It was at The L’il Flea festival in Bandra, Mumbai that we had our first encounter with “hoppumms”, a marriage between Sri Lankan hoppers and South Indian appams. The fiery orange fillings resting inside giant-sized appams drew many hungry enquiries.
We spotted this one at L'il Flea, Mumbai
“It’s something different and not eaten often by people in India. In terms of taste and flavours, we can honestly say that you won't find something better,” say the founders Sahil and Jai Wadhwa. Their favourites are the crab, fish or prawn moilees, served in a multigrain of spinach hopper. Sahil tells you everything you need to know about Hoppumm:
Hoppers is the Sri Lankan name for Appams. They are very similar, differing only (and slightly) in regional spices and taste. We have essentially brought the two together - Hop from Hoppers, and Umm (actually ‘am’ from Appam) but, added the ‘umm’ to denote the deliciousness of the two when put together. Hence, it became Hoppumm.
Sahil Wadhwa, 34: A PGDM holder in hospitality, he has led entrepreneurial ventures in the past in the form of a corporate catering business.
Jai Wadhwa at L'il Flea
Jai Wadhwa, 29: He was partner at Bartender’s Inc, a Bar Solutions company, and has spent over a decade in the field of event management.
Lakshit Shetty, 29: A B.S.C graduate in Hospitality and Applied Nutrition from The Institute of Hotel Management, Mumbai, he has worked for six years as Sous Chef with The Prestigious ITC Group of Hotels and is presently involved in running the family business by the name of All Seasons Banquets, Colaba.
Jai and I are brothers. Lakshit is Jai’s school friend and batchmate. We all grew up together. All Scottishites and football team-mates, it was only natural that we kept networking post education. Our common food/hospitality background had led us to several discussions on being a business team in this food business.
We were very sure that when we entered the food space and especially as a pop up, that we wanted to be exclusive and different. Hoppumm ticked all the boxes for us: we could offer new and exciting flavours, had extensive freedom to expand the menu, a non-capital intensive business module and a potential for expansion. Given the plethora of pop-up concepts, it gives us a great opportunity to showcase our product, get feedback from our customers and eventually turn them into loyal lovers of the food we have to offer.
Photo: Team Hoppumm
We are currently available at pop-ups and exhibitions (Stylecracker, Araaish, Lil Flea, etc). The other option is outdoor catering. We undertake catering for groups of 20 people and above.
We are also looking at setting up a QSR (quick-service restaurant) space in Bandra and hope to close on something soon. The response to be honest has been amazing. After Hoppumm, we have also launched another vertical called Hop Express. Hop Express is for corporates. It's where we do more of the South Indian side of Hoppumm and it’s meant to serve daily food at a corporate office or at a Business park.
It’s still early days for 2018 and the world hasn’t yet decided which cuisines to go crazy about this year. Could it be that Indians will give the green signal to Sri Lankan cuisine? “Definitely, in terms of the flavours, it’s very similar to what Indians would love to eat. There is no reason why Sri Lankan food would not be a hit with Indians,” conclude the founders of Hoppumm.