SINGAPORE IS lining up for its first taste of a franchise called Ireland’s Potato, a popular spud-based culinary experience that is already thriving in Taiwan, Malaysia and Hong Kong, although the franchise is not Irish as such and apparently originated in Hong Kong.
Irish-branded food franchises in Asia are best represented by O’Brien’s Irish Sandwich Bars. Its Asian operation is based in Singapore with branches thriving in many of the region’s cities despite the tougher environment in the West.
Ireland’s Potato is based at the newly built Bugis shopping mall. This is no humble chipper – the fries come with more than ketchup or vinegar, and it’s proving a big hit with Asia’s mall rats.
Its slogan is “Ireland’s proverb – there are two things in the world that can’t be joked about. One is marriage, two is potato”.
Basically, Ireland’s Potato operates as kiosks in shopping malls in cities around Asia, and sells chips with various sauces.
And quite an array of sauces too – pickle mayonnaise, sour cream, strawberry yogurt, pizza cheese, honey mustard, wasabi, seaweed powder, pepper plum and special cheese sauce.
There is plenty of Irish branding about, celebrating the Irish “jolly and relaxed lifestyle”, and the company’s website tells of how millions of Irish starved to death during the Famine, and that their gratitude led the Irish to a reaffirmed love and respect for the potato.
“The Irish passionate and appreciative attitude towards the potato was what inspired our brand,” runs the blurb, which also wants to encourage these virtues among Asia’s teenagers and mall rats with their “great-tasting fries and dips”.