From Boy to Man at Dried Foods SG

Monday, November 07, 2016

I laughed out when I saw that Facebook post. Indeed, that's the Thomas (or more fondly known as Xiu Long back in the old days) I knew - fun-seeking, average in my Biology and Chemistry class, but definitely not "good for nothing". To be honest, I felt he was more of a bashful boy - earnest in learning - than a fun-seeking one during the two years I taught him. Now I wonder if he had shared any witty comments about my lessons with his classmates. 

So, when Thomas sent me a Facebook invite to like his FB page, I got very interested in his nutty business and found out more from him. It is not every day you get to hear a young man leave behind his cushy job at a renowned bank to help his family in their wholesale business at the Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre. 

Photo credit

Can you describe your typical day at work?

Thomas: 7 am is when we begin the arduous task of displaying our goods, the traditional way. Wooden crates, cartons are laid out to form the base, before baskets of dried food products are heaved atop. This process takes about an hour, and then we begin preparation for customers or phone orders to roll in.

From being a son helping out in the shop to running it with your parents now, what are some changes you notice about yourself?

Thomas: Well, this is interesting. From having zero interest in the business - which means dragging myself reluctantly to work when needed, now I wake up every day excited and raring to make a difference. Be it just being an additional pair of hands to my parents, learning more about the business (which was started by my grandfather since 1967), or finding ways to improve the business in line with today's modern world. I would say the biggest change is realising the painstaking efforts my parents and grandparents poured into this business to make it tick. It’s not easy, and a lot of sacrifices are required. Doing the same now, I feel myself “growing up” and being more conscious of my every actions.

What would you like people to know most about your products?

Thomas: We feed your dried food needs! Be it spices, beans, mushroom, dried seafood, condiments or any dried food products you may require for your cooking, we are here for you. Then we have our range of nuts, dried fruits and health food, which are a great addition to your daily diet for a healthier lifestyle. We are also constantly on the lookout for more dried food products to bring in according to what our customers want.

What are the bestsellers at your shop?

Thomas: I won't exactly describe us as having a specific bestseller, as customers’ demands are seasonal. For example, during Chinese New Year, snacks like our Iran pistachios, shrimp rolls and roasted cashew nuts fly off like hotcakes. Come Dumpling Festival, bamboo leaves, dried shrimps and dried chestnut - just to name a few - disappear quickly. In the summer, when the weather turns unbearably hot, Chinese barley, chrysanthemum flower, Luo Han fruit are snapped up. And then there's your housewives purchasing daily necessities like onions, potatoes and garlic. It all comes down to what customers want most, and we serve as a convenient outlet to meet their dried goods needs.

Can you tell us 3 things that differentiate your products from the many brands out there?

Thomas: Instead of looking at differentiating our products, we prefer to differentiate ourselves via shopping experience. The first would be the "human touch". Customers who purchase from us are treated like friends and family. Unlike in a supermarket where you grab what you need and go, we do more. Such as exchanging cooking advice or recommendations, trade personal stories or even just lending a listening ear to customers who need it. Which is why we have customers bringing their generations of family where we interact and simply "hang out" by the shopfront, whilst the wives gather what they need for the households.

Secondly, we abide strictly to the value instilled since my grandfather's times – honesty, integrity and commitment to our customers. In addition, my grandfather used to say "We want our customers to come back to find us, not come back to complain about us." That means insisting on bringing in only the best quality goods, and rejecting any that fails our standards, even if we are out of stock. This allows our customers to have faith and trust in our products, knowing they will never buy anything that will fail their taste bud, and that's how we achieve customer loyalty. 

Last of all, our products are kept fresh and pristine via proper cold storage. Which translate to no spoilt, rancid or pungent goods. This might sound simple, but really, you will be surprised how we hear of many cases where customers bought home nuts from other places that have turned rancid. Or anchovies that give off a strong pungent smell despite being bought recently. Here, we offer safe assurance and satisfaction in giving our customers only the best they should deserve.


Thomas kindly sent me a few packs of their dried fruits and nuts snack mixes for sampling. Snack mixes like these always come in handy to fill a rumbling tummy in between meals. Or simply add a dollop of yoghurt to these dried fruits and nuts to make a healthy and appetising breakfast. The kids love these snack mixes as much as I do, especially the ones with dried fruits added. The sweetness from the fruits complements the nutty flavour and crunch from the nuts, and the combination makes the snack so addictive!

Dried nuts and fruits to the rescue after a swim! - Fling In Everything from DriedFoodSG

Assortment of dried fruits and nuts

Delicious nuts to give you a boost at work
One reason why these dried fruits and nuts pre-mixes stand out from the usual brands I have bought is the freshness of the premium nuts in every bite. Although they might be a little pricier than what you get at local supermarts, these good quality nuts leave a little sweetness in the aftertaste. Dried Food SG also carries a good selection of raw nuts which are a healthier option to roasted ones.

Thomas also patiently educated me about their dried apricots and explained why they look darker brown than the usual orange ones I have eaten. Dark brown apricots are dried naturally, hence no sulfite compounds have been added to preserve the fruits. People with asthma history are said to have a higher risk of developing sulfite allergy. So, if you do not belong to this category, sulfite compounds probably won't cause much harm to your body. But then again, why add more chemicals to your body when you can avoid them?

Dried Food SG
Since Christmas and the Chinese New Year are approaching, why not drop by Dried Food SG to get some quality dried snacks to entertain your guests? If you are thinking of trying out their products but have no idea what to get, Thomas has a list of Top 10 Popular Products that you can start with. Aunty Me is also eager to visit the Pasir Panjang shop to check out their dried food products for cooking. I heard they have dried shrimps, dried mushrooms, and all other quality stuff!

Note: All their products come in 3 weights - 250g, 500g or 1kg. If you are ordering through the website, orders below $200 to a single location will incur a $10 delivery fee. there is FREE DELIVERY for orders above $100. Orders below $100 will incur a $5 delivery fee. Cash on delivery, unless otherwise stated. Read here for other delivery info. Alternatively, you are welcomed to visit their shop.

More about Dried Food SG by Buan Seng Boon Kee

Address: 15, Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre, #01-60/61, Singapore 110015
Phone: 9817 9951 (Thomas Tay)
Opening hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

We pledge to give you the best, because you deserve to eat only the best. - Dried Food SG

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  1. OMG! This is so cool! Young ones taking over and evolving family business. I shall support them when I next order my nuts! My family love nuts and mixes. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is great and helping in the family business when only few these days choose to do it. I love the nuts from cranberry, figs, dry blueberries.

  3. I'm in search of nuts. Yes, I'm nuts over nuts! I will go look them up.
    It takes a lot of courage to leave the cushy job and helping out in the family business. Can't wait to check them out soon!

  4. Always inspiring to hear stories of a son or daughter taking up the family business. And I learnt something about dried good business today :)

    cheers, Andy

  5. It's really amazing how Thomas evolved an otherwise struggling trade to a blooming online business! I always like to support these kinda enterprises instead of those cold supermarket chains. Way to go!

  6. It's always heart warming when young people take on family business expesically those that are not seen as "sexy" jobs. My parents often purchase their new year dried goods from Pasir Panjang, I'll be sure to ask them about it and go check it out with them the next time they are there.

  7. Motivating!! It's not easy to come out of your comfort zone and do something like this.

    1. Agree! It takes a lot of courage and tenacity to hold on to a family business.
      - Mary

  8. I immediately click through your link to their website! My favourite snack, besides chocolate, is dried fruit. I used to stock up at Victoria St Wholesale Market but since they moved, I lost my supplier! Thanks for sharing.

    Michelle @ The Chill Mom

  9. Thanks for supporting his family business! Let me know what you like most from his shop!
    - Mary


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