Makan Malaysia UK is, a Malaysian food catering business launched by our very own Alumni Susanna Encarnacion and Katerina Perry (Class ‘09.)They produce and send Malaysian food across the UK in special chilled boxes with something to suit everyone’s needs. Makan Malaysia delivers to you anywhere in the UK, so you can still satisfy your Malaysian food cravings without leaving the country! This would be wonderful news to our GIS Alumni, especially those who are residing in the UK or have children who are studying in the UK – you can send them a piece of home to comfort them and bring some joy!
Susie, Kat – could you please tell us more about ‘Makan Malaysia’
Makan Malaysia is a platform offering delicious chef-made ready to heat Malaysian food that gets delivered all across the UK. We have an online store with a menu of our favourite Malaysian dishes that we grew up eating and that we want everyone to be able to enjoy too.
We also pop up at venues across London and Reading to serve up this deliciousness hot and fresh from our gazebo!
What makes you to come up with the idea of launching the ‘Makan Malaysia’
We launched Makan Malaysia so we could share a piece of Malaysia with everyone – the flavours, the culture and just how great it is! We initially started by selling our Sambal online and then moved on to hosting dinner parties and supper clubs complete with batik decorations and stories about our food. From these supper clubs we started popping up at local venues and street food events as well as hosting private parties.
Then with the restrictions that Covid-19 brought, we had to completely change up our business model and find a new way to bring our customers food.. So we took it all online and now use a next day courier service to send out fresh cooked Malaysian meals ready for the fridge or freezer
What makes ‘Makan Malaysia’ very special?
We do! We both grew up eating A LOT and now we see our childhood as years of research for the job. Our love of food means we know exactly what flavours and emotions we are trying to create with our cooking and we just want to share that with as many people as possible
What are the barriers or challenges that both of you faced or facing and how do you overcome all those challenges?
Having our food compared to everyone’s grandmas! No one makes food like grandma does and we know it! But we’ve learnt that doesn’t mean it’s not good.. our food is just our version of the food we love and we hope people enjoy eating it as much as we enjoy cooking it!
We also both entered into this self-employed food world with no experience so we’ve had to learn everything from scratch and there have been a lot of bumps and curves on the way. But fortunately, we’ve surrounded ourselves with the best and most supportive people who have helped us on our journey by offering advice, mentoring and looking out for us. And, of course, we have each other to cry to when we need, push one another when we’re scared and enjoy the highs with!
And then there’s the challenge of being 2 females that share a lot of our life and business across social media. We want people to connect with us and understand our food and the love that goes into it and we’ve built a very personable brand but that means we are fairly exposed and we’ve had to suffer more than a few inappropriate comments and situations with customers, followers and passers by that think it’s ok to make us feel uncomfortable and threatened. We’re lucky we have each other to talk to about this and make ourselves feel less vulnerable (strength in numbers!) and we often deal with situations like this by not engaging and shutting down communication with these people. Don’t give them any of your time or respect by dignifying them with a response – keep that negativity out!
What would be your advice to anyone who would like to start the similar business as yours?
Do it! But be prepared for it to take over your life – you’ve got to love it or it won’t work. And as much as you can, don’t forget to take time for yourself so that you keep loving your job. Our dogs also keep us sane – they are always there just loving us, getting us out of bed in the morning and they give us something to think about that’s not work.. If you’re able to look after one properly, get yourself a fur baby!
Share with us a bit about your time at GIS, any fond memories?
We met each other at GIS… so there are DEFINITELY lots of fond memories. Most of them in the canteen.. Or making plans to sneak to the canteen during class – Wednesday roti canai days were the best!
People you would like to thank? Parents? Friends? Teachers at GIS? Please mention all their names, especially GIS teachers why are you thanking them for?
Basically everyone in our lives that have supported us and continue to do so… The list is way too long to write down, but we’d like to give a special shout out to the teacher who had to put up with us the most: Ms.Yap! Our form tutor who often found us munching on sandwiches and honey stars under our desks .. we’re sorry for the crumbs but love you for putting up with us!
And of course, we’ve got to thank Mrs Yeoh and Mr Donaldson, A-class mentors and absolute legends!
Advice for your younger self?
Don’t take yourself so seriously! And what happens at university doesn’t necessarily define your career. Sue studied Chemistry and Kat did Geography & Religion and whilst our time at uni was great and we learnt many life lessons we’ve both ended up in completely different vocations.. and it’s absolutely fine. Enjoy yourselves! One day the drama won’t matter, so just have a good time and be kind!
Any life or motivating motto that you ladies have followed? Taglines that we should know?
Anything also can
These words from home have keep us going when times feel tough and keep us exploring and getting adventurous with food
Anything else that both of you want to share?
Our mission is to share Malaysian food with as many people as possible whether they’re trying it for the first time or just missing the flavours from Malaysia… we’ve got it covered! So if you want to send someone a gift from home, check us out 😉
A huge ‘Thank You’ to Susanna and Katerina for sharing their exciting business journey with us. We wish you all the best with your future endeavours! If you would like to feature in our Alumni articles, just get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Because every story matters. Connect with us on social media via Facebook / LinkedIn or if you would like to read another article via the Global Alumni Website. If you haven’t become our registered member yet, please do so via this link.