A family with nine children relied on the satay business for the past 30 years – all the children had basic education without qualms.
The home-based business was started by Awie, a Kajang resident. His wife, Saadiah, had been helping her husband after he complained of not feeling well.
Their stall at Chong Thien food court in Sg Chua, Kajang, is popular with residents including those from outside Kajang who come after office hours.
The stall opens daily from 5pm to midnight and Saadiah is helped by her two older sons and only daughter.
Their duties included charcoal burning, grilling, managing the sale and cleaning up with no hired worker.
“We share our part in managing this business, while my husband Awie prepares the ingredients at home.
The only raw material we buy is the meat. The rest is our own recipe.
“Since my husband has been complaining of being ill lately, I have been doing this full time.
I was a housewife all the while looking after our nine children, but they are all grown up now,” Saadiah said.
She said the regular customers would tell her that their satay business appeared in the social media – Facebook, but having little knowledge in IT, Saadiah just smiled and thanked her customers for their interest.
“No wonder people from Singapore come all the way to look for Awie Satay. They said they spotted my satay stall on Facebook. It is nice that people say good things about our business on the internet.”
She said satay has been well-known in town and many satay vendors were originally from Kajang.
“When there was no Facebook, we depended on word of mouth to help promote our business.
We had no problem in getting people to know our satay. I think there were not many vendors at the time.
But today, it seems easy to promote business, with the help of the internet,” she said.
She said previously, a piece of satay costs only 50 sen for all types of meat. Today, mutton satay costs RM1.50, beef satay is RM1 while chicken satay is 80 sen.
“We can sell it at the same price as we did 20 years ago, but with the drastic increase of the raw materials like cooking oil, sugar, herbal ingredients, how are we to survive… we have no choice,” said Saadiah.
However, she said most people who went Kajang to taste their satay told her that it is very delicious and different from others (other states).
“We make our satay differently. By its size, the way it is cut in chunks. The satay sauce is another family recipe.
Other vendors might have their own recipe and that makes each of us different.”
Customers, who normally buy in the dozens, usually ordered to take away at her stall. Those who eat at the stall are late diners, she said.
When asked if any ministers or celebrities ever dropped by to taste the satay, Saadiah was not so sure.
“Too many customers everyday, I can’t even recall who had come or whether they were ministers or anyone.
I thank my customers for their support. I raise my nine children with the satay business,” she said proudly.