Born: Ipoh, Malaysia
History: My first job was mopping floors at an up-market restaurant in Malaysia. I worked my way up the ladder very rapidly to management level in various restaurants and bars in Malaysia. From there I went to Switzerland for a world class experience of the hotel field – I became qualified in Hotel Management there and returned to Malaysia working in hotels and nightclubs.
Later on, I moved to New Zealand taking up a management position in a hotel-chain; afterwards, I migrated to Australia. That was in 1988 and I held the hope of starting up a restaurant. In 1999 I opened my first business called Asha’s Café in Surfers Paradise, serving Malaysian and Aussie style meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Describe how your business merged from Asha’s Café to your current location of Sayang Malaysian.
After 5 years of operation at Asha’s Cafe I was encouraged by various dignitaries from Malaysia, who frequented my café, to take the business to an up market level. This encouragement inspired me to open Sayang Malaysian Restaurant; our previous location was in Chirn Park. We broadened the menu, serving typical Malaysian hawker style meals and have received a very good response over the years.
As time went by, the need to expand made us look for a more suitable venue. Our current location in Paradise Point came about in August 2010. We now can execute our new master plans which include offering cooking lessons, catering and presenting cooking demos, in part to lift our profile in the area.
I am very particular about greeting and seeing patrons off as they leave. No matter how busy we are, the staff are trained to greet, thank, and send off patrons as they leave having dined with us.
Can you tell us more about your career developments as a chef?
I had no ambitions of wanting to become a chef but the difficulty of sourcing out great chefs lead me to where I am today. I had to recall my previous experiences, working in various kitchens around the world, to get my plans to work. I enjoy being a Chef and love every moment of it.
I have created my own style of cooking to cater for the diverse clients we attract. My style is very unique to the type of person I am serving. I tend to see if they are locals or tourists and then cook to suit their taste buds. More often I get out of the kitchen and greet patrons and gauge what their expectations are and the meals they like to have. Then I go into the kitchen and instruct my team about any special requests by patrons and follow up on it.
Signature Dish: Beriyani – aromatic herb rice cooked with spices, a sprinkling of sultanas and cashews tossed together with a choice of either vegetables, lamb, beef, chicken or prawns and served with mango chutney and cucumber raita as a main & Sago Gula Melaka – tapioca pearls served with coconut cream and palm sugar caramel for dessert.
‘Sayang’ translates as ‘love’ in Malay, and chances are that’s what you’ll feel about the food at Sayang Malaysian BYO Restaurant, Paradise Point. With its friendly staff in batik aprons, relaxed candlelit ambience and authentic Malaysian cuisine, this place attracts a healthy crowd from the nearby marinas and shopping centres. The prices are reasonable and the dishes divine. Start with the roti platter, featuring homemade flaky roti bread with a choice of curry (lamb, beef or chicken), dhal, cucumber raita, mango chutney & pickle, moving on to the deliciously fragrant neriyani, cooked with either prawns, chicken, beef, lamb or vegetables - indulge your taste buds in Sayang Malaysian.