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Special Report

Food industry has eyes on Russia
f&b chains seek partners, franchisees

Take home

My Mum’s Cuisine has a manufacturing plant that produces an array of sauces, soups, desserts and ready meals, using the same traditional recipes as used in the restaurant chain, with the finest and freshest ingredients, and state-of-the-art production technology. With these sauces, consumers can be rest assured that the food quality is of the finest and the dishes will be consistent in terms of taste.

Pass by one of their restaurants before flying home and buy sauces, desserts, and ready meals, so you can enjoy the flavour of Singapore.

Plans for my Mum’s Cuisine branches in Russia include a dedicated corner to sell the merchandise in retail packs. For Muscovites, that will solve the problem of hard to find ingredients, not to mention unusual cooking techniques for those more used to borscht and cutlets.

Singaporeans are passionate about food and eating. Look around and the proof is everywhere! Almost in every corner of the island, you will find an endless variety of food, served hot or cold, at any hour of the day or night! In this cosmopolitan and multicultural city, you can expect nothing less than a melange of flavours from around the globe. It’s not just East-meets-West when it comes to feasting in Singapore – it is a tasty tale about a country’s unique cultural tapestry woven in with its distinct influences to capture the essence of Singapore’s multicultural heritage.

Now a fast growing group of hospitality chains are eager to bring their particular brand of cuisine and service to Russia, following the innovative Ichiban Boshi, which brought its Singapore take on Japanese cuisine to Moscow three years ago.

A restaurant keen to establish a presence in Russia is My Mum’s Cuisine, the stylish chain serving authentic Singapore cuisine based on recipes created by the founders mum using elements of Chinese, Malay and Indian dishes. Diana Cheng, the Founder and Managing Director, was excited by the prospect after meeting restaurateurs in Moscow and St Petersburg. “Russians are adventurous in trying new cuisines because of their global exposure. This creates an opportunity for us,” she said in interview with Passport.

“My Mum’s Cuisine has recently opened in Kuala Lumpur’s Starhill Gallery, the prestigious shopping mall linked to the Ritz Carlton Hotel. We service both shoppers and hotel guests. Our diners are very affluent globe-trotting figures giving us a good grasp of the demand and needs of such clients, which will stand us in good stead in Russia, giving us the edge in providing dining experiences that Russians will rave about.”

”I am looking out for franchise partners to set up My Mum’s Cuisine in Russia,” she said.

Apex-Pal, the publicly listed diversified restaurant and catering company wants to bring its Sakae Sushi, conveyor belt brand to Moscow. The company also owns Sho-U fine dining contemporary Japanese restaurant, Crepes and Cream, Nouvelle Events and Uma Uma Men which specializes in soba, ramen and udon.

CEO Douglas Foo says, “Everyone knows Russia has evolved tremendously in the past decade. More and more companies are making their way into Russia. The popularity for Japanese cuisine has grown increasingly during the past few years. Thus, this is the right time for us to enter this market, Sakae Sushi with our innovative menu and creative design, always delivering fresh and good quality products at reasonable prices.”

Together with Executive Director, Lilian Foo, they are now searching a location.

“We are contributing our knowledge and extensive experience of Japanese cuisine and restaurant set-up; we have found a partner who brings on board the local territorial knowledge to help in pricing of products and services as well as a location of retail shops. It would require much more time if one were to do it alone.”

What customers can expect when Sakae Sushi opens its doors is the Japanese “Kaitan” experience. In the words of Lilian Foo, “We are committed to offering maximum value, be it in terms of variety and quality of food, or dining experience. As a brand that is dedicated to healthy eating solutions, Sakae Sushi offers its customers only the freshest ingredients. Besides innovating our menu, we have a unique interactive ordering system and a fully automated sushi conveyor belt that provides an entirely modern and refreshing dining experience.”

Since its inception in 1997, Sakae Sushi’s experience of eating sushi and sashimi, freshly made and served to customers via a conveyor belt has made Sakae Sushi one of the most loved Japanese restaurants in Asia. Today, with almost 60 outlets, it is spread across China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and the USA.

The Pacific United Holdings which owns Bakerzin, is seeking a franchise partner in Russia. This chain of bakery cafes started as a small patisserie in 1998 supplying mainly bread and pastries to restaurants and hotels. They have since evolved into a casual dining café serving a wide range of premium quality desserts, cakes, pastries and bread, as well as a delectable a-la-carte savoury menu and beverages. The cafe’s contemporary environment with a warm and friendly ambience also serves as an ideal meeting place for trendy and sophisticated customers. Bakerzin has steadily grown to more than 17 outlets in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, China and the USA. Their international expansion strategy is through franchising. Eager pastry buffs are waiting for the Singapore chain to start giving the overpriced European bread and pastry cafes a run for their money.

Yet another company seeking franchise partners in Russia for its two fast food brands is Carona holdings, which started out 13 years ago as Carona chicken, now called Cavana chicken. For Singaporeans you can forget KFC, the only chicken fast food that wows them is Cavana, where there are 18 different varieties of chicken – grilled, stewed.roasted and barbecued. “Eating chicken will never be the same after you have experienced the Cavana way”, said Jean Lee, Managing Director of Carona Holdings.

The company has outlets in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Having conquered chicken, Corona turned to frankfurters and has recently introduced GoGo sausages. Their freshly made halalcertified chicken sausages cater to contemporary lifestyles and palates. At GoGo, you can taste sausages that carry home-grown flavours like Cheezy Chicken, Red Roast, Satay, Black Pepper, Tandoori, Chilli Chicken and Mushroom. Only at GoGo will you find fun, bite-sized sausage balls with cheese fillings. GoGo already has outlets in Singapore and Malaysia.

If all these plans come to fruition, then Russian residents can expect a new dimension to their dining habits.

Can’t wait?

Visit Singapore this July for a journey around the delicious and tempting tastes of Singaporean cuisine. The annual Singapore Food Festival is back for the 14th year to charm your taste buds with its unique blend of savory local food. From Laksa, Hainanese Chicken Rice to the Chili Crab, sample the ten must-try local favorites of Singapore for the best experience of Singapore food and culture. (See Box).

Tourists get an exclusive invitation to sample Singapore’s signature dish - the Singapore Chili Crab. In conjunction with the Singapore Food Festival, tourists get a voucher on arrival to savor Singapore Chili Crab from the many seafood restaurants and F&B establishments island-wide and at Changi International Airport. The promotion runs 29th June through 31st July 2007.

«Must Try» local favorites

Where do we start? Singapore has a large range of local delectable delights to offer. Singapore food is a tasty tale about the country’s unique cultural tapestry, and the way individual strands have woven into others, and changed hue in the process. Food preparations that came to Singapore from India, China and other countries in the region may still bear the original names - but they are indelibly transformed by being ‘Singaporeanised’. Our list of local food is endless, but if we must narrow down the list, here are the “Must Trys” which you should find time to sample while in town:

  1. Chilli Crab – allegedly created by a Chinese food-stall hawker in 1956 is the unofficial national dish of Singapore and served everywhere but especially in the many sea front restaurants.
  2. Hainanese Chicken Rice – chicken boiled in a ‘master stock’ served with flavourful rice cooked in a chicken stock
  3. Laksa - a spicy noodle soup merging of Chinese and Malay
  4. Satay – chunks of bite-sized meat grilled on bamboo skewers served with a spicy sauce
  5. Fish Head Curry – traditionally the head of a red snapper, semi stewed in thick curry served with rice or bread
  6. Bak Kut The - meaty pork ribs or chicken pieces in a complex broth of herbs and spices
  7. Roti Prata – pancakes usually served with curry
  8. Rojak – eclectic fruit and vegetable salad mix
  9. Char Kway Teow – fried flat rice noodles based dish
  10. Fried Carrot Cake (also known as “Chai Tow Kueh”) - a sweet spice cake with grated carrot mixed into the batter.

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