Unilever Food Solutions' Knorr Golden Salted Egg Powder and Rock Sugar Honey Sauce Launch (September 9, 2016)

Monday, September 12, 2016

2016 is indeed yet another strong year for foodies, as things are about to get more experimental! I am so happy that Knorr (technically Unilever Food Solutions in this case since this is not going to be a consumer product) has already brought in two strong players in the food crazes of today-- Knorr's Salted Egg Powder and Knorr's Rock Sugar Honey Sauce. 

What this means is that as diners, we should be ready for a whoooole new wave of marvelous dishes featuring salted egg and rock sugar sauce in restaurants and food businesses in the country. Salted egg powder is not only for chips-- it is such a rich and umami-loaded flavor profile that there are sooooo many possibilities!!! It can be used in virtually any dish, actually, but I am particularly looking forward to a wave of lava buns, salted egg cheesecakes, salted egg ice cream, and a whole lot of fried foods. The same goes for the rock sugar sauce--think of it as Chinese salted caramel, it has the taste of oyster and soy sauce but with the kick of sweetness from the honey and rock sugar profiles. It is a very unique taste in itself that I can say that it's its own sauce. It's not oyster sauce, not soy sauce, not teriyaki sauce either. 
A photo posted by M. Perez (@marileneperez_) on

In order to kick things off, they had a formal launch last September 9 at the new Unilever lab-kitchen. I was so happy to be here because the last time I was in Unilever, it was still in Paco. And the kitchen was already grand, but this new demo kitchen is even grander!

To welcome all the guests, BJ Carreon, National Sales Manager for Unilever Food Solutions, gives a word on his excitement and enthusiasm over the new launches they are having. It is of course normal to be this excited because they partnered up with sooo many celeb chefs to come up with unique ways in using the two new products to churn out gourmet masterpiece after masterpiece.

This is the exciting part! It's like going to a weekend food market, but instead of the usual mom and pop stores, these are all booths by the leading chefs in the foodie scene. And all the dishes they're making are pure gourmet goodness featuring the two new products. I highly regret having a big slash under my tongue because had it not been there, I would have eaten much more than I did hahaha.

One of the key highlights of the event is having Chef Alan Wong demonstrate how to turn these ingredients into usable sauces on the wok. He's got a very intense list of credentials under his belt, as he is the Chef de Cuisine for Chinese Cuisine in Unilever Food Solutions in Malaysia. He is also the Lead Chef for Asian Sauces in Unilever Food Solutions Southeast Asia. You would never really know till you Google it because he was so jolly and goofy and errrthing.

Of course, the main concern of many chefs worldwide is stability, so this is more or less the key highlight he describes over the products. Salted eggs are easily available now here, but in countries where the trend has gotten crazier, salted eggs have become hard to come by. When one does acquire salted eggs, it is not easy to harness the yolks as there's a lot of processing involved with the manual labor of cracking each egg, getting each yolk, even with stabilizing the yolks so they do not go rancid or turn the dish into a medley of oil. There is also that issue of consistency because your dishes' quality rely on the quality of the eggs you're getting. And of course there is a lot of wastage as there are only so many dishes one can do with salted egg whites. Add the fact that there will always be bad eggs and not all eggs will be worthy for business, so there are indeed deadweight losses.

Knorr wants to give chefs the chance to take advantage of the latest food trend to unleash their creativity and have their own take on this gastronomic pleasure, all while making the process more streamlined, stabilized, and predictable. When quality and yield are predictable, profits can also be better stabilized.

And personally, if I may add, when it comes to the salted egg chips, I have noted that those made with real yolks here tend to have very oily and rancid settlements of salted egg in the bottom of the jar. The chips settled in the bottom are already rancid and full of oil (like drenched in oil that it no longer tastes good). The chips have a very short shelf life. Whereas with the chips that were made using Knorr's Golden Salted Egg powder, they stay fresh in the sense that the salted egg coating does not oil up nor become rancid even for extended periods of time.

Knorr also provides the same stability with the Rock Sugar Honey Sauce. Chef Alan shares how he has had his share of kitchen frustrations as rock sugar can be very difficult to work with when you need it to caramelize for sauce purposes. Like you have to make sure it burns just the right way. Take it out too early and the deep roasted taste won't be there (trust me rock sugar is literally sugar turned into rock form-- it doesn't have a molasses touch to it like brown sugar), take it out too late and it will be bitter and burnt. Maintaining the same kind of roasted taste over many repetitions and many batches of sauce requires so much concentration and dexterity and streamlining. So instead of slaving over perfecting the base sauce, chefs can now focus better on dish ideation thanks to the now stable form of rock sugar honey suace from Knorr. If you still need more ideas on how this tastes like, I think you can imagine this as mitarashi dango sauce sans dashi. 

And now to GastroPark! There was soooo much foood that night that I actually wasn't able to try all the dishes anymore. I was tooo full as in this night is the definition of a good time. I am now contemplating that this is the right way to do a wedding banquet hahaha. I want happy guests who will leave my wedding and remember my wedding as the time they were fed the best. 

Each chef extraordinaire made a salted egg and rock sugar dish. They also collaborated with chefs from different restaurants, specializing in different cuisines, in order to fully showcase the diversity of the dish possibilities and the versatility of the two products.

These are chefs busy at Chef Fernando Aracama's station. 

Chef Aracama made a Pancit Luglug featuring a salted egg sauce, and a Pork Humba binalot using the rock sugar. I was able to try the Humba and it was interesting as chef Aracama did not focus on making the rice so salty and umami ish as with the usual machang, it was instead a mild roasted flavor with the taste of the edamame (I think it was edamame) and peanuts. 

Chef Alan Wong of course didn't come all the way from Malaysia just to demonstrate how to turn the products into sauce. He had a feast going on with all the dishes he had for the guests. 

This is his "Seventh Heaven Pork Belly Cooked Twice" dish, which has Korean touches to it, being described as having a Gochujang caramel sauce. This was indeed spicy but I enjoyed it a lot. The roastedness of the sesame and the sauce go together very well. The spices balance the richness with a kick of freshness.

There is also a pork Rind roulade with a chicken oyster and shrimp stuffing and an aromatic salted egg gravy.

This is Chef Wong's Curry Salted Egg Veloute, a spanner crab salad with spiced chicharron.

And this is Chef Alan's Fragrant Glutinous Rice Pot Sticker.

This is the miniature try-me version of the veloute. I actually did not really understand what it was until I got home and read the press release. In real life it's like a salted egg soup with crab. I found it too salty to be eaten alone, but add rice to this and I am sure rice cookers can quickly be emptied as rice will go very well with this dish.

This is the Seventh Heaven Pork Belly, which I think Sam Oh (the host for tonight!) was raving about the whole time. Had it not been for my oral issues, this was sooo good. The belly was tender, and the spice was something I immensely enjoyed. This dish is also interesting for me in the sense that it was able to present itself as Korean even while using a supposedly Chinese-Cantonese kind of sauce (the rock sugar sauce).

These are the roulades of pork rind. This was also sooo good, albeit a very sinful dish hahaha.

These are the two woks with the base sauces that Chef Alan demonstrated to make. 

This is the Fusion station of Chef Kenneth Cacho, director for Culinary Arts at ISCAHM. 

The rock sugar dish he made is called pork and beans as he made rock sugar honey ribs. This reminded me a lot of Kwong bee sausages as it was sooo tasty. 

And these are his golden nuggets. These are chicken bites in guiness batter (salted egg butter, curry leaf aioli and spiced tomato espuma). It was soooo good, especially that I got to eat this fresh from the wok. You would normally imagine the dense, meaty parts chicken to not work so well fried unless processed and murdered into the "chicken nuggets" we would think of. But this was so good that the chicken was legit chicken and not some processed form, yet it was so tender. The batter is also very interesting because the batter itself is so thin and crisp once fried, even if it's not coated over chicken skin. 

I was able to try both of his dishes and I immensely loved them. I wish I could take chef Kenneth home mehehehe.... 

This, on the other hand, is the booth of Kimberly Solejon, Cucina Ido Grand Winner 2016 and PCC 2016 Best Chef. Her salted egg dish is a Knorr salted egg poboy on charcoal buns with sriracha hoisin aioli. While her rock sugar dish was five spice pork belly in rock sugar honey glaze. I unfortunately was not able to try any dish as we didn't "meet" at the right time. Like I was in another booth when she had food, and when I was there in her booth she was remaking more food. So yeah.

This is the station of Chef Pauline Benedicto, Executive Chef of Rekado Filipino Comfort Food. She made crabcake with salted egg hollandaise, quail egg, and kamias dressing. I unfortunately was not able to "feel" the kamias part in the dressing, but I liked the sauce that she had going on. The quail egg was also a good touch to balance the strong flavors of the other elements in her dish. I was wondering though if the crabcake would taste differently when still hot because the ones in her dish are already cooled down. Given that this is a giant kitchen, anything cool is because of the desire of the chef, not an accident, so I think she wanted this cooled.

I wasn't able to try her rock sugar dish, but she made a pulled pork adobo with pomelo relish and kesong puti. 

I was not able to try the Western dishes by Chef Joshua Boutwood, Executive Chef of The Bistro group. He created a beetroot cured salmon with an emulsion of salted egg powder, dill oil and powders. He also made braised veal cheeks paired with black coffee glaze and pickled vegetables.

Last but definitely not the least are the desserts!!! They worked with Chef Michael Aspiras, Pastry Chef at Le Petit Souffle and Scout's Honor Cookies PH for these.

For the rock sugar dish, he made a Malu Gula Batu Verrine, which in English is rock sugar sauce verrinne. He added puff pastry pillows, golden saltwater meringue with golden sugar syrup. This was, for me, the best dish amongst all the dishes in the room. This was too good I had to bring one home for my family to try, and the reception was also as good. This is such a new yet flavorful profile. It's like salted caramel in terms of kick, but in theory the rock sugar sauce tastes like a honey sweetened oyster-soy sauce. This is the epitome of umami. And this is the kind of dessert one will surprisingly not get tired of eating because it's so unique.

His salted egg dish is his salted egg entremet, wherein he used a cultured butter almond cake with a salted egg yolk mousse on top, topped with homemade caramel popcorn. The cake was unfortunately too stiff to safely cut up with a plastic fork, and was not soft enough for me to eat, so I was not able to fully enjoy it. The mousse was super good, though. I would honestly put his mousse over cheesecake crust and eat it any day. The look and feel of the mousse is actually reminiscent of eating a boiled egg yolk. The mousse is not the soft kind of mousse but instead is a near solid ice cream kind of texture, and it's very rich and dense. 

And of course, there's ice cream! The chefs of Unilever Food Solutions came up with an ice cream cart that served salted egg ice cream with salted egg swirls with a sour candy topping. Everything came so well together. I have had salted egg ice cream before, but like all of them were just nomenclature basically. Just a tiny sprinkle of salted egg flakes or a very controlled drizzling of salted egg syrup, it's almost just like vanilla ice cream. This is the first time I got to eat salted egg ice cream that really tastes like salted egg, with matching salted egg swirls. Eating super rich salted egg ice cream can be too much for some, so the sour candy really helps a lot to balance the flavor off. The ube ice cream was also a welcome addition to the whole ensemble. 

It was so amusing to look straight into the tub as it looks a lot like an egg hahaha
A photo posted by M. Perez (@marileneperez_) on

The salted egg powder will "retail" for Php899 per 800g bag, while the Rock Sugar Honey Sauce will retail for Php960 per 3Kg bottle. Both products will NOT be available to consumers through groceries and mall retail chains. Interested restaurant and business owners may get in touch with Unilever Food Solutions' sales agents through the following link: 

This is how the page looks like. It's under the "Who We Are" tab, which can be quite hard to find since the sales info is not what one would expect to be under such a tab. This is why I have this screenshot here.

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