PUTRAJAYA: “Kan ik nasi lemak met kip rendang bestellen?” (Can I order ayam rendang nasi lemak?).
This is often the message received in Dutch language by Malaysian-born, Solehan Manger-Ramli, through WhatsApp from clients in Amsterdam, Netherlands since 2017.
Solehan, who moved to Rumpt after marrying a citizen of Netherlands, initially cooked nasi lemak as a hobby for friends.
Now, the 44-year-old cooks nasi lemak on a small scale at home for sale through Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram.
She was encouraged when Malaysians residing in Netherlands praised her delicious nasi lemak like the ones sold back home.
The locals in Amsterdam also came to know about the popular Malaysian food through social media.
“Generally, they know me and that the nasi lemak is prepared by a Malaysian. Malaysians including students here gave me the monicker ‘Kak Ann Ayam Rendang Nasi Lemak,” she said.
Recalling the initial days when she ventured into the nasi lemak business, the Penang-born mother of two told Bernama through Whatsapp that it started after many Malaysian friends asked her to prepare popular Malaysian dishes especially nasi lemak for them.
They pined for nasi lemak as they have not gone back to Malaysia for a long time, she said.
Adhering to the proverb, ‘no pain no gain’, Solehan took the plunge to turn her hobby into a business using social media applications to promote her ayam rendang nasi lemak.
She also takes request for other dishes such as laksa and various types of Malaysian traditional ‘kueh’ as well.
“I often have my hands full in meeting the bookings but as this is my source of income I will still accommodate their requests,” she said.
She also invited guests to her house to try her new menus as a promotion before the Covid-19 pandemic swept through Netherlands.
According to Solehan, the response from local customers in village nearby is picking up after Covid-19 subsided in the Netherlands with orders from Malaysians including students soaring.
Solehan said a normal nasi lemak set costs RM30 while the ayam rendang nasi lemak set is priced at RM40.
“Such rates are normal over here in Europe and customers understand the difficulty of obtaining the authentic ingredients from Malaysia.
“But I will ensure the prices are on par with the taste and quality because I want to guarantee the customer is satisfied to ensure repeat purchases,” she said.
Solehan will deliver the order to the client as soon as the nasi lemak is prepared in accordance with the quantity ordered while some customers pick up their orders from her house.
On how to begin a business here, Solehah said it is compulsory for traders to register and has a licence even for a small scale business.
Namely, she said they are the business registration certificate from the Kamer Van Koop Handel and the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), while ensuring cleanliness all the time.
Solehan, who also harbours a desire to open a Malaysian food restaurant here, receives the moral support from her husband Jan-Willem Manger.
Being fluent in Dutuch languege, he played an important role in getting the locals to try Malaysian food and for Malaysians touring in the area he would say ‘je kan mijn nasi lemak met rendang kip proberen’ (Come try our ayam rendang nasi lemak if you are travelling here).-Bernama