Malaysian Born Woman S Nasi Lemak A Hit In The Netherlands
Solehan Manger-Ramli has made her name in the Netherlands with her nasi lemak. (Bernama pic)PUTRAJAYA: “Kan ik nasi lemak met kip rendang bestellen?” (“Can I order ayam rendang nasi lemak?”)
This is often the message received in Dutch 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 the 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 the Netherlands praised her delicious nasi lemak to be 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, have given 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 had 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 apps to promote her ayam rendang nasi lemak.
She also takes requests for other dishes such as laksa and various types of Malaysian traditional kueh as well.
Solehan Manger-Ramli with her husband, Jan-Willem Manger, and youngest child, Floris Gabriel Manger, 3, at home in Rumpt, Amsterdam. (Bernama pic)“I often have my hands full in meeting the bookings. But this is my source of income and I try to accommodate their requests,” she said.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic swept through the Netherlands, she used to invite guests to her home to try out her new menus.
According to Solehan, the response from local customers in the village nearby had picked up after the Covid-19 threat subsided in the Netherlands, with orders from Malaysians, including students, soaring.
Solehan said a normal nasi lemak set cost RM30 while the ayam rendang nasi lemak set was priced at RM40.
“Such rates are normal over here in Europe and customers understand the difficulty in obtaining the authentic ingredients from Malaysia.
“I ensure the prices are on par with the taste and quality because I want to guarantee that the customers are satisfied and ensure they make repeat purchases,” she said.
Solehan delivers the orders to the client as soon as the nasi lemak is prepared in accordance with the quantity ordered. Some customers pick up their orders from her house.
She said it was compulsory for traders in the Netherlands to register and have a licence, even for a small business. Cleanliness was always emphasised.
Solehan, who also harbours a desire to open a Malaysian food restaurant here, receives moral support from her husband, Jan-Willem Manger.
Being fluent in Dutch, he played an important role in getting the locals to try Malaysian food. - FMT
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