Author’s Blurb: Eggs are a staple in everyone’s kitchen. The simple and delicate ingredient can be used in a variety of dishes, even on its own. It’s probably the only thing I know how to cook well—scrambled, omelettes, sunny-side-up, you name it.
Adrian Lau likes his eggs cold, but that doesn’t mean he eats them raw. Obsessed with onsen eggs, he decided to turn it into a business, The Posh Egg, after leaving a corporate job in healthcare last year.
It Started With Chicken Rice
Adrian chimed during our interview, “My love for eating chilled dishes stems from my childhood as my grandmother’s famous chilled chicken rice was a weekly affair at home!”
Accustomed to eating plenty of half-boiled eggs as a child, he later discovered the Japanese way of making onsen eggs and never went back.
Onsen (温泉) is the Japanese name for a hot spring. Holiday-goers would sneak raw eggs into the onsen which had temperatures warm enough to cook an egg. Thus, the concept of the onsen egg was born.
Its mild cooking temperature gives onsen eggs a distinct singular texture where the egg white and yolk are exactly the same. It’s difficult to achieve this texture for half-boiled eggs, according to Adrian.
This is because the high heat of boiling water to cook half-boiled eggs in 5 minutes makes it impossible to control the consistency of the yolk.
He added that poached eggs differ by having firmer egg whites that have been cooked via direct exposure to boiling water for 2 minutes. They’re unlike the former 2 which are simmered while still in their shells.
“Posh Eggs are cooked very very slowly at a controlled temperature for a specific time, ranging between 1 to 2 hours, which results in eggs that can be slurped, which is what you will not get with half-boiled eggs,” explained Adrian.
Additionally, onsen eggs are eaten while chilled. Because eggs can be pretty tasteless in general, their pack of 10 onsen eggs comes with homemade Dashi and chopped spring onions for RM35.
Dictionary Time: Dashi is a broth made from bonito flakes, which consists of dried fermented tuna and dried sheets of seaweed. It’s not the same as miso, a paste made from fermented soybeans.
Cracking the Egg Code
But consumers may find that paying RM35 (excluding delivery) for 10 ready-cooked onsen eggs is pricey. Furthermore, the eggs and Dashi need to be consumed within a week for optimum freshness.
Hence, I wondered how Adrian was able to convince customers that his product was a good investment. Confident, he replied, “Simple. They just need to try one to tell the difference.”
“Most of our customers end up becoming regulars, and we now even customise orders for customers who want their eggs at very specific textures, i.e. creamier egg yolks or firmer egg whites, etc.”
Yet to be convinced, I had to get a pack to try for myself. While I’m generally not a fan of cold food, Posh Eggs did live up to its claims in being single textured and slurpable. I found it pretty enjoyable especially after adding the well-flavoured Dashi to go along with it.
Adrian is debuting Posh Eggs at a bazaar in Sunny Side Up Market at The Row, since events are allowed again. Instagram is also his preferred platform because of its focus on visuals.
“Apart from that, our most effective marketing has been through word-of-mouth recommendations by satisfied customers. We also notice many of our customers send The Posh Egg boxes as gifts to their family and friends,” he told Vulcan Post.
For now, he’s focused on delivering the product to individual customers as it gives him full control over the customer experience. That said, a couple of bars and restaurants are also experimenting with incorporating Posh Eggs into their food and cocktail menus.
After starting the business in February this year, they sold 10 boxes within their first week of launching. That number has since increased to 40 to 50 boxes a week, whereby 30% to 40% of customers have even become weekly recurring customers.
Bottom Line: Just like any ready-to-eat/drink products like chicken breasts in packets or bottled sangrias, The Posh Egg is serving a market that’s willing to pay for convenience. Sure, one can buy the base ingredients for cheaper and make it themselves, but for some, it’s just not worth the effort.
Featured Image Credit: Adrian Lau, founder of Posh Eggs