely gratify them, and hence potentially achieving the lower cost of turnover and higher retention rate.

 

Is being contrarian your gambit?

Being obsessed in creating absolutely tasty food is the ‘gambit’, or rather, the principle.

 

What drives ROJAK LINE in providing the finest Rojak?

The desire as a consumer who would like to taste an extremely tasty Rojak.

Commercially, by selling an extremely tasty Rojak, we will be able to get a decent lifestyle.

 

How do you define ‘the finest Rojak’, especially the finest Rojak sauce?

The taste must be absolutely tasty, by all standard.

The level of tastiness must not be compromised by lowering the bar (or being just good enough), but instead consumer must be exceptionally satisfying after tasting the Rojak, AND the level of satisfaction must remain the same or similar from the first bite till the last bite.

 

Why is your price always higher than the rest? Is consumer getting the value for what they purchased?

It is because of the higher price that allows us to produce the finest Rojak to you in return. We are interested only to produce an absolutely great product, with a reasonable price, instead of a get-by product, at a fantastic price.

The product will have superior value, and consumer is getting back superior value in return.

We believe this is best ‘win-win’ situation for us as well as consumer.

 

How can you proclaim that you are the finest Rojak while your ingredient is not top-of-the-line?

The argument hinges on if one’s using ‘top-of-the-line’ ingredient, and then it is qualified as being the finest product. Or else, it is outrageous for you proclaiming yourself as the producer of the finest product/service.

If using the lobster (or any other ‘top-of-the-line’ ingredient) in a fried rice is the key in forming the finest fried rice, it is arguably that a great number of people can qualify themselves as possessing the finest frying rice skill, instantaneously.

Can a wild tiger prawn fried rice taste better than a lobster fried rice? Will lobster fried rice certainly taste better than wild tiger prawn fried rice?

Can a fine DSLR shoot the best photograph than the ‘top-of-the line’ camera?

Won’t Ocean’s Eleven (or Ocean’s series movie) clinch the Oscars due to the exceptionally strong casts?

And, will a slideshow ever able to win the Oscars?  (2006 An Inconvenient Truth)

Besides, if putting in ‘top-of-the-line’ ingredient (like the fried rice case, putting lobster in fried rice) in our standard serving, it will invariably pushing the price to be near prohibitive. It is more idealist than realist.

It would be much better for consumer to buy any of the ‘top-of-the-line’ ingredient as they want by themselves, and consume it with ROJAK LINE series Rojak (or in the fried rice case, buying lobster yourself and putting in with the chef’s amazing wild tiger prawn fried rice).

And for those idealist who still insist on ‘top-of-the-line’ ingredient argument:

How could you ascertain if whatever ingredient that you put in, for eg, that ‘American turnip’, is the ‘top-of-the-line’ (since there is always something that is more expensive)?

And if you do certain about it, would the ‘finest Rojak’ of say $550 per plate sounds ideal to you?

A movie/photograph does not necessary require top-of-the-line equipment, you as the viewer will know it once you watched a fantastic movie/photograph.

You’ll know that if it is the finest Rojak once you tasted one.

It is the finest Rojak.

 

Defining the Finest Rojak

We love Rojak, but we don’t like the pungent taste of shrimp paste/hae ko, and here we are today.

We come from a non F&B background.

The first impression as young generation does little help to be convincing at the initial stage that we are more than capable in creating the finest Rojak, as some may argue that age->experience->skill->expertise.

While experience is an important prerequisite to become an expert, it does not necessarily metamorphose someone into an expert.

We believe that it is when the desire to keep improving any product/service, coupled with the ability to execute together with experience and then someone may become an expert in his/her field.

 

Reintroducing Rojak

Most people would know what Rojak is especially for people who live in South East Asia. It’s one of the popular dishes in South East Asia.

We’ll just touch on real quick to introduce what Rojak is, and reintroduce Rojak for all in the rest of this article.

Rojak is a word from Malay, which means motley/medley/mixture/variety.

In food context, Rojak is a dish with mixture of fruits, you tiao (dough fritter) and tau pok (bean curd) together with Rojak sauce and sprinkle with peanuts grits.

 

Defining the Finest Rojak

Anyone in the market can proclaim its product/service is the ‘finest’, and hope that consumer will project the image of ‘finest’ for their product/service, but anything without solid ground to support its claim is just like a sky villa built without a solid foundation.

If we were only ‘marketing’ the finest Rojak concept without delivering it, we would have lost a huge chunk of repeated customers. We do not believe finest marketing can retain customers and protect the goodwill reputation in the long run, but do believe that only the finest product/service is able to do so. And we believe that we have delivered what we promised, that is, defining and creating the finest Rojak.

We believe that paying attention to every details, and the ability to execute it are the keys of creating the Finest Rojak.

The majority of the rest of the paragraph are to manifest how we walk the talk.

 

Rojak sauce- The soul of Rojak

Rojak sauce is considered as the most important litmus test on the tastiness of a Rojak. Or simply put, Rojak sauce dictates if the Rojak is worth mentioning for.

And when mentioning about Rojak sauce, perhaps many people will still think about shrimp paste/hae ko. We are hesitant to discuss about this issue in the first place, but it is like an elephant in the room that we think it is appropriate to discuss about.

It’s important to note that the article is not out for disparaging or smearing whatsoever.

 

Shrimp paste

Many people syncretize the concept where a good Rojak sauce is equivalent to having a good shrimp paste, and mentioned it interchangeably.

It’s a nuance concept similar with the greatest villain actor must carry a big scar on his face, or else he just can’t be the greatest villain.

It may be true in 50-80s, sci-fi or cartoon movie, but it is not the case anymore.

And things get dicey when there are two types of shrimp paste in the market that carry the similar name.

The one that is commonly used in traditional Rojak across South East Asia is called shrimp paste (black color)/hae ko/petis/otak udang/xia gao, while shrimp sauce/xia jiang (pinkish color) is the one commonly used in shrimp paste chicken/prawn paste chicken/har jeong gai. It can be confusing for many people, as the taste of this two shrimp paste are different, but it still carry the same name for the dish itself.

Shrimp paste and Shrimp sauce

Shrimp paste and Shrimp sauce

The traditional Rojak incorporates shrimp paste/hae ko/petis/otak udang/xia gao, with abundance of white sugar and peanut, some tamarind/assam, ginger flower and lime. The amount of sugar being used in the dish is compounded by the fact that there are already considerable amount of sugar added in the shrimp paste itself.

In our opinion, the pungent taste of shrimp paste/hae ko/petis/otak udang/xia gao is the key pain point that needs to be dealt with, and the above ingredients will be only able to cover about half of the pungent taste of shrimp paste.

We believe that ingredient like ginger flower and peanut should add to the goodness of the taste, instead of helping to reduce the pungent taste of a dish.

We eschew shrimp paste due to its strong pungent smell. We choose to create our own secret recipe to expel the pungent taste of shrimp paste while retaining the unique flavor of the Rojak.

And because of the Rojak sauce does not contain shrimp paste/hae ko, it is suitable to Vegan and Vegetarian consumer as well.

 

Authenticity of Rojak

Would a Rojak without shrimp paste/hae ko taste good?

To us, the real question should be: Would a Rojak with shrimp paste/hae ko taste good?

The ohm factor of an excellent Rojak is not derived from the shrimp paste itself, but the overall absolute tastiness combination of Rojak when the exceptionally well-crafted Rojak sauce combined with the ingredients.

The taste of ROJAK LINE’s Rojak sauce, together with chilled fruit, crispy dough fritter and bean curd, aromatic peanuts grits, is simply amazing.

Essentially, the real authentic Rojak is the one that will make you feel loved when you tasted one.

 

Formulating Rojak sauce – The importance of asking the right and larger question

How to make the Rojak taste good with shrimp paste?
Larger question: How to make Rojak taste good?

The difference is similar with:

How to make an object fly with flapping wings?
Larger question: How to make an object fly?

It’s the latter that creates aero plane, and it’s the latter that creates the real amazing Rojak/light bulb/smart phone (or any product/services).

Asking the right and larger question often time means about challenging the status quo, trying to find out how could be better, or pull down what is believed to be right and pursue the truth.

Many times it involves sunken cost and the mettle to change what historically was a successful product, and we are not hesitant to ask the right and larger question even so.

It poses great risk for us on the one hand when we first started ROJAK LINE stall that sells Rojak without shrimp paste, and worse, without at least the option of having a Rojak with shrimp paste.

On the other hand, it is advantageous to us due to we do not have any ‘historical baggage’ that carry upon us, for which Rojak must use shrimp paste. It allows us to select the ingredient without boundary when crafting Rojak sauce with the sole purpose of creating a really tasty Rojak sauce.

We are fortunate about this.

 

Keeping the fruits & vege fresh – Chilling Fruit & Vege  

During the initial opening of ROJAK LINE stall, all the fruits are exposed at room temperature, and we’ll put it back to refrigerator once the crowd was over.

We were worried that the fruits will become not fresh, or not fresh enough back then.

We sourced out refrigerator supplier, and invested in the chiller to keep the fruits fresh and cool.

As the first Rojak stall to use chiller, we are glad that chilled fruits in Rojak will taste better and fresher compared to expose it in the room temperature.

ROJAK LINE desktop chiller

ROJAK LINE desktop chiller

 

Homemade Chili – Retaining the fresh aroma of chili

All the chili used in ROJAK LINE are homemade, instead of getting it from supplier.

We purchased chili with the supplier in the initial stage of operating, however we decided to get our hands dirty by making the chili on our own.

It took hours to prepare the chili, at similar cost if compared with getting it from supplier. The cost will be in the contrary higher than the supplied chili if factored in the logistic and manpower cost.

We would not go to this extra miles if not because of the taste is much better.

Homemade chili retained the fresh aroma from chili itself, and it is not adulterated by any food addictive. It is fresher and blends well with ROJAK LINE’s series Rojak for those who loves to have spiciness in Rojak.

Home made chili

Home made chili

 

The Best Form of Dough Fritter and Bean curd

We believe that a well toasted dough fritter (You Tiao) and bean curd (Tau Pok) are indispensable in a qualified Rojak.

For this particular reason, we have to let consumer to wait for at least 7 minutes for us to toast the dough fritter and bean curd, to make it crispy.

The waiting time of toasting sometimes is long for both consumer and us, but it is a time well waiting for. We would not serve the Rojak just for the sake of hastiness, but at the expense of the quality (under-toasting) of you tiao and bean curd.

The taste of dough fritter and bean curd is in their best form while it is hot. Hence it is advisable to consume it as soon as you could.

Toasted dough fritter (You Tiao) and bean curd (Tau Pok)

Toasted dough fritter (You Tiao) and bean curd (Tau Pok)

 

Hygiene Practice

We believe that hygiene practice should be the first barrier to cross for any given food stall/restaurant, before entering the topic of discussing about the tastiness of the food.

Hence, it is utmost important to handle the food in the most hygienic way.

It is part of the DNA in ROJAK LINE culture.

 

Being first class – Quality, price, and value

It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.

Generally, ROJAK LINE price is higher than the rest of the Rojak outlet in the market.

It is this higher price margin that allows ROJAK LINE to serve the customers on the quality of ingredients, and thereby producing the finest Rojak to you.

It is our principle of producing wonderful food at a fair price, rather than a fair food at a wonderful price.

It is worth mentioning that food is something that is consumed in the body. In many ways, food industry is similar with pharmaceutical industry. It’s the efficacy (tastiness) of medicine (food) that matters.

It is not in any way that we agree that the price can be charged exorbitantly due to this factor, it is just a way to advocate more to judge the value of the food quality vis-à-vis price.

 

Summary

Great food is just like any great music or movie. It will just make your day when you encounter one.

We are always in pursuit of creating exceptionally tasty Rojak in particular.

If you are looking at the best Rojak, this is everything that you wanted.

This is the apotheosis of Rojak

You Tiao (Dough Fritter) Rojak / You Tiao Biscuit Rojak

You Tiao Rojak – crispy you tiao & ROJAK LINE’s Finest Rojak sauce.

You Tiao Biscuit Rojak – crunchy you tiao that is biscuit alike & ROJAK LINE’s Finest Rojak sauce.

– waiting time about 10-15 mins for You Tiao Biscuit Rojak –