Borneo Delight — ready-to-eat meals

With six meals and a sambal selection to choose from, Borneo Delight, after much experimentation had launched their ready-to-eat meals in light of the inconvenience brought by the pandemic.

It is easier now to prepare good meals with Borneo Delight’s ready-to-eat meals. With seven different dishes to choose from, and more to come, Borneo Delight aspires to introduce Sarawak through their packed meals.

Quick, tasty, wholesome

The Covid-19 pandemic has, in some way, forced the world to innovate in order to keep up and adapt to the new normal.

This notion is not limited to the advancement in the medical field, but also various other sectors. The virus has taught us that moving forward is the only way to survive.

In order to keep up to the changing ways, catering service provider Jordan’s Signature conceded that business has dropped 100 percent during the pandemic. In order for their business to survive, co-founders Bong Sik Soon and Jordan Wee had to change their business modules, providing lunch deliveries and mini buffet sets.

Jordan Wee (left) and Bong Sik Soon posing with their frozen ready-to-eat packs.

As the threat of Covid-19 was prolonged with the rise in number of cases, prompting the movement control order to be enforced for over a year, the duo saw the need to improve their business to generate more income. “Times were tough. We have a wonderful team with us and we did not want to lay them off, or even cut their paycheck. We felt that as business owners, we have a responsibility to them and their dependants.”

After much brainstorming and experimenting, Wee and Bong came up with the idea of having pre-cooked ready-to-eat meals under their brand name Borneo. Delight, to keep their business in tact during the height of the pandemic. “We revisited our customers’ requests and noticed that many of them had different working hours. They were looking for easy-to-prepare meals and that is how the idea came about.”

The ayam pansuh is part of Borneo Delight’s menu.

With the frozen pre-cooked meals packed in aluminium foil packages, Wee said that it was easy for consumers to prepare the respective meals. “Just boil them for 15 minutes. Each pack is recommended for one or two pax. You can also mix and match to create a wholesome meal for individuals and families. Customers also said that even their children were able to prepare the meals for themselves.”

Initially, some were sceptical about having reheated frozen meals on the dining table. Bong said that there were people who questioned the products. “A common perception that people have about frozen food is that it is not fresh, that the quality and taste is sub-par.

“But after being in the food industry for many years, and with Wee’s experience in the hotel industry’s large scale food preparations, we believe that it is still possible to retain the flavours, textures and freshness of cooked meals under frozen conditions.”

After spending months experimenting with different cooking methods, packaging and storage conditions, the duo finally found the formula to ensure that each pre-cooked meal offered the same quality as freshly cooked ones. “All our meals are freshly cooked and vacuum sealed before going through another round of heating before they are frozen. As we do not use any added preservatives, the extra step of heating is to ensure the quality and safety of our packed meals.”

The rendang beef could also be eaten as a tortilla.

Apart from that, Bong added that they had sent their prepacked meals for lab testing to ensure that their ready-to-eat meals and storage methods were safe for public consumption.

Launched in August last year, Borneo Delight was also created to showcase more of Sarawak through its different cuisines. Kuching was targeted as the main market, but Bong revealed that Borneo Delight had also entered Sibu and Bintulu markets.

With seven different menus to choose from, the meals are very convenient for city folk who do not have much time to prepare wholesome meals. Popular selections such as the beef rendang can also be enjoyed with tortilla wraps instead of rice, and still make for good hearty meals on the go.

So far, Wee said that the response had been very encouraging and Borneo Delight planned to add more local cuisines with local ingredients such as Terung Asam, Dabai, Petai and many others. Currently, the two women are still experimenting and they plan to release the new flavours in another month or two.

“We hope our products will be enjoyed not only by Sarawakians but also by people abroad so that they can experience and discover Sarawak through our unique local

dishes and flavours. Great culinary expert Andrew Zimmern once said, ‘Food is the simplest way to learn about another culture.’

“At the same time, by incorporating local ingredients, we can also support local businesses and in a way, help them get through these trying times,” said Bong.

Maintaining the taste and quality of the meal, the duo had gone through many experiments to ensure their ready-to-eat meals are the same as freshly cook ones!