On the times I crave fried rice, discovering a wholesome model of it isn’t one thing I take into consideration. Shops I’d normally gravitate to are hawkers like Uncle Soon Fried Rice for his or her spicy sambal and punchy wok hei, or every other close by Chinese language restaurant.
Kenneth Lai knew his dishes couldn’t compete with these inexpensive mother and pop shops within the Malaysian market, so he co-founded a model round cauliflower rice to type Cauli & Rice.
His Not-So-Wholesome Beginnings
Promoting cauliflower rice was truly unintended for Kenneth, who initially began off promoting fried chickens from a central kitchen for takeaways and deliveries underneath the M Fried Chicken model. “It’s in all probability the whole reverse of the concept of being wholesome,” he realised.
The model noticed some success promoting the fried chickens that have been paired with good ol’ fried rice to behave as tummy fillers. However quickly, they observed an inflow of shoppers simply shopping for the fried rice with out the chickens. Orders like these would occur typically sufficient, making them realise that their fried rice had requirements.
So, the crew dived in on enhancing their fried rice with Malaysian flavours in thoughts. Kenneth additionally questioned his co-founders, “How are we totally different from the remainder of the actually superb hawker locations the place the sifus serve up aromatic wok-fried rice?”
“After which I remembered having cauliflower rice myself a while earlier than. It’s gentle in flavour, low in energy, and appears nearly like white rice when the cauliflower was shredded.”
The crew rejected his thought instantly.
By no means having tried cauli rice themselves, they have been much more sceptical about having it fried. However they ultimately compromised, deciding to place it on the menu as an possibility, whereas nonetheless conserving white rice accessible for his or her rice bowls.
Maybe Kenneth even had an “I instructed you so” second for his crew after they bought out all 2kg of cauli rice by lunchtime. That was solely the primary day of their market take a look at in Subang Jaya 2 years in the past, and a couple of weeks later, they have been shredding 10kg of cauliflower rice per day.
“We have been humbly shocked by the acceptance of it so we began shifting our focus from M Fried Rooster to promoting cauliflower rice for Cauli & Rice,” Kenneth instructed Vulcan Submit.
Contemporary cauliflowers are delivered to Cauli & Rice’s kitchens the place they’re rinsed and dried to make sure there’s no build-up of additional moisture, as cauliflowers have excessive water content material. The vegetable is then shredded with the restaurant’s customised machines to provide cauliflower rice in sizes that imitate white rice. It is going to then be saved in a chiller inside containers to be fried upon order. This course of is normally accomplished on a each day or 2-day foundation.
The meeting of a rice bowl at Cauli & Rice is much like salad bars and poke bowl retailers. Prospects can select their most well-liked sort of rice and greens together with uncooked and cooked meals to construct their bowls.
Nonetheless, with Cauli & Rice, all substances are cooked-to-order to scale back wastage. Uncooked substances that don’t get used up on the finish of the day are merely packed away, refrigerated, and used for the subsequent day.
1 customary serving comprises 350g of cauliflower rice, and its founders additionally needed to guarantee that the cauli rice is nicely seasoned with Malaysian impressed flavours, as it may be fairly tasteless with out.
“The flavour of cauli rice is sort of bland and light-weight by itself, which can be the rationale why it’s appropriate as a substitute for regular rice the place it might complement the flavours of different dishes or substances with out overwhelming them,” Kenneth affirmed.
“We’ve got our in-house soy sauce concoction that we cook dinner ourselves to raise the flavour and provides it a slight little bit of saltiness to the gentle and impartial flavour of cauli rice.”
The shop’s high 3 best-sellers are their Belacan Caulirice, Garlic Caulirice and Tom Yam Caulirice, priced between RM11.90-RM13.90 every. In honour of Malaysians’ love of curry, they’ve additionally launched their Curry Caulirice (RM12.40) in April this 12 months.
Not Concentrating on The Keto Phase
My first assumption of the enterprise was that they have been seemingly catering to prospects with low-carb or ketogenic diets, as cauli rice tends to be a beneficial different for it.
To not point out, the ratio of shoppers ordering cauli rice to white rice bowls are 75:25 respectively, based on Kenneth.
When requested about their buyer’s dietary preferences, Kenneth shared, “With our expertise of chatting with prospects, I might say a majority, like 80-90% of the individuals who order our cauli rice are health-conscious folks, typically placing extra effort into their wellbeing.”
Considering the soy sauce used within the rice, he added that the dishes aren’t truly 100% keto-friendly. It is because he thinks the ketogenic buyer section could also be too area of interest within the nation and doesn’t have sufficient information to justify its economics but.
Therefore, Cauli & Rice is concentrating on the mass Malaysian market who merely need a fast, wholesome dish they will pack and go, which additionally explains why they’re positioned in areas with excessive foot site visitors.
That’s A Lot Of Cauli
Since beginning in 2019, Cauli & Rice now has 3 retailers positioned in Subang, Damansara Utama (DU), and lately, Sri Hartamas, all densely populated residential and work areas.
Every outlet stays a take-out and supply kitchen as we speak with no dine-in areas—a enterprise mannequin they used even pre-pandemic. Even so, they have been promoting about 6-10kg of cauli rice per day, with a big drop to 3-5kg per day throughout MCO 1.0.
“There was a interval post-MCO 1.0 that we have been doing nearly 35kg per day for two retailers after the DU department opened in Might 2020. So we have been shredding about 1 ton of cauliflower in a month then,” Kenneth shared. Translating that into bowls, they have been promoting about 100 parts of rice per day.
With the promising reception they’ve seen through the years, Cauli & Rice’s crew hopes to ultimately open a retail outlet that welcomes dine-ins to ascertain a bodily presence.
Featured Picture Credit score: Kenneth Lai, co-founder of Cauli & Rice