The most loved dip of the world must be hummus, the combination of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice is just magical. Hummus is also considered healthy, so we aren’t afraid to stuff our faces with the stuff. And this is what Beijing has been doing since Nicola Bonnah launched Halo Hummus last year. It has since been taking off with some finger licking good speed, receiving wide acclaim from moms all over the city. It doesn’t hurt that her hummus comes in several layers and is sometimes too pretty to even dig into. These will soon be available from Sherpas, Baidu, Meituan, and other platforms, but you can contact Nicole on WeChat (WeChat ID: NicoleBonnah) to place an order today.
Why did you start Halo Hummus?
Halo Hummus was born out of a personal love and need for hummus! When I first moved to China in 2013, I just couldn’t seem to find any decent hummus and the ones I did come across left a little something to be desired. I thought the best way to combat this and feed my hummus addiction was to start making my own. I was somewhat impressed with myself, but it wasn’t until friends started commenting on my hummus and asking if I was willing to make and sell batches to them, that I saw a window of opportunity to share my love of hummus with other fellow Beijingers, and begin to create a Hummus Society of Hummus lovers from all over the world right here in China’s capital!
I sell a collection of home-made fusion hummus and focaccia bread, using locally sourced and organic ingredients where possible. The aim is to become 100 percent organic, once I can hunt down the right suppliers. Halo Hummus is not just about hummus (well mostly!) but about inspiring healthy living and healthy snacking. At the moment I offer three different vegan-friendly fusions and one meat layered option, with a new collection of layered hummus and other flavors currently in the making. My add-on is the Halo freshly baked focaccia bread – another twist on the usual choice of traditional flatbread, that most people tend to partner with their hummus.
How did you think of the name?
When thinking of the name, I wanted my hummus to become synonymous with something innocent and heavenly to eat! A guiltless treat or accompaniment to a meal. I also wanted to lavish the tops of my hummus with a crown of delicious goodies and thought that this crown reminded me of a little halo of yumminess! So the name was born. I also hope that after eating a tub of Halo, you feel as if you have your own halo shining brightly as you made a tasty but healthy choice for your tummy.
What differentiates Halo Hummus from other places of business which have hummus on the menu, is that the Hummus at Halo is the star of the show, not an afterthought, or a meek and mild appetizer before something more colorful and thrilling. Your lunch can consist of just a tub of Halo and your choice of healthy dippers!
Did you anticipate it getting so many fans?
I never anticipated the wave of fandom that Halo Hummus has received! Until now it still surprises me but fills me with great joy that so many people love the product. I receive pictures, almost daily, of empty Halo tubs around Beijing at house parties, private events, dinner soirees, and requests to ship nationwide. It was only last night while dining at a communal table that someone overheard me talking about Halo, and exclaimed: “Oh, you’re Halo Hummus!” and told me how much they loved the product.
How will you combine motherhood and your business?
Motherhood alongside Halo will, of course, be a challenge but is something I’m actually looking forward to. I’m a true believer that with the right support network around you and drive, working mothers can achieve the ultimate balance with their first love – family, and their second love – personal/work related endeavors that they have a passion for. I now have an assistant and will be joining the team at Hatchery, The Arcade, in their new location in Guomao, where Halo Hummus will be retailing and available for order and delivery! This should lighten the load and enable me to spend time with my sweet new bundle of joy and keep the hummus revolution in full swing.
What is the hardest part of starting a business in Beijing?
The hardest part of starting a business in China is perhaps keeping up to speed with changing regulations and the need to be super patient when it comes to acquiring all the regulatory paperwork needed to start and run a company. You need grit, determination, and most of all a real love and vision for what it is that you want to achieve. Talk to as many fellow entrepreneurs as you can for inspiration and much-needed encouragement, ask for help when you need it, and only seek and obtain advice from a small select group of individuals, rather than getting bogged down with endless streams of suggestions from anyone willing to chip in! They mean well but it can sometimes leave you in a whirlwind of confusion and doubt.
My background is international journalism with a specialization in social and cultural affairs, and a particular focus on the African Diaspora in England and now in Asia. My writing has been featured in Global Times, US-China Focus, SB TV Australia, and London’s first black national new paper, The Voice, among others. I also have my own blog, Black Lives in China, and a short documentary, The Black Orient, offering a personal and deeper look at the black experience in China.
Photos: Courtesy of Sydney Bishop
This article appeared on p20-21 of beijingkids May 2018 issue.