[Editors’s Note: A previous version of the article said that Mofo Chili’s products are all keto-friendly. An update from a Mofo Chili spokesperson said that the highlight of the chillis is that there is no sugar added. Article has been amended to reflect this.]
Chilli is typically dubbed as a staple spice in Singapore.
From chilli crab to Hainanese chicken rice, chilli always seems to make an appearance, whether as the star or an accompaniment.
Singaporeans who have lived abroad for some time often fondly remember bringing along with them bottles of the red hot condiment to douse their meals in.
Not surprisingly, that is exactly what founders of MOFO Chili — Monica Josephine and Steffi Elvira (Foi) — did when they went to university overseas.
According to Monica, the duo used to fry their own chilli, and would lug at least 5kg of this fried chilli with them to the United Kingdom.
Their chilli became very well-known and loved by their friends.
Upon relocating back to Singapore, they continued producing chilli for their friends, who cajoled them into selling it to the mass market.
The Spicy Sisters
The name MOFO was derived from fusing the first two letters from the names (Monica and Foi) together, which also led them to be referred to as the ‘Chilli Sisters’.
Monica told Vulcan Post that they originated from Manado, a city in Indonesia well-known for it spicy dishes and heavy use of chilli.
When in Singapore, Foi began cooking fried chilli inspired by those they could find in their hometown, and perfected the recipe for MOFO Chili.
Prior to starting MOFO Chili, Monica was working in corporate sales whilst Foi had a hospitality background.
Vegan, Halal, And No Sugar Added
The sisters started off by buying raw ingredients from a wet market near their home and cooked the chillis by themselves.
Monica told Vulcan Post that their first batch of their homemade chilli was sold at the Pasar Bella Farmer’s Market back in 2013, where the response was amazing.
They later moved on to cooking at central kitchens and partnering with companies to produce the chillis for them.
Today, they have their own production kitchen, and even a plantation in Indonesia from which they harvest their own raw ingredients for chilli production.
According to Monica, MOFO Chili is versatile, suitable for cooking, marinating and dipping — all without changing the taste of each dish.
Even though Singaporeans are familiar with sambal belachan, it is in fact not vegetarian friendly. On the other hand, MOFO Chili is vegan, halal and sugar-free.
There are also no preservatives, stabilisers or additives inside the chillies. What consumers get is purely a mixture of chillies, onion, oil and salt.
When asked about the process of creating these fiery concoctions, Monica said that the “secret is in the control of the fire and the ratio of ingredients in the chili”.
A quick perusal of the MOFO Chili online store shows that their chillis come in various spice levels, from the level five Dodge The Bullet to level ten Final Destination.
In recent years, the sisters have also been invited by the Singapore Youth Council to organise a spicy-eating competition, as well as hosted various events like the MOFO Omakase Pop-Up.
The duo sells hundreds of bottles of chilli each month.
An Even Spicier ‘Final Destination’
The Final Destination is currently the spiciest of the MOFO Chili product range.
However, Monica said that the Chilli Sisters plan to launch an even spicier version of the Final Destination, along with other product lines such as instant noodles and garlic chillis.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the sisters also revamped the MOFO Chili website to allow people all over the world to purchase their chillis.
Thus, this product line that was proudly “born and bred” in Singapore is making its way around the world.
Reaching out to international customers is also something the sisters plan to do, as well as expanding their plantation to support the growth of their product lines.
MOFO Chili has also established business-to-business partnerships with restaurants to allow more Singaporeans to get a taste of the fiery hot chilli.
Featured Image Credit: MOFO Chili, The Honeycombers