Diploma in Business Enterprise IT (Class of 2018)
Bringing ‘Mala Ban’ to Singapore
NYP Alumna, Hana Ding Yiqian, took a gap year after graduating with NYP's Diploma in Business Enterprise IT (Class of 2018). During her gap year, she visited her hometown in China and was inspired to introduce her favourite local dish "mala ban" (spicy mix) to Singapore.
To bring her idea to fruition, Hana started Ban Ban in the basement of 313 Somerset with two other friends in late 2019. Ban Ban is a takeaway-only food kiosk serving blanched food items served with a special sauce for mixing into the bowls. The sauce was adapted to suit the Singaporean tastebuds, available in both spicy and non-spicy options. There is a wide variety of food items that customers can choose from: fresh vegetables, mushrooms, meat and seafood such as pork and fish slices. Their all-time popular food items include ring rolls, fortune bags (fish roe) and shrimp paste. Customers have the freedom to combine any of their favourite items to go into the bowls!
Five months into the business, Singapore went into a nation-wide lockdown due to the global pandemic. Similar to many F&B businesses in Singapore, Ban Ban faced a big challenge when the default work-from-home arrangements resulted in the thinning of office crowds in the city area. Together with other F&B tenants at 313 Somerset, Ban Ban started participating in group-buys and provided free delivery to collection points at MRT stations in the city area. Due to the social distancing restrictions which continued through the following two years, Ban Ban continued to face challenges such as acute manpower shortage.
Eventually, Hana's partners left the business, and Hana had to decide the future of Ban Ban. In 2022, Hana made the decision to close her stall at 313 Somerset and operate a new stall situated at her alma mater, NYP! To Hana, this is a fresh start at a new location with a much more manageable rental cost. The move also allowed her to take time to refine the strategies which she can adopt to scale her business from her NYP base. Currently, she offers free delivery to a collection point at Ang Mo Kio MRT station every weekday evening and free delivery islandwide (with minimum purchase).
If you are on campus and wish to check out Ban Ban, do look out for the bright, distinctive colours and adorable illustrations at the stall!