When Prim Singh started making and selling wontons at his rum shop in Trinidad more than 30 years ago, little did he know that the “Chinese dumplings ” would become ” big business ” for him in far off Canada.
As he recalled, the snacks were so popular at his bar, that he was often selling more wontons than liquor.
But when he left Trinidad with his family 28 years ago to start a new life in Canada, wontons were definitely not on his mind, he told the Caribbean Camera in a recent interview.
The Trinidad-born businessman moved to Smith Falls, Ontario where he was first hired as a dishwasher and for several years, he worked at a chocolate factory.
But he always had a great interest in machines and went back to school to learn about computers.
Then he started his own computer sales and repair business and to supplement the family’s income, he and his wife, along with their two children, spent their weekends in the kitchen, hand-folding thousands of wontons to sell at local businesses.
But making wontons by hand was a slow process, said Singh.
Then he got an idea . Why not make a machine to produce wontons?
It took several years and ” lots of money,”he noted.
But he used his knowledge of food processing gained at the chocolate plant where he worked, to design a computerised machine that fills and folds 5,000 wontons every hour.
The machine-made wontons are flash-frozen and bagged before being delivered to distributors.
With assistance from the Business Development Bank of Canada, and national publicity from the CBC ‘s “Dragon’s Den” television program, “Wonton Crunch ” is now selling more than 250, 000 crispy jalapeno cream cheese wontons to Farm Boy stores every month.
And Singh said new flavours are on the way.
Today, with several of his machines in operation from his plant at the Gallipeau Centre in Smith Fall, his ” Wonton Crunch” business is booming, Singh reports.
He now plans to expand his business nationally.
“We’re going to go straight across Canada,” Singh said
He also said that he is also looking at the American market as he holds both Canadian and American patents for his machine.
A feasibility study recently conducted on his company noted he has a world-wide market of 75 million wontons a year.
To accommodate the growing business, “Wonton Crunch” will be moving into a new plant later this month, Singh announced.