Joe Choong is not your average Joe
After spending some time working at Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, the 32-year-old left the corporate life behind to pursue other opportunities.
However, while he was taking a break to look for another job, the pandemic happened and many companies froze their hiring processes, making it difficult to find one.
More importantly, Choong longed for the siu yuk he used to enjoy near his previous office and decided to make some of his own while everyone was quarantined at home
"I told a friend about my roast and he said he wanted some from me. So I roasted another batch for him and his family, they all loved it and recommended that I should be selling it," the PJ native shared with SAYS.
The following day, 11 May, Choong spread the word that he was about to start selling roasted siu yuk, naming his new passion, 'What The Bak'.
In just less than a month, What The Bak sold 82.5kg worth of homemade porky goodness!
He recently created a new flavour – siu yuk infused with curry and later, a rendang-flavoured version. Constantly adding more to the menu, Choong has since come up with charsio too.
We got to try all the flavours for ourselves. And not gonna lie, they tasted so good, we couldn't stop eating 'em!
Turn on the sound for the best ASMR experience:
Choong explained that it takes him about three hours to roast one batch, including buffer time
"I start roasting at about 8am to meet the lunch batch and 1.30pm or 2pm to meet the dinner batch."
He got the initial recipe from his cousin after being inspired by her roast.
"From there, I began experimenting on different roasting techniques I found on the Internet. Mix and match them to find the perfect, at least to me, recipe. Sio bak (siu yuk) roasting has many different techniques and recipes. It's important that you find one that suits you."
Without having any prior experience, Choong continued his own research on roasting processes to perfect the recipe
"I would say I received beginner's luck in the first few roasts I did. Subsequently, the quality of the crackling declined tremendously where big portions did not crackle well and they became hard and sometimes even leathery.
"I was lucky that the two customers who received them were kind enough to allow me to replace them with another batch for free on another date."
As time passed, Choong shared that he understood the roasting process more after speaking to friends who run restaurants and doing his own research on the Internet.
All of which has led him to believe that he's now perfected his own roast style.
In my humble opinion, the traditional siu yuk is full of flavour and juicy, while the rind completes the bite with a good crisp.
With every job, there are also challenges. Space is one of the biggest constraints for him at the moment as he works from home.
"I cannot get a larger oven because of space and electricity usage. I'm hoping that if I do get a consistent amount of orders daily, I can then expand into a proper kitchen somewhere soon.
"As I am solely running this, I'm forced to learn quickly with inventory management, prepping the meat and equipment, marketing, roasting, packing, customer service, etc. Although I must count my blessings as my parents allow me the use of space."
At the moment, customers are required to order two days in advance because he doesn't have the space to keep stock in a separate fridge or freezer.
"I have to pick up fresh meat daily to prepare for the roast the next day. Sometimes, the two-day preorders can be a turn off for some customers. Again, I hope to expand to a proper kitchen one day soon but in order for that to happen, I'll need more orders!"
As an active business now, Choong has attained his own anti-typhoid and food handling certificates.
If you want to order your own siu yuk, Choong provides delivery within Klang Valley and other areas within reasonable coverage
The prices are:
- RM45 (traditional or charsio) and RM50 (curry- or rendang-flavoured) for 500g
- RM80 (traditional or charsio) and RM90 (curry- or rendang-flavoured) for 1kg
"I've had a customer from Kuala Selangor who opted to self-collect because delivery charges for Kuala Selangor are very high. Even to Kajang as well. Typically, my rider would give me a quotation based on my customer's address."
To place an order, just drop Choong a message on Instagram or Facebook, or WhatsApp (text only).
Since he's doing it alone, do take note that he may take a while to reply but he will get back to you as soon as he can!Contact:
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