It’s not easy to work out where things began. I guess it started when both of us (Neil and Donna) were growing up in the UK and enjoyed Asian food takeaways that our parents used to buy us as a treat. Zoom forward 15 years and we both started travelling around South East Asia. The world of rice and how diverse and tasty it could really be was realised. We tried many, many different ways to try and make simple Jasmine rice like we had tasted overseas using basic rice cookers (glass lid bubbling water types) but the end result was a mess. Water all over the worktop and soggy rice with little flavour. Neil then went back to south east Asia for a job interview and discovered Zojirushi and how awesome they were at cooking perfect rice at the touch of a button.
We wanted to share the wonder of these machines with our fellow UK countryfolk so in 2005 we explored the possibility of getting one or two models of Zojirushi models approved for the UK market. We did this and sold them on an auction site (when auction sites were much more popular back then). They sold so well that we decided to cut out the middle man and sell them on a basic website. We wish we still had a copy of that basic website from 2006 to share with you, but Donna lost the copy; let’s just say, it was very basic but did the job of getting the word out there that people didn’t have to struggle anymore with basic glass lid rice cookers that spat starchy water all over their kitchen worktops. Instead they could enjoy the benefits of fuzzy logic rice cookers. We expanded our range of these wonderous rice cooking machines and in 2008 improved our website and then started selling Zojirushi’s other products. At the same time we were getting huge interest from European customers also wanting to buy from us. So we immediately started shipping to all 28 countries in Europe. By 2011 things were going so well and the internet had developed into a monster of a selling tool that we delved into ecommerce software and improved our website yet again.
By 2012 we had thousands of happy customers who were now starting to ask us for recipe ideas and other ways to get the most out of their happy purchases. So we added a recipe blog to our website and called it the Yum Asia Foodie Blog. Since this time Yum Asia has grown to be a successful business focused on selling high end rice cooking technologies and other technologies from Asia that do their job extremely well. Plain and simply put, we wouldn’t sell them if we thought they were poor products.
Zoom forward again to 2014 and we were finally ready to put something into motion that we had wanted to do from day 1. That was to create, manufacture and sell our own designed multi-function rice cooker to the UK and Europe. We crafted the perfect combination of features, style and reliability into a cooker that we named our first Yum Asia rice cooke ‘Sakura’ and complemented that with our own branded thermal flasks. Launched at the end of 2016 we are happy to say that they were selling like hot cakes and are extremely well reviewed! Over the next 4 years we expanded the Yum Asia rice cooker range with the birth of Panda (our mini rice cooker) and Bamboo (the UK and Europe’s first UAI IH rice cooker). More recently we redesigned our foodie blog and gave it a new home (here!) and renamed it to ‘Greedy Panda’.
Our plan to continue to be the Number 1 seller of Zojirushi products in the UK and Europe was aintained. However, our Yum Asia products have gone from strength to strength and are now number 1 in the UK and Europe for rice cookers in their own right.
Yum Asia are constantly improving and building on our strong foundation of rice cooker expertise, rice itself and related technologies.
Thank you to everyone’s continuing support and Happy Cooking!
Donna and Neil