When The Golden Duck co-founder Jonathan Shen walks into a room, you look. It is easy to dismiss Shen (with his rugby player’s build) as another fraternity boy. But what you don’t see are the round-the-clock kitchen shifts that run his hands raw, the unending panic of buoying numbers on thin red lines, and the pressure to stay creative on top of the day-to-day stressors that come with running one’s own business — but Shen is quick to deflect praise with his characteristically self-effacing replies and “aw, shucks” chuckles.
The Golden Duck shot to the top of every palate and shelf when it burst onto the scene in 2015. Shen says the company now sells upwards of 10,000 packets of the salted egg yolk snack per week, and were the top-selling potato crisps cross convenience stores in 2017.
But its popularity required some effort. To create the perfect crisp, Shen did more than 30 taste trials and sampled “almost every salted egg dish in Singapore”. He still revisits the recipes to see how they can be improved.
Although the company has a profusion of snack ideas in the pipeline, Shen divulges the team is taking its time to release them, to ensure they become “absolute winners”. “The Golden Duck standard means you never get a pack of passé snacks,” he says. “We want to do what nobody else has done.”