7 August 2012

Zaini Satay in Going Places Magazine, August 2012 Merdeka Edition

Page 72, August 2012 Merdeka Edition

Savoury sticks

Zaini Satay, descendants of the famous Majid Satay from the 1950s, has continued the tradition of serving up the best grilled meat skewers.
No 5, Jalan Kerja Air Lama, Ampang Jaya, KL Tel +6013-3693934
Opens 6pm-12pm daily

Puan Hajah Harinson, mother, 56 (third generation)

I learnt everything from my mother-in-law… how to make the peanut sauce, how to taste and season the meat. Along the way, I modified the peanut sauce recipe a little by mixing large and small groundnuts for better texture. You have to take a lot of care with satay – much like looking after a child. We are careful to maintain our standards and ensure consistent taste and use only good quality meat.

My husband and I started our satay business in Happy Garden, a suburb in KL. We also had a restaurant in Campbell Shopping Centre which sold satay, noodles and other food, but we closed that to open this stall in Ampang. Our beginnings are modest. We had a small start-up capital, enough to buy a daily supply of five chickens and 5kg of beef (we use tenderloin, that’s why it is so tender) to make around 200-300 sticks of satay. These days, we sell an average of 1,000 sticks a night and more on weekends.

 I still like doing this business. I enjoy meeting customers, watch them come back and appreciate my food… that’s makes me very happy. Over the years, I have met so many people, including dignitaries and VIPs. We have even catered for the late Sultan of Selangor at the palace.

I have been doing this since 1980 but it is not in my vocabulary to stop working. However, my son Shafiruz has always been interested in the business so I am happy he is taking over. It would be a pity if Majid Satay’s legacy does not continue.

Mohd Shafiruz Mohd Zaini, son, 28 (fourth generation)

My great grandfather owned the famous Majid Satay, followed by my grandfather (Ismail Satay) and now my father, Zaini Satay. Since we were children, my siblings and I would help out at the stall after school and on weekends.

I have an electronics engineering degree from Japan and worked in several corporate jobs until a month ago, I never thought to take over the business but after the financial instability of the last few years, I realized that the food business is good and stable. People have to eat.

It is not an easy business to be in. Together with another workers, I start ad 7 am to cut and skewer the meat until afternoon. Then there is peanut sauce and rice cake to make. But the hardest part of the job is standing at the grill for hours. My dad is the expert when it comes to the meat, but my mom is the specialist with the peanut sauce. I never knew how to make the sauce before, but got it right on my first try while I was studying in Japan. Must be years of observation!

To make good satay, you have to make it with heart. We have the family recipe but there is no real formula to it. It is a labour of love. I have plans for the business and am working to expand it. I would like to start a restaurant and a factory manufacturing satay for small vendors.


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