Before I begin sharing the story behind our WOAP Burger, we'd like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all those who came over to try our Burgembira and spread the word around
Now let me give you a heads up - it's gonna be a long one
"It's not about the destination. It's about the journey." - unknown
Sometimes we are too focused on reaching a goal or target 🎯 that we often miss to enjoy the moments leading to it. But this time, we in Kanama Kopi Kadai enjoyed every moment of our WOAP journey from the time we decided to participate, till now.
Yes, there was a lot of hard work. Yes, there were struggles. Yes, there were sacrifices 😥 But.... We also had fun making the Burgembira and serving them, and oh yes, all our effort was worthwhile when we saw our customers extremely happy not only when they saw the burgers but also when they were indulging in them
In this WOAP journey, we met a lot of wonderful people. We learnt a lot in the making and improvization of our Burgembira. We appreciate all the little things that came along in the baggage. And we definitely couldn't have done it without the effort from our Kanama Kopi Kadai Team and the support from our dear customers.
So what was the behind-the-scene like for our Burgembira? Here are the "kutti" (Tamil word for 'little' ) stories that made our special journey even more interesting
We had this big decision to make whether or not to participate in WOAP as we were just a new kid on the block who had exhausted all our savings into the restaurant. WOAP was still far away but we the application had to be submitted somewhere in February or March. Should we join this year or next? After mulling over the decision, we made up our minds to go for it!
Next came another big decision - what type of burger? Muthu, as always, wanted to serve something a bit out of the ordinary, yet still maintaining the flavours and the quality. He also wanted to create a burger that everyone could enjoy. Our food has always been halal. What next? He decided to make it vegan! When it's vegan, those who are on a dairy-free diet can eat it too. He already had in mind the idea of using Roti instead of buns. Our Roti has always been vegan, so that wouldn't be a problem. But what about those on a gluten-free diet? We couldn't make our roti free from gluten, so we had no choice but to use gluten-free buns instead, thus the gluten-free option. Muthu wanted to make it nut-free, or give a nut-free option.
For the vegan patty, Muthu was thinking of something different from the vegan burger we already had on our menu then before the lockdown, which was Ulam-ulam Burger. After a few attempts of using this and that, he was finally came up with a patty he made using pumpkin, kumara and quinoa, cooked with some Malaysian spices, which he was very satisfied with!
It then came to deciding the accompaniments. The first thing that came to his mind was Masala Vadai, a South Indian snack which was also popular in Malaysia. It's made from chickpea and Indian spices. To make it healthier, he added kale, thus creating a little twist in it. Instead of the usual flat round version, he made them into bites. Some sauce to go with it? Vegetable relish with wholesome goodness! And there was this secret burger sauce that Muthu created. BINGO! Our WOAP burger was born!
Name for the burger? 🤔🤔 We wanted a unique name bearing a Malay word which shows our identity as a Malaysian restaurant. We asked our staff and one of them suggested Burgembira! "Gembira" means 'happy' in Malay, and so Burger + Gembira becomes Burgembira! And coincidently it sounds the same as "bergembira" in which the Malay suffix "ber" is added, and that means “being happy"! What a brilliant name, we thought 😃 Thanks, Aliah! …
We wanted to collaborate with a nearby brewery in support of a local business, and our favourite one has always been Double Vision Brewery in Miramar near home where we frequent after long days at work... So we did!
Wanting to do something extra special, undoubtedly, the first thing that came to our mind was to contribute to 🐾 HUHA (Helping You Help Animals) in Otaki and we chose to contribute $1 from each Burgembira we were gonna sell during this 3-week festival
We've always welcomed feedback from our customers about our food and services. Muthu has told me and our staff that customers' feedback is valuable and that we should take every feedback into consideration as most of them are constructive ones. It's a way to improve, he says. Just like always, we asked one of our regular customers who came in for lunch on our first day of Burgembira, the 13th (as we are closed on Mondays) about what he thought about it. He was very happy with it, and said it was different, and very delicious and flavourful, but also added that when he bit into the burger, it didn't come off easily due to the skin of the grilled eggplant slices which was a bit hard to come off at one go. We thanked him for letting us know and started thinking of a way to rectify the problem. A friend who was working in the kitchen suggested that we peel the skin off and fry it! 💡 We did just that and off we began decorating the top of the burgers with fried eggplant skin, to our delighted diners! When the customer came over again for dinner later that week, we told him about it and thanked him again. He was very happy for us
We had many customers asking if we'd be keeping Burgembira on our menu. We hadn't thought about it. We already had 2 burgers (Ulam-ulam Vegan Cheese Burger and Chicken Sambal Burger) on our menu. They said we should add this as they loved it and it's so popular. We thought it was a good idea but then we also want to keep Burgembira as our special burger. So we'd do it on special days 😊 Nevertheless, Muthu is planning to add a few more vegan dishes to our current menu, which he believes non-vegans would enjoy too!
Our the last day of WOAP, 31 Oct, we served the last Burgembira to a lovely lady and when I mentioned that she was gonna have the last one, which was the 624th 🎉🎉🎉 our Kanama Kopi Kadai Team and another couple, regular customers of ours, cheered and applaused!
As our WOAP journey came to an end that night, our team member Dhana mentioned that it seemed a bit bitter sweet. While we were happy and contented that everything went well with Burgembira and everybody loved it, we kinda felt that we were gonna miss all the memorable chaotic moments that came with it... Every element of the burger was made from scratch and with love... And we loved every moment of it. After the closing that day, we all had dinner together in Kanama Kopi Kadai, as we would sometimes. Muthu hugged and thanked each and every one (including me, of course! 🥰) It was the team effort that led to the success. We also had a few friends who came over on those 3 Fridays and Saturdays, and volunteered to help out as they felt we needed extra help... All these genuine gestures make us feel truly humbled and we'll always appreciate it.
Every person who had our Burgembira were super happy with it and said there was something something unique and extra special in all the elements. We had many first-time customers who said they came after a family member or a friend recommended our Burgembira/other food. Thank you for choosing to believe in us... We had the support from not only our regulars but also new customers. Your positive feedback, words of support and encouragement warm our hearts and mean the world to us
It's been an unforgettable journey and it's given us the much needed boost to keep going 💪 and doing what we are passionate about, with confidence in this struggling post-Covid times.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continuous support
by, Vanitha Loganathan
1 Rongotai Road, Kilbirnie