If you grew up in a Chinese household, it is most likely normal for female relatives to go through a one-month detention period after giving birth, during which they cram themselves with healthy and wholesome meals.
However, Chinese Muslim mothers may not get the most out of traditional meals because many of the ingredients include cooking wine or pork.
Zara Agnes, who is a Chinese Muslim mother herself, looked for halal food in Chinese custody when she had her first baby in 2011.
Since she could not find such a service at the time, she resorted to preparing meals by optimizing some recipes.
For other Chinese Muslim mothers
5 years later, Zara still had no success in finding such a service. So she took it upon herself to start Halal Chinese Confinement Food (HCCF).
Zara and her family / Photo credit: Halal Chinese Confinement Food
"My intention and focus is to bring the benefits of Chinese foodstuffs to all mothers of all ethnicities, especially during their crucial detention period," Zara told the Vulcan Post.
It took her several years of research and development to recreate Chinese confinement meals with substitute ingredients so that the meals tasted as close to the original version as possible. At the same time, they must maintain the herbal benefits of these meals for a speedy recovery.
"We replaced yellow / rice wine in most dishes to preserve the flavor and instead used chicken for the famous vinegar and pork trotter in Chinese custody," she shared an example.
According to Zara, these meals are not even available in Chinese Muslim restaurants.
Zara at work (left) and a little glimpse into her kitchen area (right) / Photo credit: Halal Confinement Chinese Food
Working with Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctors
Currently, HCCF is a team of 4 working with a traditional Chinese medicine doctor, dietitians, nutritionists, and others.
Although Zara has no culinary background, she came from a family of chefs.
“My grandfather, who was originally from Guangdong, China, was known for making clay pot chicken rice famous in Kampar. Some of my uncles and cousins are also cooks themselves, ”she shared.
Her aunt is a seasoned practitioner who taught her the tricks of the trade. While studying from her aunt, she occasionally checks with her traditional Chinese medicine doctor about the ingredients to learn more about them.
Snippets of what they serve / Photo credit: Halal Confinement Chinese Food
Your business is now completely online. When orders come in, their kitchen assistants receive and package them to ship to their delivery partners.
“For our main service, namely the delivery of food in closed rooms, we have a dashboard in which we can display the daily orders for food in closed rooms, e. B. how many customers we serve for the day, special dietary needs or even special menus for customers after surgery. ”
You can also create your own recipe
Their menu includes sesame oil chicken, black vinegar chicken, steamed chicken with angelica root (dong quai), mee sua, herb soups, red date longan tea and much more.
"I hope not to deviate from the traditional way so we make sure our recipes are Halal-prepared while retaining the essential herbs and ingredients that provide the nutrients necessary for a speedy postpartum and / or recovery major surgery is required, "Zara said.
However, she has developed her own recipe for black charcoal pasta with black pepper salmon, which luckily has been well received by her customers.
Mastery of confinement cuisine in order to be able to create your own recipe / Image Credit: Halal Confinement Chinese Food
For freshly prepared confinement meals, there are all 2 main dishes, 1 vegetable dish (2 servings), rice and a confinement drink. Herbal soup is only included in the complete set. Your packages are:
|Sets||Price range (depending on the duration)|
|Easy||RM748 to RM4,188|
|Complete||RM948 to RM5.788|
They also have lactation brownies to boost milk production for mothers and their own bird's nest drink. However, entering the Muslim market with their bird's nest was not easy as many questioned halal status because they were unfamiliar with the drink.
The bird's nest (left) and the lactation brownies (right) / Photo credit: Halal Confinement Chinese Food
The majority of their customers are Malay Muslim and Chinese Muslim mothers, as well as international customers from Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines and the UK.
“You would be surprised to know that we also have Chinese customers. They told me that they are fed up with the pork menu that other Chinese confinement food deliveries offer, so our confinement food package is a fresh option, ”Zara said.
She and her team have just launched their kitchen of Halal-Delicious Asian cuisine, where the menu changes monthly to satisfy mothers' cravings (including their own).
In addition, they are working on expanding their product mix, which they have been doing R&D on for around 2 years.
- Find out more about Halal Confinement Chinese Food here.
- For more information on other startups we've covered here, click here.
Selected image source: Zara Agnes, founder of Halal Confinement Chinese Food