PUTRAJAYA: When stall supervisor Eda Umar first met the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem at the Rasa Alamanda Foodcourt here in 2014, she did not know he was the Chief Minister of Sarawak.
What she did come to know was that he loved her sizzling yee mee.
“His favourite was the black sauce chicken yee mee with mushrooms,” recollected Eda, a qualified chef who personally attended to the late Adenan whenever he had his lunch at her stall.
“He would usually come here twice a year just to have his favourite sizzling yee mee,” she said.
To Eda, “Tok Nan” – as the beloved statesman was fondly known among his people – was just a repeat customer who was kind and humble.
“He never complained about his food or our service,” said Eda, who hails from East Java, and has been working at the noodle stall since its establishment in 2004.
“Though I did not know who he was initially, I was always curious to know because he always had a bodyguard with him. The bodyguard would take photos of his food and post it on Facebook,” she said.
But she could not muster enough courage to ask, and would never have known who Adenan was, until a stall operator next door alerted her.
“He told me I was lucky to serve a ‘big shot’, who is the Chief Minister of Sarawak. I was shocked. The next thing I knew, our food stall was up on his official Facebook page,” beamed Eda.
She said that Tok Nan usually had his sizzling yee mee with a bottle of mineral water, and his whole lunch set would normally cost about RM10 (with GST) – a stark contrast to the prices of meals at five star hotels in the administrative capital (a luxury that a head of state like him could have easily afforded).
“It’s amazing that a Chief Minister like him preferred to have his meals at my humble stall,” said Eda.
Priced at just RM8 (including GST), the richly-textured, Chinese-style yee mee is specially-prepared by Eda and her team using Sarawak black pepper as one of its secret ingredients.
“Maybe that’s why he liked it. I’ve been making sizzling yee mee for the past 20 years, and I learned the art from a Malay hotel chef,” explained Eda, whose celebrity clients now include Malaysian pop diva, Datuk Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin.
But serving the Chief Minister of Sarawak, who visited incognito, was special, she said.
Describing Adenan as an extremely humble man, Eda said he was a nice client to serve.
“He would personally order his food and eat up everything that I cooked for him, including the black sauce. So his plate was always clean. And once he was done, he would say thank you to me and gave me a thumbs up,” she said.