The U.S. Meat Export Federation is creating inroads for U.S. pork and beef in Southeast Asian countries like Singapore and the Philippines by training top chefs on how to use cuts and attributes of U.S. meat to create a variety of dishes that fit their ethnically diverse cuisines.
Singapore has a significant degree of cultural diffusion with a unique combination of ethnic groups, giving Singapore a rich mixture of diversity. An example of this is its cuisine, often a cultural attraction for tourists.
Singapore dishes consist of Chinese, Malay or Indian ingredients and cooking techniques. Some dishes introduce elements from all three cultures, while others incorporate influences from the rest of Asia and the West.
At the Singapore Culinary Training Center, USMEF Regional Chef and Foodservice Consultant Sabrina Yin conducts intensive training for chefs in the Southeast Asian region, demonstrating how to use a variety of U.S. pork and beef cuts in Western and Asian dishes.
Yin performs cutting and cooking demonstrations using U.S. pork cuts of spare ribs, boneless loin, sausages and bacon in addition to U.S. beef cuts of hanging tender, short plate and rib finger.
With Singapore recently reopening its market to U.S. beef, ending a two-year closure due to bovine spongiform encephalopathy concerns, USMEF anticipates a wider interest in U.S. beef in future months.
U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports have experienced great success in Singapore during the first 11 months of last year with volume increasing 49% to 1,381 metric tons (mt) and value rising 66% to $3.1 million compared to the same time period in 2004.
Typically, 20 recipes are demonstrated and distributed to participants. Recently, a greater interest in Western dishes prompted USMEF to incorporate American BBQ and Great American Sandwich recipes into the seminars.
Chefs are provided meat charts and information materials on U.S. pork and beef that they can take home with them and refer to in their restaurants. Participants also work on plate cost calculations of the featured cuts in the seminar, in addition to learning about safe food handling and effective menu promotion and design.
Eight chefs and one importer from the Philippines attended the last seminar in January and more have signed up for the next seminar in late February.
"The seminars incorporate different elements to help chefs, restaurant owners and importers learn how to use U.S. meat profitably, safely and effectively in their places of business, while also providing enticing dishes to consumers," Yin says. "We work hard to ensure the seminars are useful and are a great success".
After the executive chef at the Orchard Golf Club in the Philippines attended USMEF culinary training in Singapore, U.S. chuck-eye roll was featured on the restaurant menu and has been a hit with consumers.
Oakwood Premier Hotel in the Philippines is also finding success with U.S. short plate and top blade muscle after its executive chef learned how to prepare it at the USMEF culinary training.
The Philippines banned U.S. beef after the United States announced its second case in late June, but reopened its market in early August. Meanwhile exports of U.S. pork and pork variety meat to the Philippines increased 82% in volume at 4,783 mt and 6% in value to $6.8 million during the first 11 months of last year compared to the same time period in 2004.
Because of the vast number of native groups, the Philippines is said to be one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Asia. USMEF demonstrates to chefs how they can use U.S. meat to creatively prepare dishes that are as diverse as the countries they cook in.