44-year-old Solehan Manger-Ramli has been keeping Malaysian traditions alive by selling nasi lemak in Rumpt, Amsterdam ever since she married a citizen of the Netherlands.
What started as just a hobby to cook nasi lemak for friends has now evolved into a home-business for Solehan who’s known as the nasi lemak seller in Amsterdam since 2017.
Speaking to Bernama, Solehan said, “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.
The mother of two started her business through WhatsApp when her Malaysian friends who lived there requested for her to cook Malaysian dishes since they hadn’t come back to Malaysia for a long time.
After much convincing from her friends, Solehan decided to start her small business and used social media apps like Facebook and Instagram to promote her famous ayam rendang nasi lemak.
Solehan also accepts orders for other dishes like laksa and some types of traditional Malaysian kueh.
“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.
Because of the pandemic, her business became more popular as more orders came flooding in including those from Malaysian students.
A normal nasi lemak set cost 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 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 some of the orders herself while some customers would pick them up from her house.
She also said that being fluent in Dutch has helped her tremendously with attracting locals and noted that traders in the Netherlands must register and have a licence for small businesses.
With support from her husband, Jan-Willem Manger, Solehan dreams to open up a Malaysian food restaurant in the Netherlands in the future.