Address: Woodlands Industrial Park E2, #01-01, S757447
By Colin Tham
The New Paper
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
Most football stars have a shelf life. Some go on to become sports commentators and others move on to coaching. For Singapore LionsXII striker Khairul Amri, selling nasi padang might just be his next step after retiring from the sport.
On Sept 3, the 29-year-old opened a nasi padang stall at Woodlands Industrial Park with his wife and mother-in-law. While the national player has no plans to retire yet, Amri said setting up the stall was a dream come true.
"I have always wanted to do something like this," he said.
The stall is called "Chef Tiga Rasa", which translates to "Three Taste Chef", a nod to the stall's halal cuisine, which is tailored to Malay, Chinese and Indian taste buds.
It operates from 6.30am to 3pm on weekdays, providing breakfast and lunch. On weekends, it is closed.
"But we do catering for a range of functions, including weddings," said Amri.
Most of the nasi padang dishes are whipped up by Amri's mother-in-law Madam Noor Hayati - a cook with 30 years of experience. The 52-year-old earlier worked at an eatery in the Tuas industrial area. More recently, she cooked at Resorts World Sentosa. While she is the main chef at the stall, Amri and his wife are trying to learn the ropes.
Said Madam Noor Aliffiah, 31: "For now, I help out with some of the dishes such as the fried vegetables, but I am slowly learning to cook as well as my mum." Amri has also learnt to whip up simple sambal dishes without help.
He visits the stall to lend a hand as and when he is not tied up with training sessions. When he is too tired from the work outs, he leaves the stall in the care of his wife and mother-in-law.
"Having enough rest is important, and I don't want this to affect my performance on the pitch," he said, adding that playing football is still his priority.
The stall serves about 120 customers daily, many of them foreign workers from dormitories or offices in the area. To support him, most of Amri's team mates have paid at least one visit to the stall.
But despite their patronage, the business struggled to attract customers initially. This was mainly due to the stall being located in an eatery which had reopened only recently, after being closed for two years.
"Many people around the area are still unaware that this place is open," said Madam Aliffiah.
Despite its slow start, the stall has managed to gather a few regular customers. One of them is 37-year-old taxi driver Mohd Yazid, who makes it a point to visit every day.
"The food there is really good, especially their lontong," he said, "I also bring my family over occasionally for lunch."
Said Amri: "By opening this stall I hope that we can get enough support to open a cafe in the future. I can see myself in this business after retiring from football."