Toh’s Story :
Toh developed the recipe while working as a chef. He went to Japan to study animation but felt he would struggle to survive financially in that career path. He switched his major to culinary arts and graduated with adequate work experience. When he returned to Kuala Lumpur in 2014, a friend was opening a now-defunct Japanese restaurant in Wisma Cosway and Toh agreed to helm the kitchen. Its customers comprised locals who would often ask for a spicy dip to complement the clean and fresh profile of Japanese cuisine.
“I had to work with whatever ingredients were available, so I created a simple, garlicky chilli oil to accommodate them,” he says. “It swiftly gained popularity — customers would return specifically for more ‘fried chilli bits’. That was the first generation of my chilli garlic. Business boomed at the restaurant, but the workload was overwhelming, as I was the only one who had mastered the recipe and had to prepare vast quantities for the diners.”
Realising its potential, Toh began producing small batches to sell to friends and family and, later, at artisan markets and bazaars. He used the letters in his surname to fashion the product’s premise — taste of happiness — and eventually started manufacturing the original and extra spicy versions under an eponymous label for mass consumption.