From a distance Mohd Firdaus Mohamed Nor looks like any run-of-the-mill char kuey teow seller by the roadside. But looks can be deceiving.
The 34-year-old entrepreneur from Manjoi has been blind since he was 21. He depends on his other senses to prepare this mouth-watering dish.
“I fell into a drain when I was four. My parents thought nothing about it and didn’t send me for medical treatment,” said Firdaus. Unfortunately, his sight began to fail over time forcing him to wear glasses at eight.
The situation worsened when he was 14. At 21 he was categorised as a B2 blind, meaning he is partially blind.
“Although I’m considered partially blind, I can’t see anything during the day. At night it’s blurry. I can’t see anything with my left eye,” he added.
However, being visually impaired did not deter Firdaus from obtaining a Diploma in Hotel and Catering from Keris College, Ipoh. He began his career in the hospitality industry doing his practical at Damai Laut Resort followed by stints at hotels in Pulau Pangkor, Lumut and Teluk Batik for six years.
“I felt uncomfortable working in hotels as I was always on the receiving end. I was teased and bullied by my peers who disliked my overt dependence on their help to move around,” he lamented.
Mohd Firdaus is the proud owner of ‘Char Kuey Teow Lagend’ in Manjoi. He has been in the food business for the past two years.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” goes the old saying. Firdaus started his business with a small stall at Meru Impian. His stall was without tables and chairs and orders had to be taken off the cuff. But Lady Luck was on his side.
Business began to pick up and the good news soon spread. Not being able to expand on his limited space at Meru Impian, Firdaus moved to Kg Dato’ Ahmad Said in Manjoi. Having identified a suitable location, he built a much larger stall complete with tables, chairs and shade for the convenience of his appreciative customers who loved his fried kuey teow.
“I provided them both hot and cold drinks making it a complete eatery, albeit by the roadside,” said Firdaus, who now dreams of opening a cafeteria in the near future.
He cooks about 5kg of kuey teow daily. The price ranges from RM4 to RM6.50 a plate, depending on the ingredients.
“My most-sought-after dish is ‘Char Kuey Teow Special Cheese’. It comes with prawns, chicken, cockles and cheese.
Those keen on tasting Firdaus’s yummy char kuey teow can visit his roadside stall which operates daily from 6pm to 12pm.
Address: No. 3133, Lebuh Rajawali, Kampung Dato Ahmad Said Tambahan 2, Manjoi, 30020 Ipoh. Mobile number: 012 527 8435.