Homegrown Pan and Wok food joint lately has been the go-to place among young Bruneian professionals – individuals who are always on-the-go and prefer readily prepared meals that are worth spending.
The newly-introduced concept in Brunei definitely has gained popularity over the years as people find the idea convenient and affordable.
It offers an extensive and diverse assortment of cooked food at its grab-and-go concept outlet where meals and drinks are placed in huge warmers and chillers, allowing customers to happily select from the variety.
Items ranging from sandwiches and wraps, Western and Asian prepared meals such as buttermilk chicken set with rice, teriyaki don set and alfredo chicken sliced pasta are among the local favourites.
General Manager of Pan and Wok Muhammad Roderick Muhammad Roland, in an interview with The Bruneian, said that the brand’s name derived from combining the word Pan and Wok representing Western and Asian dishes, respectively.
Pan is a cooking utensil that is conventionally used in the Western kitchen while Wok is widely used in Asia.
Pan and Wok puts healthy in every meal that it sells as the eatery uses less oil, less salt, no added preservatives and MSG – its birth in 2016 was just in time when the trend for healthier food was budding in the country.
According to a statement made by Ministry of Health (MOH), 3 out of 10 adults are reported obese making the Brunei the highest rate in ASEAN, with 61% of its population overweight.
For Pan and Wok, one of the ways to address the problem is to provide affordable quality healthy food to the market as it is often thought that healthy eating is expensive.
Its initiative to cater healthier food options to Bruneians is further strengthened through the introduction of the Build Your Own Bowl concept.
After the successful launch of the concept earlier this year, the company has grown and evolved, now having six locations across the sultanate.
Since its launch at OneCity Shopping Centre, the idea has been well-received where customers have the freedom of choice to fit their own taste.
Customers select ingredients in easy steps to build a nutritious meal. First, they get to pick a base of either brown rice, salad or quinoa; second, choose a protein of roasted chicken breast, grilled salmon, or even go without protein; then followed by a topping of vegetables from hot and cold sides, toppings and dressing.
Moreover, dressings are all homemade and crafted to fit the fusion flavor profile of each dish such as their experimental maple curry vinaigrette, coconut ranch, carrot and ginger and many more.
You can enjoy a bowl of hearty and healthy meal from as low as $5 depending on the size of chosen bowl and quantity. But what quickly became apparent is how these prices complement the service and the package.
For Muhammad Roderick, operating a home brand franchise has its challenges but it has also helped him learn the importance of paying attention to customers’ requests that to pay attention to customers’ that helped them develop a name for the establishment.
While the increase of similar options might raise questions about possible oversaturation in the market, he said that Pan and Wok distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack with its broader variety of “Freshly Made, Hearty Grab-n-Go Meals”.
“Freshness is the key to our success… we continue to tweak what we offer and constantly come up with new ideas to our items people just grab and go,” he said.
He added: “Adapting and modifying to customers’ wants and needs are also one of the key drivers to Pan and Wok’s success story.”
The company also plans to increase the number of Pan and Wok stores by 2020 and still looking into other locations with one will be likely in Jerudong.
Although Pan and Wok is focusing on growing its presence locally, the homegrown brand aims to further expand its international footprint.
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN | The Bruneian