KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — Now that the month of Ramadan has started, many people would be filled with cravings for all sorts of food, including foreign dishes prepared by cooks from the countries of origin.

Yet, because of the Movement Control Order (MCO) which was imposed on March 18, they cannot go out in search of those foods but have to stay indoors.

Not surprisingly then, many foreigners have jumped at the chance to start their own food businesses that serve appetising dishes from their homelands.

To make it even easier for everyone, there are delivery services that can send these foods to the customers who crave them.

One such enterprising cook is Afif Al Haji, 39, the owner of I Cook Arabs, who makes sweets from the Arab world such as the ‘Golden Kanafeh’, ‘Baklava’, ‘Basbousa Royal’ and ‘Esh El Bul-Bul’, and sells imported Turkish products like the ‘Mixed Delights’ and the ‘Premium Turkish Delights’.

He also sells the ‘Maamoul Arab’ biscuits which are often served during  Ramadan and Eid in the Arab world.

Afif who started his business almost three years ago says he is particular about using quality products to make his sweets, such as the Akkawi cheese which has to be imported from West Arab countries.

“I make all the desserts myself, with seven helpers who have also been specially brought in from Arab countries. We stress on using quality ingredients which will make our products extra special,” he told Bernama.

Afif who is from Syria said demand from his customers who are not only from all over Malaysia but also from Singapore and Brunei, has doubled since the MCO was imposed more than a month ago.

“They may be a bit pricey, but these sweets seem to hit it off with the people here, and there are also not many sellers,” Afif who has lived in Malaysia since 2009, said.

Just as enterprising is Abd Rahman Miasan, 55, from Pekanbaru, Indonesia, Abd Rahman Miasan, 55, who has been selling several types of ‘apam balik’ for more than 30 years.

“I used to sell at the night markets in Kajang and Bangi, But now, because of the MCO, I only cater to orders made online or on Whatsapp.

“The way the orders are coming in may be different, but I still keep the price at between RM3 and RM7 depending on the flavour and toppings requested, including an extra charge for the delivery service,” Abd Rahman said.

Meanwhile, Walaa Alawawda, 24, who is from Palestine, began selling traditional dishes for slightly over a month now.

Through her Facebook account, she offers food like ‘Maqloba’, ‘Shawerma’, ‘Faifel’, ‘Maqloba Rice’, ‘Qatef’, ‘Barbosa Sweet’ and ‘Khaliat Alnahl Beef’.

Walaa, a mother of three, said she started her small food business after her husband could not work following the imposition of the MCO.

Waala said she was grateful there is demand for her dishes especially in the Ampang area as the income helps pay for her family needs, including rental for her home.


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