Who would imagine such craze for these salted egg snacks? I was texted by my friend in Hong Kong to help buy her some of these Irvins salted egg snacks. I was visiting HKG anyway, so how difficult could it be to pick these up? WRONG!
I checked out the website and there were several locations. I chose Plaza Singapura because the Circle Line train stop was right there at the mall. So one afternoon, I took the train down at 3pm. Approaching the stall, I was happy to see that there was no queue, only to realize that it was because all the salted egg snacks had already sold out by noon! So why stay open, I asked the sales lady. She said they were selling the salted egg sauce and merchandise. Seriously? People would buy the merchandise? I suppose if you made the special effort to go to the stall to buy the snacks, you might just buy the merchandise so as not to leave empty-handed. The sales lady told me that I need to queue before the stall opens at 10AM. OMG!!!
Refusing to give up, I took the train to Orchard Central. I finally found the stall and it was the same story. I was feeling quite dejected and explained to the sales lady that I wanted to get just one packet of salted egg fish skin so my sister, who was returning to the US the next day, could try and see for herself what the whole craze was about. The sales lady was really nice and offered to sell me a packet of fish skin and potato chips each from her personal stash. I was so touched. I couldn’t bear to make her part with her precious snacks, so I bought only 1 small packet of salted egg fish skin from her. The whole transaction was done sneakily in a back alley, away from the public eye, for fear of antagonizing other customers and causing a riot. All for a bag of salted egg fish skin. Can you believe it?
So on the week that I was leaving for Hong Kong, I went to queue first thing on Wed morning — the only day that I didn’t have to teach and was free. I arrived at 9.45AM, worrying that I might be too late joining the queue. I counted and I was amongst the first 30 customers.
I quickly texted my friends in the Hong Kong trip group chat to let them know I had a good chance of getting the snacks. Come 10AM and the stall opened. It was my turn 20mins later. Each customer was allowed only 5 packets, large (S$16) or small (S$8). So I bought 5 large packets, 3 fish skin and 2 potato chips. I was elated with the successful purchase and quickly took a photo to show my friends. I was not the only one — there were other people taking photos of their successful purchases too. I saw a family of 4, each carrying a bag of 5 packets, making a family purchase of 20 packets of salted egg snacks. Imagine me spending S$80 for 5 packets of salted egg snacks. This family spent S$320!!!! Mind-boggling.
There was still a queue when I left at 10.30AM. It did look like there was enough snacks for all in the line but I bet there was only another hour of sale max.
I read and heard that there was another company selling salted egg snacks, called The Golden Duck. And it looks like a much bigger company based on the number of locations selling its salted egg snacks. I thought their tagline “Not all snacks are created equal” was quite witty. It clearly said on the website “Made in Singapore. Est. 2015”. A friend told me she had tried the snacks and found the Irvins’ snacks tasted better.
In my research, I found a blogger who did a blind tasting for both potato chips a year ago. And she had this to say:
If you are looking for an awesome OVERPOWERING salted egg experince, go for Golden Duck. If you like cereal prawn, you will like Golden Duck because it’s similarly tasting = SHIOKNESS of sweet and savory 😍😚🎉 If you prefer a lighter tasting, go for Irvin’s! Also if you are looking for halal options, pleased to inform you that they are halal. ☝🏼😂
I plan to try The Golden Duck snacks one day. It looks like they are available only in small packs @ S$7 each, unlike Irvins which has large and small packs. Tasting is believing. I know salted egg isn’t really all that healthy but eating in moderation should be ok I think. What’s life without some indulgence.
In case you are wondering how I managed to carry all 5 packs to Hong Kong — I packed them into this carry-on bag and guarded it with my life!