5 unique goodies to bring home from your trips around Asia

Kroodi's cashew cheese

Kroodi's artisanal cashew cheeses

If you’re looking for new snacks for your carry-on, yummy gifts to bring back home, or all-natural products that can help reduce your carbon footprint while you travel, you can’t go wrong with the winners and finalists of this year’s *Asia Food Innovation Awards held in Singapore this month.

Here are our top picks:

1. Kroodi

Winner, “Best artisan product,” “Best concept” and “Best ‘free-from’ product”

If you haven’t heard of cashew cheese, you’re missing out. Kroodi’s range of artisanal cashew cheeses, are all-natural, vegan, dairy-free, lactose-free and preservative-free. But cheese lovers will be pleasantly surprised to find that the Singapore-based brand’s offerings are just as rich and tasty.

They offer health benefits too – made with organic cashew nuts, they contain proteins, probiotics and vitamin B. Flavors include the basil-scented Basilicato, the truffle-and-mushroom treat called Truffi, and the cheddar-y Cheddi. Serve and enjoy them as you would your other cheeses. www.kroodi.com

2. Rice Straws

Winner, “Best sustainable packaging”

Metal straws are great, but they do need to be cleaned. Enter RiceStraws, which are edible and biodegradable. “They are made of a combination of rice and tapioca, and decompose within 90 days,” says YT Law, CEO of NLYTech BIOTECH, the Malaysia-based company behind RiceStraws. What’s more, they last for up to 10 hours in cold drinks, and up to three hours in hot drinks – very convenient. ricestraws.net

3. Taiga Chocolate’s Dark Chocolate with Smelt Fish

Winner, “Best confectionery product” and finalist, “Best ingredient innovation”

Smelts are delicious on their own grilled or fried, but in chocolate? Don’t knock it back just yet. (Last we checked, the product was sold out!) “The diversity of Arctic nature has inspired Taiga’s unusual flavors and wild combinations. Just one single bite can take your mind to a mysterious Arctic forest in Finland,” quotes Taiga Chocolate CEO Mirja Palola. With interesting ingredients like smelt fish, reindeer and cultivated house crickets in their premium chocolates, we’d have to agree.

Intrigued? Taiga Chocolate is already available in Hong Kong – and you will see them in Singapore this year. “Our aim is to expand to other markets in Southeast Asia in the next few years,” she adds. But if you’re not the patient sort, you can always order from their site. taigachocolate.com

4. Nutrixin Appeel

Winner, “Best health/wellness product”

Innovfood’s Nutrixin Appeel is all-natural, vegan, and free from preservatives and added sugar — something we all need after long walks, hot days and back-to-back activities. Lab-measured and validated, it’s found to be high in antioxidants and rich in vitamin C too.

“In Nutrixin Appeel, an ordinary whole red apple is deconstructed and reconstructed to amplify the benefits and reduce the not-so-healthy components (such as natural apple sugar) so it can deliver optimized cardio-protective benefits to consumers,” explains Dr Loke Wai Mun, Innovfood CEO. In fact, Appeel’s sugar content per serving is less than that of a whole apple. It’s also Halal-certified and suitable for all ages – so feel free to share it with everyone when you visit Singapore. nutrixin.sg

5. The Lapis Place

Finalist, “Best artisan product”

Their delicately layered kueh lapis are lovely to look at as they are to eat. And you have a lot of flavors to choose from – 17, to be exact. “There’s a flavor for every occasion and I’ll never get sick of it,” admits Stef Yeo, The Lapis Place’s sales and marketing manager. They have outlets in Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. “As a tea lover myself, my personal favorite is Earl Grey as it pairs very well with tea.” Get the chocolate, matcha, salted egg, pistachio or prune to go. thelapisplace.com

*Photos courtesy of Food Bev Media, who organizes the annual Asia Food Innovation Awards. Check out the rest of the winners at fb.com/foodbevmedia

Cebu Pacific flies to various destinations around the Asia-Pacific region from Manila, Cebu and Clark. cebupacificair.com

Written by

Charmaine Baylon

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