Borderless Butter: 27-year-old makes mala, bacon and other artisanal flavoured butters at home

By Evan Mua May 10, 2024
Borderless Butter: 27-year-old makes mala, bacon and other artisanal flavoured butters at home
Borderless Butter is a home-based business making some really unique butter flavours. Photos: Abdul Rahim Anwar/HungryGoWhere

How well do you know butter? In your mind, is it just a simple spread for your bread or an ingredient that makes your food richer?

To 27-year-old Arden Zhuo, though — the mastermind behind local home-based brand Borderless Butter — the dairy product is a medium that has potential to channel her creativity.

Borderless Butter
Owner Arden believes butter is a great way to channel her creativity. Photo: Abdul Rahim Anwar/HungryGoWhere

The brand was launched in December 2023 when she found herself having an abundance of time on her hands after being laid off in October.

She was inspired to explore her creative side — hence, the birth of Borderless Butter.

Making butter borderless

Borderless Butter
The 27-year-old started her butter journey after being laid off last year. Photo: Abdul Rahim Anwar/HungryGoWhere

One thing that stands out about Borderless Butter is the Arden’s eclectic range of flavours.

These are not your usual compound butters, as more outlandish combinations have managed to find their way onto her menu — mala and XO, caramelised onions and bacon, et al.

How did the entrepreneur land on flavoured butter as her focus, though?

“I realised compound butter was something that’s not as commonly found in Singaporean households. It was an opportunity and a challenge for me to educate customers on how butter can be used,” she explains.

Borderless Butter
Her ideas are eclectic and quirky. Photo: Abdul Rahim Anwar/HungryGoWhere

On top of that, she wanted to do something more creative. At its core, Borderless Butter is guided by these values: Playfulness, experimentation and a willingness to be bold.

That means that Arden is a lot more liberal with the ideas that go into her butters, rather than constraining herself to established labels such as being “Asian-inspired”. She aims to truly go “borderless”.

She says: “I don’t want to confine my ideas to certain regions and also I don’t want to limit my butter to being only savoury or sweet. Recently, I even made a musang-king sea-salt gula-melaka butter!”

And yes, Arden personally makes and bottles all of Borderless Butter’s products. While she doesn’t churn the butter herself at this point, she preps and cook all ingredients — such as caramelised onions — before mixing to make her compound butters. Each batch takes up to four hours.

Borderless Butter
Arden does everything herself, from the cooking and mixing, to the marketing and social media. Photo: Abdul Rahim Anwar/HungryGoWhere

Of course, trying out more experimental flavours comes with risk but Arden says that she has (fortunately) heard only good things at her pop-up booths, when she gets to meet customers face to face.

“A lot of people who haven’t seen compound butter are pleasantly surprised and tell me it’s good and fragrant,” she says.

Arden’s willingness to experiment also comes through in her foolproof 10-minute recipes, which provide her customers creative inspiration on how to best use her butters — besides as a simple spread, that is.

How about an eggplant and minced pork with miso shiitake butter, or a roasted red capsicum with cashew buttered prawns?

She also promised more recipes such as flavoured buttered popcorn and even bakes, in the future.

Borderless Butter
One thing she enjoys is making easy recipes that everyone can use. Photo: Abdul Rahim Anwar/HungryGoWhere

She has also seen people using Borderless’ XO mala butter in fried rice and using the miso shiitake butter to bake their salmon steaks.

Besides using butter for food, there are ongoing discussions with a local art studio to use butter as a sculpting tool —sort of like a canvas for self-expression.

Other plans in the pipeline include converting the glass-jar packaging to squeezy bottles for greater convenience, as well as finding a retail partner for Borderless Butter in the future.

The taste test

Borderless Butter
Some flavours might sound outlandish but make sense if you really think about it. Photo: Abdul Rahim Anwar/HungryGoWhere

The diversity at Borderless Butter might be impressive but curious foodies might ask: How do all these butters fare on their own?

Our answer? It depends on which flavour it is and what you use it for.

Arden provided us some samples to experience it for ourselves and the full range of flavours is quite intriguing:

  • XO mala (S$19.90)
  • Sundried tomatoes with basil (S$16.90)
  • Caramelised onion and bacon (S$19.90)
  • Roasted jalapeno olive (S$19.90)
  • Miso shiitake (S$19.90)
  • Loaded bacon & cheese (S$16.90)
Borderless Butter
These butters are great flavour enhancers. Photo: Abdul Rahim Anwar/HungryGoWhere

For example, the XO mala butter is mild in overall spice level but coats the tongue nicely with a layer of balmy numbness.

It’s decent on plain toast, but perhaps works better as a complement to an assortment of sandwich ingredients, where it can add a touch of complexity.

But other items in Borderless Butter’s selection are good as is.

One we appreciate is its caramelised onion and bacon butter, a rich and umami butter that works wonderfully as a spread on plain toasted sourdough.

Borderless Butter
They can also be eaten as is, when spread on toast. Photo: Abdul Rahim Anwar/HungryGoWhere

The roasted jalapeno olive adds a mildly toasty and spicy note, along with a sharp, umami olive zing, to the toast — probably a good flavour enhancer in something like a grilled cheese sandwich.

Texture-wise, the butters can be a bit inconsistent — it depends on what’s added into the butter. Some are chunkier and harder to spread, while some are nice and smooth.

Ultimately though, they aren’t meant to compete with high-end premium butters that you’d see in a Michelin-star restaurant, but rather, Borderless Butter is meant to be fun and bold with flavours.

We think it’s worth a try if you’re looking for simple little touches of flavour to jazz up your toasts and dishes.

For more ideas on what to eat, read our stories on viral new “zi char” concept New Station Rice Bar and the places to get the most sinfully crunchy fried chicken.

Do explore the new GrabFood Dine-in service for awesome deals.

Evan Mua


Evan started off writing about food on Instagram, before joining outlets such as Buro and Confirm Good to pursue his passion. His best work usually comes after his first whisky shot in the morning.

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