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Malaysian food continues to make its way around the international stage to the delight of foreigners.
Believe or not, all the way in Turin, Italy exists a satay food truck run by a fellow Malaysian. Sate & Sake was founded in 2017 by a Malaysian-born entrepreneur, Justin Yip, and it all started when he wanted to serve Asians who work or study in Italy with food to reminds them of home (aka spicy food that isn’t a common angmoh thing).
But according to Mashable, after staying in Italy for nine years, Justin very much understood the Italians’ preference when it comes to food and flavours. He knew that Italy is “the worst place in the world for non-Italian food”. So what is surprising is that Justin’s customers are 90% Italians. Wait. What?!
Yes, you read that right. Instead of attracting home-sick Asians, it seems like Italians were more interested in our skewers.
Knowing that the sweet and savoury flavours wouldn’t work in Italy, Justin adjusted his satay recipe to cater to the Italians’ picky palate. Therefore, he created chicken satays that were less flavourful as compared to our traditional ones. Interestingly, he serves the satays with sake, adding that this combination goes extremely well together.
“Sweet and savoury don’t mix here. That’s how traditional satay sellers do it in Malaysia, that’s the secret.”
Justin also learned that Italians don’t like the usual cucumbers and raw red onions sides, so he replaced them with savoy cabbages, which Italians prefer.
He told Mashable that it wasn’t easy operating a food truck in Italy where laws prevent him from operating 200m near a school or a church. Fortunately, he secured a spot under a pedestrian bridge between two buildings without being disturbed by the law enforcers.
It is eye-opening to see Italians enjoy satay. And mad props to Justin who braved through the uncertainties of introducing our local delicacy abroad. Anyone who visits Turin, Italy anytime soon, be sure to check out his food truck!
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