I was scrolling on Instagram when I arrived across one thing that appeared positively indulgent. Framed by purple-and-white chequered paper was a platter of golden-brown foods from curly fries to fried chicken sandwiches. I could hear the crunch via the screen.
The natural way, I clicked into the account, which was known as AyamGuys. I was greeted by even much more platters of fried foodstuff, and the first detail that stood out to me was the doughnut fried chicken sandwiches.
The pairing of doughnut and fried rooster was new to me, but it appeared to make comprehensive feeling jointly. I enjoy waffles and hen, so this sounded entirely up my alley.
These deep-fried dishes reminded me of Southern soul food from the States, which I experienced the delight of attempting just before at a county fair.
It was no shock to hear then that the founder of AyamGuys, Ilyas Omar, experienced been impressed by “state fair” foods from The united states.
“It was back in 2010 for the duration of uni days when I realised that there was no this sort of factor as American point out reasonable foods in Malaysia,” Ilyas said. “That experienced often been my go-to idea for my very first enterprise into the business enterprise globe.”
Having said that, no 1 about him seemed to know what he was talking about. So, Ilyas shelved the notion. But however, he never strayed also significantly away from meals.
He went on to do the job in promoting communications for a foodstuff distribution corporation, wherever he gathered intel on client desires and the food items field as a full.
Whilst Ilyas was under no circumstances formally properly trained to cook, he did guide his buddy with his grilling small business, Mustafa Jones Burger.
By means of this practical experience, Ilyas was ready to master a large amount from the African-American chef about soul-meals. And that’s exactly where his fried hen know-how started out to get off.
Doughnut halt believing
The concept of employing doughnuts as an alternative of standard buns 1st arose when Ilyas was served a common kuih in the course of a work assembly. It was the “Pau Sambal”, also acknowledged as Burger Malaysia.
Effectively, a Pau Sambal is composed of a fried dough stuffed with ikan bilis (anchovies) sambal and a cucumber slice in in between. The foods experienced proven alone as Ilyas’ favorite childhood snack, but he felt unhappy when he did not delight in it as significantly as when he was a youngster.
“Being a marketer of food stuff products and solutions, I tend to often imagine of strategies to make a merchandise improved,” he described. “And [for the Pau Sambal], that was to add a lot more than just a distribute of sambal and a thin slice of cucumber. Possibly ayam masak merah with pineapple acar?”
At around the identical time, Ilyas also came throughout an post that highlighted the winning dish of the Mississippi Condition Honest. It was a Krispy Kreme Donut Burger—a cheeseburger that ditched the usual sesame seed buns for two sugar glazed doughnuts in its place.
It was a lightbulb minute. Ilyas set two and two collectively and made a decision to adapt that strategy and generate the so-called “KL’s first donut fried chicken sandwich”.
And so it introduced in January 2020, but experienced to cease when the lockdown began. It reopened in December 2020.
Now with a actual physical outlet for AyamGuys presently in the will work, this concept looks to be functioning with the local crowd.
Perfecting the art of ayam
Although Ilyas experienced the notion for a doughnut fried chicken sandwich, actually formulating the recipe took a good deal of trial and mistake.
Luckily, the food stuff distributing business Ilyas was doing the job at experienced an in-residence R&D chef that labored carefully with his crew to create cooking content material. Leveraging this link, Ilyas acquired the chef onboard as a advisor to whip up the dishes based mostly on the flavour profiles he required.
“It took some time as he wasn’t acquainted with American condition good foods. But just after countless after-get the job done discussions and 5 weekends afterwards, we had our final food items tasting and it was a sound go,” Ilyas shared.
These days, screening and formulating new goods get around a 7 days. AyamGuys are inclined to try out new menu merchandise with regulars and see if they vibe to it. If they do, AyamGuys will promote it as special offerings. These types of was the situation with their Deep Fried Oreos and Chick N’ Rice dishes.
AyamGuys dishes also include dipping sauces created to go with each individual dish’s flavour profile.
Whilst condition good food items could be interesting to folks who appreciate fried food items, there are those people who may possibly think all those people fried dishes are unhealthy.
“It genuinely will come down to taste versus perform,” Ilyas refuted. “We wouldn’t say it’s harmful, but it is what it is. Anyone warrants a cheat day each individual as soon as in a while.”
In AyamGuys’ defence, at minimum the doughnuts aren’t coated or glazed with sugar. As well as, the doughnuts are handmade, and we never imply with a dough mixer, but with genuine arms in its place.
On major of that, the brand name has previously occur up with much healthier menu possibilities for when it begins operations at its forthcoming outlet.
AyamGuys vs the large guys
On AyamGuys’ Instagram, I found that the brand name has posted a couple screenshots of customers’ tweets about how AyamGuys is far better than major gamers these types of as KFC.
Ilyas pointed out mischievously: “AyamFans yang cakap, bukan kita.” (It is AyamFans who claimed it, not us.)
With that claimed, the founder does see AyamGuys as a competitor to KFC, though, declaring that the small business is gearing up to disrupt the current market for hen items.
“We will be crazy satisfied if we take care of to safe even 2% of KFC’s industry,” the founder shared.
Just like these huge gamers, nevertheless, AyamGuys have experienced to encounter improved costs of poultry and other ingredients throughout the past months. This is primarily tricky on them as they’ve resolved to sustain their meals charges.
“Although our margins are thinner, we even now have each merchandise in our menu on a day by day basis and it is a significant win for us when AyamFans arrive to us expressing that KFC and McDonald’s didn’t have adequate fried hen,” Ilyas pointed out.
Worldwide franchises apart, AyamGuys also have to deal with local competitiveness such as FOWLBOYS, a brand name we’ve featured in advance of. AyamGuys and FOWLBOYS share an arguably similar presentation with their chequered paper and Southern-design fried hen sandwiches.
In accordance to AyamGuys’ Get webpage, their combo meals, which include fries and a consume, are RM25. FOWLBOYS is around the very same selling price, with its RM26 O.G. Sandwich Combo (according to its Beepit listing).
What is future for AyamGuys
Based on what Ilyas has observed in the past yr and a 50 percent, he believes that there is need for the fried chicken brand. His goal is to make AyamGuys a strong contender in the F&B market and have an outlet in each individual state.
The founder also said that he has his eyes established on East Malaysia, while that would be additional in the foreseeable future. For now, he hopes to sharpen their present tools. This includes ensuring streamlined meals procedures and producing dishes that move daily high-quality checks.
“Our small-phrase target is to be as investor-welcoming as probable,” Ilyas mentioned. “That would guide us into acquiring our extended-term aim which is earth domination. Malaysia very first lah, of study course.”
The initially action to that system is presently underway. So considerably, AyamGuys has been functioning out of a kitchen area space in Gaya Taman Melawati.
Come August this calendar year, while, Ilyas will be shifting into a bodily outlet with a coffee and dessert bar in Wangsa Maju.
As Ilyas has kindly extended an invitation to the new shop to me, I should know which menu objects are his tips.
“As a brand owner, I’d say anything,” Ilyas answered. “But what definitely stands out in my opinion is The Sneaky Chick doughnut sandwich.”
The Sneaky Chick attributes a fried chicken leg glazed with their signature honey garlic, topped with cili padi slaw, sandwiched amongst doughnuts. This “naughty” dish got its identify because the kick from the cili padi slaw sneaks up on you in among the sweet and savoury flavours.
I still have not been in a position to get my palms on those people delicious searching sandwiches however, so I can not inform you how it tastes personally. But with Ilyas’ description, I wager it will not be also extended just before I give in and attempt it for myself.
- Study additional about AyamGuys below.
- Examine other F&B-linked content articles we’ve prepared listed here.
Highlighted Image Credit history: Ilyas Omar, founder of AyamGuys