KUALA LUMPUR: Apart from missing their families back home, the Sabahans and Sarawakians residing in the peninsula also crave for their local food and products that are synonymous with the Borneo states.
Due to the long distance, coupled with costly flight fare most of the people from the Land Below the Wind and the Land of the Hornbills get their supply of their favourite local delicacies and other stuff through friends and relatives who come or return to the peninsula from their hometowns in East Malaysia.
Sending the stuff via post or cargo is also too costly.
However, for these Borneons in the Klang Valley, they can now take comfort in being able to get their supply of the Borneon delicacies and stuff, brought straight across the South China Sea to the peninsula, at the Solo Borneo Mart branches in Puchong Prima and Alam Damai Cheras.
Singer Mohd Razlan Mohamed Yusof, also known as Lan Solo, who is responsible for opening the outlets, said he and his wife, Sheila Razlan, were inspired to open the shop because of the many orders and requests to bring back popular Sabah and Sarawak food to the peninsula every time they went to perform in East Malaysia.
Lan said at first, he only took small orders and carried them in his flight baggage and placed the items for sale at his rented shop in Puchong.
However, due to high demand, Lan had moved his business to a bigger premises in the area to be able to have more Borneon products and stuff at his shop.
There are more than 200 food products sold at the shop, including chicken soy sauce, Sabah belacan (shrimp paste), various brands of dried noodles, salted fish, dried kolok noodles, Sarawak laksa paste, amplang (traditional savoury fish cracker snack), kuih cincin, as well as various other snacks and homemade products like tuhau (a type of ginger dish) and preserved bambangan (a type of fruit found in Borneo).
According to Lan, he went to the two states often to get the supply of products, and even travelled to the interiors to get the stuff that the places are popular for, like Beaufort for its sago, Papar (kuih cincin and belacan), Lahad Datu (amplang) and Kuching (for preserved terubuk).
“I understand why the Borneons crave for their own food. They grow up with the food. In fact, we have customers who became overwhelmed when they entered the shop and saw the food products which they had not expected to get when away from home,” he added.
Lan said although he and his wife are not from Sabah or Sarawak, they have foster families in both states who also help him to get his supply of Borneon products and food for his shop.
“We are happy to be able to provide the need for Borneon food and products for the people of Sabah and Sarawak, especially those residing in the Klang Valley, as well as to help the small entrepreneurs in the two states to market their products here,” he said.
Lan, who also sells his products online through Shopee, said he hoped to open several more branches, like in Klang and Ampang in Selangor, and also in Johor and Penang, to accommodate the needs of the Borneon people for their local food and stuff. – Bernama