Meet Solehan Manger-Ramli, a Malaysian who moved to the Netherlands after marrying a local Dutch man
The Penang native had moved to the small town of Rumpt, Netherlands many years ago and initially began cooking popular Malaysian dishes as a hobby for friends.
One item in particular got requested the most, and that was nasi lemak.
Reflecting on those early days, reported New Straits Times, Solehan says her friends pined for nasi lemak as they had not returned to Malaysia for a while, and that they would praise her version of the delicacy to be as good as the ones back home.
After this initial encouragement, she was spurred to turn her hobby into an enterprise in 2017
Dubbing the business 'Nasi Lemak Amsterdam', Solehan took to social media to promote the signature Malaysian dish, alongside occasional special off-menu requests such as laksa and a variety of traditional kueh.
Priced between €8 (RM40) and €10 (RM50), she ensures that her customers are always satisfied with the portions as to ensure repeat purchases.
"Such rates are normal over here in Europe and customers understand the difficulty of obtaining the authentic ingredients from Malaysia," she shares.
Although her initial clientele made up of predominantly Malaysian transplants, it was not long before the locals became wise to her cooking.
With the pandemic subsiding in Europe, Solehan says that sales have been picking up, and she has her eyes on expansion
She says that the response from local customers in nearby villages have started to increase amidst relaxing restrictions.
"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.
Meanwhile, orders from fellow Malaysians have been soaring, presumably as many are unable to freely travel home in these trying times.
She says that her husband's support has been of much help, with him being fluent in Dutch helping greatly with the orders.
Phrases such as "je kan mijn nasi lemak rendang kip proberen" (come and try our ayam rendang nasi lemak if you're travelling here) and enquiries like "kan ik nasi lemak met kip rendang bestellen?" (can I order ayam rendang nasi lemak?) are a usual feature on their business' WhatsApp.
Solehan harbours dreams of opening her own restaurant there, and at this rate we can see it happening in the very near future.