Dini Mohammad Fauzi Cheong, 27, had just spent some time in the queue for a halal ramen restaurant, when it dawned upon her that there was an opportunity in offering homemade Japanese-inspired food that Muslims (and non-Muslims) could enjoy.
What was supposed to be a lunch catch-up session with her friend turned into a business brainstorming session as they hatched up the idea of Uyami, a new home-based business offering do-it-yourself hand rolls. Uyami is a clever word play between umami and “yummy”.
With UYAMI, Muslims in Singapore will have more halal food variety to enjoy. This is an issue close to Dini’s heart, who has a handful of close friends who are Muslim reverts. Her husband is one, too. So is her dad, who reverted to Islam when he married her mum.
In recent years she’s become aware of some of their struggles, such as shrinking food options as they lose access to cuisine that they used to love before embracing Islam.
Seeing opportunity in scallop sashimi
Based on Dini’s research, there are no home-based Muslim businesses that are offering scallop sashimi. Armed with this insight, she began experimenting with recipes to create Uyami’s first offerings.
After countless of experiments, with her friends as willing testees, she arrived to three menu items:
Truffle scallops rice rolls
Mentai scallops rice rolls
Mentai beef rice rolls
She eventually decided to offer a beef option after her friends gave her feedback that not everybody may be able to appreciate scallops.
And to minimise food contamination risks, she decided to torch the scallops instead of serving them raw in true sashimi style.
Of the three dishes, Dini recommends trying the truffle scallops as she finds the truffle taste to be most exquisite and delightful. For those who order all 3 flavours in a value set, she suggests that they start with the truffle scallops first, as they taste the lightest compared to the other flavours.
“If let’s say you were to eat the beef dish first, then the beef, unagi sauce and mentai together will be a very strong combination. Then you can’t really appreciate the truffle itself,” she elaborated.
“I’ll definitely say try the truffle first, and then when you’re done, you can move on to the mentai scallops, and then the mentai beef. Because the mentai beef is definitely the strongest flavour.”Dini, on the best sequence to try UYAMI’s rice rolls
Ingredients sourced from Japan
Uyami’s food is seasoned with premium ingredients, and uses no salt and no sugar. The flavours come naturally from the high quality and strictly halal ingredients. To ensure top notch experience for her customers, Dini works with specialised suppliers who supply to other halal Japanese restaurants. These suppliers import their scallops, rice and seaweed directly from Japan.
Even the rice variety was intentionally chosen. Dini compared the differences between using “normal rice” and sushi rice, and chose the latter after realising that with sushi rice, “you can taste every single grain”, whereas normal rice gets mushed after a while.
“Every ingredient that we provide is definitely of quality,” she added.
Crafted with adventurous millennials in mind, UYAMI’s hand rolls are perfect for sharing at gatherings. One pack can feed one to two pax. Dini designed the recipes and sizes thinking that they would be perfect for communal eating, as the flavours are rich and can be a tad overwhelming (or as we like to say, jelak) if eaten by 1 person alone.
When you order Uyami’s hand rolls, you’ll get sushi rice topped with your seasoned scallops or beef, plus seaweed already cut into small pieces. To savour the food, simply scoop some rice and the toppings, drop them onto the seaweed, wrap it, and pop it into your mouth!
No stranger to F&B industry
Dini is no stranger to the F&B world, which perhaps explains why she has been adept at experimenting with recipes for UYAMI. Her mum has been running a nasi padang stall in the Simpang Bedok and East Coast area for almost 20 years now. As a student, Dini spent her school holidays working at her mum’s stall by helping to chop vegetables and serve customers.
She eventually dreams of opening a restaurant and contributing further to a diversified halal food scene in Singapore.
“We’re always talking about it. We’ll be like, ‘oh maybe next time we should open a halal restaurant that maybe sells steamboat’. That’s how this thing (Uyami) popped up also,” Dini said.
Preorders now open
Today (31 March) onwards, UYAMI will be taking preorders for lunch and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays. For now, they will be grouping their deliveries by estates.