Transgender's customers on the rice

Transgender's customers on the rice
Selling like hotcakes: A screengrab from a video of Jojie (left) talking to customers at her stall in Cheras.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KUALA LUMPUR - First there was Nasi Lemak Anak Dara, then came Nasi Lemak Bujang. Now it's Nasi Lemak Pondan, the latest craze to hit Malaysia's roadside culinary landscape.

Pondan is a Malay term used to describe male to female transgender individuals.

Operated by transgender Jojie Kamaruddin, who wishes to keep her age a secret, the stall may only be seven days old but it has already gained national attention.

After all, it has all the necessary ingredients for virality: a catchy name and a much-loved national dish.

Despite receiving some backlash when images of her stall became viral, it did not deter her.

"If I named my stall Nasi Lemak Dodi, people will still shout pondan. Whatever name I use, be it Sally or Milah, people will still call it pondan. I might as well just use that as my stall name," she said.

Selling like hotcakes: A screengrab from a video of Jojie (left) talking to customers at her stall in Cheras.
Photo: The Star/Asia News Network

Gimmicks aside, the nasi lemak is genuinely tasty with a variety of dishes to choose from.

At the moment, Jojie serves the standard nasi lemak with basic condiments of egg, anchovies, cucumber and sliced egg for RM1.80 (S$0.56) a packet. Top it up with squid sambal, ayam masak merah, sambal paru or fried chicken, the price goes up to RM4.80 (S$1.50).

Jojie said she was inspired by her mother, who has been selling nasi lemak for over 30 years. Her entire family of 15 siblings was mainly supported by her mother's business as her father had to retire early due to illness.

Although she works as a fashion designer and wedding planner, Jojie decided to open the nasi lemak stall with the help of her siblings to earn extra income due to the current difficult economic situation.

Banners with her social media details decorating the roadside stall.
Photo: The Star/Asia News Network

"There has been good response. Yesterday, we sold 10kg of rice by 3pm although we planned to open from 10am to 6pm," she said.

After her successful first week, Jojie donated a hundred packets of nasi lemak to her neighbourhood mosque which her family frequents. She plans to continue doing so.

Jojie's Nasi Lemak Pondan stall is located at Jalan Sri Permaisuri, Cheras, and opens from Monday to Friday.

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