Pandemic pizza: Malaysian family cooks up solution to COVID-19 woes

An eatery serving wood-fired pizzas from their home helps them make bumper profit

JEMAPOH, Negeri Sembilan: A Malaysian family have cooked up a tasty solution to their economic woes during the pandemic by opening a backyard pizzeria that has proved a hit in their sleepy village.

Millions of people around the world lost their jobs this year as governments introduced economically damaging lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

A Malaysia family opened a pizzeria in their backyard to combat their economic woes during the pandemic. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

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A worker flattening pizza dough with a roller at the Jemapoh Pizza Kayu Api restaurant.Image Credit: AFP

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Workers preparing pizza ingredients at the Jemapoh Pizza Kayu Api restaurant.Image Credit: AFP

But one family in a Malaysian village managed to turn a bumper profit during the downturn by opening up an eatery serving wood-fired pizzas from their home.

Based in Jemapoh, 120km south of the capital Kuala Lumpur, the business offers pizzas with herbs and spices, and cut pineapples mixed with meat or tuna, along with a heavy layer of mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

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Millions of people around the world lost their jobs this year as governments introduced economically damaging lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

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Based in Jemapoh, 120 kilometres south of the capital Kuala Lumpur, the business offers pizzas with herbs and spices, and cut pineapples mixed with meat or tuna, along with a heavy layer of mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

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But one family in a Malaysian village managed to turn a bumper profit during the downturn by opening up an eatery serving wood-fired pizzas from their home.

“We did this to get some pocket money,” said Raudhah Hassan, 35, the eldest of several siblings and mastermind behind the business.

“But – praise be to God – what we did has become the talk of the town.”

Pizzas have been flying out of the family’s makeshift kitchen since late April, a month after authorities implemented curbs that confined people to their homes and saw the closure of most businesses.

Restaurants were allowed to keep operating and, after Raudhah’s shop selling headscarves saw a fall in business and some of her siblings had their pay cut, the family decided to open the pizzeria

A Malaysian family made their own oven to roll out a few dozen pizzas in time for the holy month of Ramadan in April in the Muslim-majority country, (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

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Workers preparing pizzas for their lunch at the Jemapoh Pizza Kayu Api restaurant – in Jemapoh, in Malaysia’’s Negeri Sembilan state.

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The family have now added a shop to their home and hired about 20 people from the village to make up to 800 wood-fired pizzas daily, five days a week.Image Credit: AFP

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Pizzas being bake inside a wood-fired oven at the Jemapoh Pizza Kayu Api restaurant. “We did this to get some pocket money,” said Raudhah Hassan, 35, the eldest of several siblings and mastermind behind the business. “But – praise be to God – what we did has become the talk of the town.”Image Credit: AFP

“We were stranded here. We said, we have to do something,” explained Raudhah, who runs the business at her parent’s house with the help of other family members.

The family built a stone oven in their backyard to roll out a few dozen pizzas in time for the holy month of Ramadan in the Muslim-majority country, when the faithful typically enjoy lavish meals to break their fast.

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Pizzas have been flying out of the family’s makeshift kitchen since late April, a month after authorities implemented curbs that confined people to their homes and saw the closure of most businesses.Image Credit: AFP

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Restaurants were allowed to keep operating and, after Raudhah’s shop selling headscarves saw a fall in business and some of her siblings had their pay cut, the family decided to open the pizzeria.Image Credit: AFP

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“We were stranded here. We said, we have to do something,” explained Raudhah, who runs the business at her parent’s house with the help of other family members.Image Credit: AFP

The business quickly became a hit.

“Some pizzas are too salty, but these are really nice,” said first-time customer Nurliyana Hidayah.

“I will come here again.”

The family have now added a shop to their home and hired about 20 people from the village to make up to 800 wood-fired pizzas daily, five days a week.

The family built a stone oven in their backyard to roll out a few dozen pizzas in time for the holy month of Ramadan in the Muslim-majority country, when the faithful typically enjoy lavish meals to break their fast.Image Credit: AFP

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The business quickly became a hit. “Some pizzas are too salty, but these are really nice,” said first-time customer Nurliyana Hidayah. “I will come here again.”Image Credit: AFP

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A general view of the Jemapoh Pizza Kayu Api restaurant. More than 800,000 people have lost their jobs in Malaysia this year as the virus pushed the country into recession, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in October.Image Credit: AFP

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Malaysia has largely lifted the toughest of its restrictions and most businesses are operating again, although it has been a battling a virus resurgence in recent weeks.Image Credit: AFP

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Customers eating pizzas at the Jemapoh Pizza Kayu Api restaurant.Image Credit: AFP

More than 800,000 people have lost their jobs in Malaysia this year as the virus pushed the country into recession, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in October.

Malaysia has largely lifted the toughest of its restrictions and most businesses are operating again, although it has been a battling a virus resurgence in recent weeks.

Source: AFP/lk/CNA

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