Brian Brindza is a Chicago based Newly Weds Foods chef who for a few months will be working out of the Thailand R&D center and providing culinary support and coverage in the Asia/Pacific region. Not only will he be exposed to new trends and ingredients from that part of the world but, he will be sharing his knowledge of US food trends with the group over there. This exchange of ideas is at the core of Newly Weds Foods commitment to bring new tastes from all over the world to your product portfolio. Follow Brian as he experiences Thailand and other locales first hand.
The journey to Bangkok was not an easy one. I left Chicago early on Sunday morning with two large bags and a small back pack. Everything one would need for an extended trip.
My family and girlfriend drove me to O’Hare Airport to see me off and say goodbyes. I made my way through security and got one last Italian Beef sandwich before I left. That’s when the first hiccup in my travels happened. After sitting on the runway for 45 minutes the pilot announced we needed to return to the gate due to a mechanical issue. Would it be a 10 minute delay…or 10 hours? That was the question and the answer was more the latter, which had a ripple effect on the rest of my trip. After six hours of waiting we finally made it in to the air. The 15 hour flight was not as bad as I thought it would be, because of the free movies and long naps. The best part of the flight was when the pilot came on the intercom and told us we were directly over the North Pole. Needless to say, I was ready to land when we arrived in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, my original connecting flight to the Philippines was long gone so I headed to a hotel to sleep for a few hours before catching my re-booked flight in the morning.
The next day I woke up early to get to Manila. Newly Weds Foods was participating in a conference and I was going there to help prepare some new product concepts for review. Thankfully, this flight was on time and everything went smoothly. I took the shuttle to the hotel and met with several Newly Weds Foods Asia/Pacific compatriots to discuss the product presentation scheduled for later in the day. At the conference we prepared all of the products and set up a display for everyone to taste the new concepts. It was a great success and I was very impressed with our Asia/Pacific team. I was very happy to work with them, and look forward to the next time we collaborate.
On the third day, I went to our Manila manufacturing plant. Trying to make it without getting hit by a Jeepney or all the other insane drivers was an adventure in and of itself. I went on a plant tour and saw the new R&D labs. I was also able to provide some constructive input to the culinary center Newly Weds Foods is building on-site. After that I went on a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) dine around at Market! Market!, a huge six story shopping mall with QSRs stacked on top of each other. I stopped in Philippine based Jollibee and its other concept brands like Chowking, Greenwich Pizza and Red Ribbon. We finished up the visit with a stop at Wendy’s to test out the new Spicy Smack Down Burger. The whole trip was very interesting because I never realized how western the Philippines are as far as fast food goes. After sampling so many different QSRs it’s easy to pick up that the big trend in the Philippine fast food game right now is bone-in fried chicken, spaghetti, and of course hot dogs. Later in the day I was taken out by the Newly Weds Foods Manila staff and treated to some Philippine food and night life. I had to pack it in early because tomorrow I was off to Bangkok, my new home for the next three or so months.