Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kuih with only 10 sen

Fauziah takes the cake

Saturday, August 14

By Derrick Vinesh
derrickvinesh@thestar.com.my

KULIM: Despite the recent increase in sugar and petrol prices, a kuih seller can still afford to sell her delicacies at what can be described as a steal — 10 sen per piece.

And Fauziah Ismail has been maintaining that price for the last 17 years.

The 35-year-old housewife-turned-kuih seller admits that her profit margin is extremely low but she can still earn between RM60 and RM80 a day selling up to 4,500 pieces daily during the Ramadan month.

She feels it is also her social responsibility to sell at the cheapest price possible, especially to those who cannot afford a decent meal.

“When a little child or an elderly person comes to my stall with only 10 or 20-sen in their pockets, I am glad he or she can have something to eat,” she said at her stall on Jalan Kilang Lama.

Sweet treats: Fauziah (left) attending to her customers at the Pasar Ramadan in Jalan Kilang Lama in Kulim Friday

Fondly called “Kak Gee Kuih 10 sen” by her customers, she has been selling her kuih under a tree next to the Kulim Mall since 1993.

Among the 10-sen kuih offered are doughnuts, curry puffs, ketayap, samosa, masalodeh, baby burger, onde-onde, lepat liat, tepung bungkus, lopes pulut, cocoa cake, banana cake, buah melaka, bengkang lenga, baby keria and abuk-abuk.

Fauziah said her bite-size kuih is particularly suitable for children to avoid wastage.

She usually sells about 2,000 pieces from her spread of 15 to 20 types of kuih daily. But during Ramadan, both sales and variety shoot up — to 4,500 pieces a day from the 30 types at her stall at the Ramadan Bazaar nearby, which opens from 2pm to 8pm daily.

Fauziah said she ventured into the business to earn extra income after noticing that her neighbour could make additional money selling economy rice.

“So, I’ve been selling kuih since then,” said the mother of three school-going children aged 16, 13, and seven,

Fauziah said she wakes up as early as 5am and starts preparations to make the kuih, adding she turns down bulk orders of up to 6,000 because she cannot meet the demand.

She is also looking for someone to sponsor a keropok lekor machine because it is tiring for her to roll the batter manually into long strips before cutting and frying them.

A customer, Tengku Nurul Asyikin Tengku Shamsuddin, 26, said she heard from her office colleagues about the 10-sen kuih and wanted to try them.

“I think it is dirt cheap and I am amazed by the operator’s ability to cover her costs,” she said.

Metzelder says: It is good have such honest trader, not ransacking profit. Even now 3 pieces of kuih for RM1 can be considered as affordable.