Taiwan chicken treat for Ipoh folks

  • Business
  • Saturday, 04 Jan 2003


Annie Chan

MALAYSIANS will soon have their first taste of Taiwan’s popular “charcoal grilled chicken” from the original makers when the SK Chicken franchise comes to Ipoh by early next month. 

HC Extrafood Servic Corp, which has opened more than 50 SK Chicken franchises in Taiwan since its humble beginning three years ago, is making its first overseas foray into Malaysia before opening outlets in other countries like China and Brunei. 

Its founder Annie Chan said her unique technique of seasoning, deep frying and then grilling chicken using a secret sauce recipe had spawned many imitations since demand for the dish began soaring. 

The chicken, described as crispy yet tender on the inside with a spicy and slightly sweet taste, is apparently a favourite takeout for many university students and other customers. 

“We like Malaysia a lot and I feel my chicken can bring a new flavour to compete with the other dishes here,” Chan said. 

The first outlet is expected to open in Jalan Yang Kalsom. 

With Malaysia's fast-food industry having a reported annual turnover of RM1.6bil, Chan hopes SK Chicken's operations in Malaysia would also be a “miracle success story” as it has been in Taiwan. 

“When my husband passed away 19 years ago, to support my four children, I began working in various jobs including as taxi driver, carpenter, nurse, direct sales representative and pub owner. 

“None of them helped me earn a steady income, so one day a friend suggested that I open a stall to sell fried chicken,” she said. 

Chan said she soon realised, however, that she needed something different to compete with other hawkers so she began experimenting with different recipes. 

Today, all her four children all involved in the running of the business. 

From a simple hawker stall started with a capital of NT$300,000, the 50-odd SK Chicken outlets now sell a total of 40,000 pieces of chicken a day. 

Chan said her first main outlet alone had sales of NT$2mil a month, while the entire franchise earned an estimated NT$1.6mil in sales a day. 

Although tight-lipped about the ingredients of the patented “secret” sauce, she said the recipe involved adding certain herbs and other natural ingredients before leaving the sauce to simmer. 

“I have high expectations for this country, and intend to earn a halal certification for the outlet here,” Chan said. 

M. Kamala, the chief executive officer of the Malaysian franchisee, said the company (which she declined to identify) would see how well the Ipoh outlet performed before opening other franchises in the Klang Valley and other states 

She said the outlet would operate on a takeaway concept.  

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