It goes without saying that Malaysians are big on food, especially the ones we've eaten the same way time and time again - if it's not broken, why fix it? Enter Okay Kuih with their nifty reinventions that make us go, "why not?" For the most part, their tweaks are subtle yet effective, pleasing both the traditionalists and those wanting a little more pizazz in their life. Below, we talk to Okay Kuih on how they're amplifying Malaysian culture through food, the most underrated kuih and more.
What first led to the creation of Okay Kuih?
We decided to start the journey on a whim actually. “Artisan cafes, pastry, cookies….Why not artisan kuihs?” Joey blurbed out to Angeline whilst scrolling through IG which Angeline replied with “Let’s do it.”
What started out as an innocent question turned into a sit-down brainstorming session with the team, and our passion project! We think that kuihs are everyone’s childhood food that will definitely resonate with the local community. Next, we invited Wai May to join us as our operational partner to start this and the rest is history.
What is your brand ethos?
Our culture is mainly shaped by our core values and identity. We treat everyone as family just like how Malaysians are, living in a diverse society harmoniously.
We want people to see kuihs as something cool again, so what better way to appeal to this IG Gen that giving these traditional delicacies a fresh, new, ‘Gram worthy update?
From the packaging to the presentation, it's very clear that a lot of thought goes into your kuihs. Can you share with us your creative process behind your products?
We have a deep appreciation towards the culinary art, thus we believe the presentation plays a part in the flavour of our food. We combine timeless elements from traditional Nyonya kuih and incorporate them in contemporary pastry recipes .Wai May is the main recipe producer while Angeline as advisor and consultant. Joey and team Tinker are involved during the recipe tasting session to give feedback until we finalise our menu and recipes.
The process in the early stage is surprisingly quite chill and fun as we didn’t put too much stress to create, however the creative team has worked harder fine tuning the branding, packaging, materials and content within the timeline. When creating content for social media, we always ask ourselves ‘what’s Instagram-able?”
This might be a hard question but in your opinion, what is the best kuih out there and the most underrated kuih that everyone keeps sleeping on?
Definitely Kuih Bingka, what it lacks in colour variety, it makes up for in flavour and texture!
What has been your favorite project or collaboration so far and why?
Our CNY with collaboration with AirAsia Food and Kiss The Pink. It was a great feeling of recognition for what we’re doing as AirAsia Food approached us not long after the launch of Okay Kuih. The team also had tons of fun working on this project, from new flavours to a sticker of Mr Tony Fernandes himself! Still feels unreal till this day.
We love the extra touches you've put on your kuihs such as the mini syringes and gold leaves! Can you share with us why you've decided to modernise these traditional Malaysian snacks?
“How do we make this local OG teatime food stand out from its western counterpart?” We want people to see kuihs as something cool again, so what better way to appeal to this IG Gen that giving these traditional delicacies a fresh, new, ‘Gram worthy update?
We didn’t have to give it a 360 transformation though, the vibrant colours & timeless flavours of the kuihs already gave us a good canvas to start with.
You've stated that your mission is to amplify Malaysian culture. In your own words, how is food tied to culture?
If you ask any Malaysian to describe our culture, food will be the first in our mind. Because our food is delicious and it signifies diversity and harmony. Malaysian flavours are a unique combinations of sweet, sour, rich and spicy, combined in a way like no other. Therefore it mimics our national identity, a unique combination of races living together in harmony.
We have to know — who is making your delectable snacks? Is the whole team full of kuih masters? Please share with us how they are prepared!
Our kuihs are prepared daily by our team from raw ingredients to pipping final garnishes to ensure maximum freshness.
Lastly, what do you ultimately wish to achieve with Okay Kuih?
To the spread the love for our local cuisine whilst expanding the endless possibilities for culinary innovations. After the launch of Okay Kuih and watching its process, growth and team, we have a better and clearer direction for the brand. We may convert the brand to “OKAY” for further expansion and endless culinary opportunities. We wouldn’t want to limit ourselves to just a “Kuih” brand.
Our other upcoming plans include launching new food products beyond kuih - one of which is coming by end of this month so stay tuned on our social media! We also hope to have more creative collaborations in 2021 very soon.