A Malaysia food directory to support “the small guys” during COVID-19
MY Food Directory and Delivery C19 is a Facebook Group that was started by three friends to “connect folks directly with farmers, milk men, restaurants, bakers… all sorts.”
A quick browse through the page immediately unveils fresh produce (chicken, eggs, vegetables), frozen meats, bento boxes, nasi lemak, yong tau foo, bread, cakes, coffee… “all sorts” indeed!
Sara Jalil Low, Tevina Lee and Jacy Wee launched MY Food Directory and Delivery C19 on 29th March 2020. In less than two weeks, over 4,000 members have joined the group – purely through invitations and word of mouth.
None in the founding trio have an F&B background (they hail from finance, law and education), but felt something had to be done to support local hawkers, traders and eateries.
“I felt that we needed to get together to do this, because while the current situation is depressing to many, food cheers people up and keeps sellers’ spirits high”, Sara says.
The premise of this food directory is simple: Use the Facebook “Search” function, type in what you’re looking for (just like you would on Google) and posts from relevant sellers will pop up.
Sara tells me the most popular search items right now are dim sum, nasi lemak and milk.
Talk about a revealing insight into what Malaysians crave during the MCO!
She adds: “I suspect bubur gandum, karipap and tea-time snacks are yet to peak!”
As a Facebook Group, MY Food Directory and Delivery C19 may not offer a sleek user interface – but it seems to be working in terms of community response.
“We have a pretty strong buyer group and reach a wider demographic, as we are rather inclusive with Indian, Malay, Chinese and English posters. For sellers who haven’t had any sales – especially those who aren’t social media savvy – we help them via assisted posting and tag them to reply directly. We try to keep it as simple as possible.”
Sara checks in with around 10 different sellers on a daily basis and is heartened to know most of them have had new customers from being listed on the page.
“The sellers write to thank us… and have even offered the page admins free food and vegetables as a sign of appreciation! We’re touched by the offer but choose to honour and pay them lah. Little gestures like these encourage us to keep going.”
To support this initiative, join https://www.facebook.com/groups/MYFoodDirectoryC19/, order what you need from the listed sellers, and spread the word to your family and friends.