Written by Andy, Tim and Contributors

Stories Behind the Stats: Makan Malaysia

Makan Malaysia, Reading

Some of you might already be pretty familiar with Makan Malaysia. Not only have they appeared at the Tap Yard to keep us all well fed on many occasions but they're well known around Reading and the surrounding areas. With pop-ups at other breweries, festivals, events and even a residency at Market Halls, their food always goes down an absolute treat. 

Childhood friends, Sue & Kat shared many a business dream growing up in Malaysia. In 2018, a combination of the opportunity for a new career path and a love of the Malaysian food gave the impetus to hit the kitchen, learn from scratch and start a business.

Coming from backgrounds in chemistry and design gave them the perfect mix to bring together dishes with incredible flavour with edible beauty. Two years later and with a full diary of events, we asked Sue for some insight on how the pandemic is affecting street food traders.

Who are Makan Malaysia?

Hi! We are Kat and Sue, best friends and owners of Makan Malaysia. Makan means eat in Malay and when we first moved to the UK we couldn't find anywhere that could properly satisfy our Malaysian food cravings!

So we hit the kitchen and learned how to cook the food for ourselves. Our aim is to bring Malaysia to you - through food! We do pop ups, cater for events and have just started delivering Malaysian food across the UK!

How have you found the last 6 weeks

It's been such a roller coaster. Our calendar was filled with really cool events and festivals (including a couple of pop ups at Siren Tap Yard!) which all disappeared overnight. We suppose this is a similar case for a lot of businesses.

It was a real big shock, but once we got over the initial 'uh ohhh' we put our heads down and tried to figure out how to still make a living through the pandemic and we basically changed our business model!

How have you reacted?

Once lockdown was announced we took a break and stayed home for a couple of weeks, but we couldn't not work! There are many bills and life things to pay... Anddd we also love food and cooking too much!

So we started by sharing recipes online whilst also trying to find more ways to continue feeding Malaysian food to people! Our aim and motto has always been to 'bring Malaysia to you' so we put in a lot of research on how to do exactly that, and last week we launched our brand new online shop - we are now sending Malaysian food all across the UK, we've even made it to Edinburgh!

We cook the food to order, vac pack and chill it for freshness and then it gets sent out in insulated boxes. 

What's inspired you during this time?

It's just been so great to see how everyone is adapting, and not just businesses, but people in general have become a lot more charitable and appreciative of those working around them. In a weird way I guess we've all been pushed closer together?

As we're not allowed to be out talking to people, we also use the digital world for inspiration to keep us going when we've got 12 hours of chopping veg ahead of us... Sue loves the words of Sophie French (@sophiefrenchuk on instagram) and the amazing doodles of Melissa Webb (@mellow.doodles on instagram) to calm her when she's feeling a bit overwhelmed, whilst Kat is a bit simpler and prefers the cheer from That 70s show.. or whatever Netflix has going. We also try NOT watching too much news; it can be really depressing...

What are you most looking forward to post-corona?

Sue: HUGS! ... Is that weird? Just some human contact I suppose.

Kat: NOT hugs... It's nice that people are more aware of personal space, but I'm looking forward to being outside in the sun!!

Check out Makan Malysia's online shop here, with fresh cooked food and sauces available for delivery to your door! makanmalysia.co.uk/shop


See the rest of the Stories Behind The Stats here: sirencraftbrew.com/stories