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Honolulu Coffee Shop opening in Singapore

Feb 23, 2016

Honolulu-Cafe-Hong-Kong-Wan-Chai

Honolulu Coffee Shop, known in Hong Kong for its egg tarts with flaky pastry, will open a 50-seat restaurant in Singapore in April.

At The CentrePoint in Orchard Rd, the restaurant will go head to head with Hong Kong’s Tai Cheong Bakery, which is known for its egg tarts made with shortcrust pastry and is scheduled to open in Orchard Rd within the next three months, according to the Straits Times.

Meanwhile, Tai Cheong will set up a pop-up stall early next month at a location yet to be advised. The new outlet is a joint venture with Food People, a company set up by The Pine Garden MD Wei Chan and Han Jin Juan of Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant.

Honolulu Coffee Shop is a franchise brought in by a new F&B company set up by Lee Yuen Yong, who is also MD of Asia Gourmet. That company brought in wonton noodle specialist Mak’s Noodle from Hong Kong, which has shops at The CentrePoint and Westgate, and will open a third at VivoCity in May.

Lee says not many people in Singapore know about Honolulu Coffee Shop, “but its egg tart is the best we can get in Hong Kong”. He says the recipe has 70 years of history, with all other egg tarts evolving from it.

“On more than 10 trips to Hong Kong, the team tried egg tarts from more than 50 stores before deciding that Honolulu’s are the best.”

Its signature egg tart has 192 layers of flaky pastry. Meanwhile, Chan says the market is big “and diners will figure out which egg tart tastes better”.

Honolulu Coffee Shop was founded in the 1940s by Yeung Jin Hei, who died nearly three years ago. It started out selling coffee, tea and baked goods, and over the past 20 years its menu has evolved to include everything from noodle dishes to sandwiches. Yeung’s second son Derrick, 50, took over the business in 1996 and runs it with his 51-year-old brother Wayne, who handles the six outlets in Hong Kong. Derrick has been instrumental in expanding the brand overseas, starting 18 months ago. Honolulu has three shops in Beijing and one in Shanghai. The Singapore shop will be its fifth overseas outlet and will also serve macaroni and noodle dishes as well as weekly specials.

He is now meeting suppliers and recruiting staff and chefs, who will be trained in Hong Kong. Aside from Singapore, he plans to open in Taiwan in line with his plans to go “more international”. Asked why the chain is called Honolulu, he says it dates back to the time Hong Kong was a British colony and the company wanted a Western name.

Source: Inside Retail Asia

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