Believe it or not, contrary to its Malaysian namesake, the Old Klang chicken and sardine curry puffs are proudly made right here in Brunei.
From humble beginnings of crafting their own curry puff recipe and selling five boxes a week (50 curry puffs) from home, the founders of the Old Klang curry puffs are now averaging weekly at 3,500 boxes.
Yes, that’s an astounding 35,000 curry puffs!
“I am so proud of my father for inventing our curry puff (recipe). To be honest, I was against the idea of making curry puffs at first. But after a while, I saw the potential because of the quality of our product,’’ Nabeelah Hj Abd Khalid tells The Scoop at the family’s residence in Kampung Burung Pingai.
After two years of numerous trials and errors, her father, 55-year-old Hj Abdul Khalid Hj Awang, finally came up with the ultimate recipe for their chicken and sardine curry puffs.
“We want everyone to know this is a Brunei brand. Although my dad has built the reputation of the Old Klang curry puff, we have decided to rebrand it soon so people will not associate our product with Malaysia through its name, especially when we take part in international expos,’’ the 28-year-old says.
According to Nabeelah, they started selling their curry puffs from home and relied on word of mouth and social media to gain traction. She adds in the beginning, they were happy to even be selling even five boxes a week.
“Our marketing strategy at that time was giving away curry puffs for free to whoever wanted to try them. That is the way my father wanted it. He wanted people to taste the curry puffs and if they liked it, then they would begin ordering from us,’’ she recalls.
It did not take long before orders started piling in until eventually they needed to have a production line at home and a place to sell them at.
That was when ‘kedai kopi’ opened its doors to the public in 2015.
Apart from the famous curry puffs, their menu includes nasi lemak, ayam penyet, tumpi and nasi katok – all of which are complimenting flavours when paired with Old Klang curry puffs.
“We want to be able to charge people a certain price that is comfortable for them to pay but at the same time be able to enjoy what they are eating. We want our food to be something that everyone in Brunei is able to afford,’’ Nabeelah says, explaining the affordable prices.
The shop’s opening hours are from 6.30am to 2.30am daily.
She says her dad named the shop Old Klang Road after travelling to Malaysia and coming across a lane called Old Klang which he liked.
However after some time they realised many had assumed their curry puffs are from Malaysia.
They intend to remove the stigma by rebranding the shop to “The Curry Puff Factory”.
The family wants to promote their curry puffs as a local product and are currently working on renaming the shop, along with incorporating a new logo and packaging.
Nabeelah says she and her siblings came up with “The Curry Puff Factory” because their objective is to become the largest curry puff producer in Brunei. As business has been abuzz, they are also in the process of opening a new branch in Kiulap.
“(My siblings and I) do everything ourselves, from buying ingredients to applying for quota from the Labour Department.”
Nabeelah says they are also looking forward to bringing their curry puffs into regional and international markets in the near future.
The young entrepreneur encourages those intending to start their own business to “think differently”.
“Do not stop or give up. Look for people who can help you and for all possibilities to grow. I want to see from other Bruneians that they will never give up on what they intend to sell.’’