EATERY outlet operators have only one wish this Year of the Ox — that patrons can once again dine without restrictions.
Most like Christina Ebie, 31, have been without an income, especially during the movement control order period when dine-in was prohibited and only takeaway allowed.
“During the first MCO, I opened for a few days but since there were so few customers, I preferred not to work for almost two months.
“When Sibu was placed under MCO again for one month, it was the same, ” she said.
Christina, who is a single mother with a three-year-old daughter, was able to reopen her stalls on Feb 22 after Sibu was placed under the conditional MCO, allowing dine-in.
Her stalls are in a coffeeshop on Jalan Mahsuri (opposite Bataras Supermarket).
“During the MCO, I was thankful that the coffeeshop operator was kind enough to offer a 50% discount on rental. This helped to reduce my burden, ” she said.
One of her stalls sells nasi campur while the other one offers 13 dishes, including ayam penyet, nasi kerabu, nasi ayam berempah and mee soto.
Most of the items are priced at RM7.
Her signature dish is nasi ayam berempah.
“I learned to make the Kelantan-style dish from my father who went to the state for work. I used to sell many plates as customers find it unique, ” she said.
Making the rice is time-consuming as it can take up to two months to marinate the ingredients.
Christina, who is of mixed Iban and Chinese heritage, said the dish was highly sought after by the Chinese.
“They like it because it is flavourful and not too spicy, ” she said.