The Dubai Crown Prince took Emiratis and long-term UAE expats on a nostalgic journey recently as he posted an image of traditional chips known as pofak. As it turns out, there is much more to the Instagram story.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had posted the image earlier this week.
UAE residents have been snacking on pofak — a snack made of cheese and corn that almost enjoys heritage status — for decades. Khaleej Times can now reveal that the image Sheikh Hamdan posted — a packet of chips branded 'Dubai Pofak' — is that of a just-launched product.
Pofak most likely comes from the phrase ‘puffed corn’ — a snack that used to be very popular decades ago.
Hassan Bin Al Shaikh (HBAS) Group of Industries has launched the Dubai Pofak. Dr Ahmad bin Hassan AlShaikh, managing director of the company, said the brand used to be available in the market back in the 1980s. It was discontinued in the late 1990s.
“We re-launched the product after nearly two-and-a-half decades,” Dr Ahmad told Khaleej Times in an interview. “It was an exciting moment for us when we saw Sheikh Hamdan share that image. We had just launched the product and started distributing it. I am so glad he posted it, he must have liked the taste!”
He said the team had been working on the chips for two-and-a-half years before it was launched. “We tested different mixtures and flavours with our focus groups that included children, youth, middle-aged people and the elderly. We zeroed in on this particular product after they all expressed satisfaction,” Dr Ahmad added.
When asked how the Dubai Pofak is different from the others in the market, he said it lies in the chip’s softness, flavour and shape. “It has relaxing vibes. This is the softest pofak you will find in the market. Its flavour is very different.”
He added that most of its ingredients are sourced from the UAE. Some, including maize, has to be imported. “We are in talks with local producers to source these locally as well.”
For the first few weeks, the product will be exclusively available at Emirati Industries Cooperative. “It will soon be available across the country,” said Dr Ahmed. “It should be priced between 50 fils and Dh1.”
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