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Meet Zul, and ask yourself - "Have you been KaPOWed?!?"

What do you do?

By trade I am an Education Officer. I teach secondary level English at an all girls’ secondary school in Bandar Seri Begawan. I've been teaching for 6 years and counting. I am totally MIB - Made in Brunei from Kindergarten to University. I graduated from UBD in 2003 and took BA Education (TESL major). On Friday mornings, I am a wannabe chef. I cook and sell KaPOW Burgers. When it comes to cooking, I never had any formal training. I learned from cooking programs; bought a couple of cook books and whenever I can, I learn and ask my mom for tips and recipes. Now that I don't live with her anymore I try to cook her dishes for myself whenever I  can. 

Describe yourself in three words.

Competitive. Lively. Joker.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up at Kampung Tasek Meradun in my Grandparents’ house. Then my family moved to Anggerek Desa until I was around nine years old, and in my teens we lived in Sungai Akar and then finally moved to Perumahan Kampung Rimba when I was in lower six. 

You're the guy behind KaPOW Burgers. Tell us how that came about.

KaPOW Burgers was an experiment. I was at a stage in my life where cooking my own meals became something I had started practicing when I was on a diet. My father offered my youth association a slot at the Gerai Ramadhan Belia in 2009 and I sold the idea of running a gerai to potential investors - my cousins. I had to come up with products which I thought had potential market value. I did my research and came up with a beef burger which was still at experiment stage. I was inspired by the fight scenes from the original Batman series and came up with KAPOW! I held a cooking demo and food tasting, and introduced a beef burger, sausage with sauce (i.e. the Sloppy Joe), spaghetti, and finally something I called the 'Messy Pita' inspired by Lionel Messi of Barcelona. The food tasting was a success! After the Gerai, I never had plans to sell the KaPOWs after puasa. But I received a lot of requests, and demand was there so I decided to start selling once a week and have never looked back. One day I hope to repay my regular customers for their loyalty and support for KaPOW Burgers.  

Describe the KAPOW Burger.

The taste of the KaPOW - gee, now this is a tough question to answer! KaPOWs and Sloppy Joe's have made people dream about KaPOWs at night. I remember this lovely couple who bought KaPOWs nearly everyday and said it was for their children. Whenever they came back, they always told us that their children had dreams about eating KaPOWs. KaPOWs are not your typical beef burgers. They have been marinated to precision and exquisiteness with herbs and spices. The buns are slightly burnt to release the flavours. A slice of fresh tomato and shredded fresh lettuce with a slice of melting cheese as the hot patty comes off the pan and on to the burger. A dash of chili sauce adds flavour to the burger and mayonnaise is added upon request.  

And the Sloppy Joe? 

The Sloppy Joe is a chicken sausage on a soft roll bun. What makes it sloppy is the sauce. Originally it came with a sloppy beef sauce but nowadays there is also a chicken sloppy sauce option. It is called sloppy because the nature of the sauce makes consuming the Joe a sloppy affair. An authentic sloppy sauce cooked to perfection using tomatoes, herbs and spices. The sloppy sauce goes on top of the chicken sausage. Once you have tried it, you might wish you had a second one. My customers are the better judge of the KaPOW Burgers and Sloppy Joe's. If they had not been coming back for more then I would have known that I did not meet their expectations. But Alhamdulillah, I am proud to say I meet new customers nearly every week and of course I also meet my regular ones! :D 

Mmmm…very tasty. Any words of wisdom to other aspiring local foodies?

Words of Wisdom. Hmmm. Keep on trying and practice makes perfect. Believe in your abilities. Everyone has a talent, but not every knows how to harness it. Determination, confidence and disciple are important attributes to abide by. Don't cook for the sake of cooking. Cook for the love of cooking. Inspiration is everywhere.  I did not imagine myself cooking a few years ago. I kinda stumbled upon cooking and it grew. Cooking is one of my stress relievers. It simply cools me down and when I'm in the kitchen I feel empowered and inspired. I remember a colleague once told me she had never seen me work so hard when I was selling KaPOWs at the Stadium and she said I looked really happy. Like I said, Cook for the love of cooking and everything else should come easy (I hope! heheheh).

Name your favourite restaurants in Brunei, and which dishes do you recommend?

Fave restaurants? This is a really tough question! :D One would be Tauren, The Arch - I always order the Kolo Mee Pok and Mandarin Orange Sorbet. Another would be Excapade for the Salmon dishes :D 

Name 'must-visit' places in Brunei, and why.

Berakas Forest Reserve because it has a lovely beach, and Nasi Katok Jerudong for one of the best Nasi Katok's in Brunei.   

What do you hope to achieve in 3 years' time?

Professionally, I hope to have finished my Masters by then. I also hope to get a promotion of some sort. As for the business, what will happen to KaPOW I am not sure. I hope KaPOW gets a great sponsor or financial backing, and get to expand its market.   

 

A picture of the KaPOWs, and of Zul hard at work.

A picture of the Sloppy Joe.

A picture of one of the KaPOW burgers.


Editor's Note: Zul Fadly and the KaPOW Burgers have previously been featured by Senor Pablo, and more recently on The Brunei Times. Zul is a blogger at http://soulkonekshen.tumblr.com, on Twitter as @Zulfadly, and of course, as @KaPowBurgerfollow him on Twitter. What you may not know about Zul is that, in 2003, he organised the Soul Connection concert in Brunei, where he brought over Malaysian R n' B groups, including VE and Innuendo. Last but not least, if you're interested in experiencing the KaPOW or Sloppy Joe, go to the KaPOW Burger Fan page on Facebook, and Zul will take care of the rest!

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