Ex-Malay air stewardess runs thriving food business in South India

March 28th, 2011 - 4:42 pm ICT by ANI  

Kuala Lumpur, Mar 28 (ANI): A former Malaysian air stewardess is running a thriving food business in South India, serving local dishes like char kuey teow and satay to people in Chennai.

Chong Bee Bee, 39, from Sungai Petani, Kedah, Malaysia, has to thank her grandma for the invaluable cooking tips that have helped her ‘Bee’s Kopitiam’ outlet at Express Avenue Mall do thriving business.

According to Bernama, aunty Bee, as she is popularly known among her customers, has even proved management gurus wrong that a university degree or plenty of funds are needed to build lofty dreams.

“I was planning for the last 10 years. I wanted to start a simple concept of one-dish meals. I chose Chennai because most people speak English and the people are friendly, too,” the Star Online quoted her as saying.

After serving the airlines, she quit her job, got married and moved to Chennai with her French husband, who is an IT consultant.

She started off with home catering before braving into the food business. Then last June, she finally broke into the competitive food industry, opening an outlet selling Malaysian cuisine in Chennai, a hotbed for spicy South Indian dishes.

At her cosy outlet located in the food court inside the mall, Bee serves an array of Malaysian flavours to local Indians, foreigners and Malaysians living in Chennai, where there is a growing taste for exotic delicacies.

They can pick any mouth-watering dish from her menu char kuey teow, chicken rice, rendang, roti canai and mee goreng, all freshly cooked and served hot in traditional Malaysian style.

“I have about 16 main course recipes on the menu. I don’t Indianise the food. I try to maintain the originality,” she said.

“Indians are getting accustomed to Malaysian food,” she revealed.

Backed by a nine-staff team, all locals, Bee operates her restaurant for 12 gruelling hours daily.

“My rendang sells like hot cakes and my satay is also a best-selling product,” she said.

“On Thursdays and Fridays, I serve Singapore chilli crabs. My idea is to cater to people who appreciate food. Now, I have my regular customers.

“I don’t face competition here,” she added.

With her hospitality industry skills, Bee’s next ambitious aim is to open a French-Oriental restaurant in India. (ANI)

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