Monday, October 25, 2021

International student delivers halal food products to Malaysian community

<p>Mathematics senior Zafri Abd Halim poses for a portrait on Nov. 24, 2019 at Al Saad Market in Detroit, Michigan. </p>

Mathematics senior Zafri Abd Halim poses for a portrait on Nov. 24, 2019 at Al Saad Market in Detroit, Michigan.

Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

Most students spend their Saturdays gearing up in Spartan apparel for an afternoon football game or savoring a day of sleeping in. 

Zafri Abd Halim is not one of those students.

8:00 a.m. – Renting a car

Halim’s day starts early, when he wakes up around 7 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5 in East Lansing. He orders an Uber — which usually arrives late — that takes him to the Capital Region International Airport where he rents a car to make the commute to Detroit. 


10 a.m. – Picking up orders in Detroit


Halim fulfills orders at Saad Wholesale Meats in Detroit, then Restaurant Depot in Dearborn, depending on the number of orders, he might just make one stop. Halim makes the hour-long commute to Detroit because the prices of halal meat products are cheaper than those in Lansing. Chicken legs are a popular order that customers often use to make chicken rendang, a Malaysian dish made with coconut milk and spices, to get a taste of home.


12 p.m. – Sam's Club

Around noon, Halim usually stops by Sam’s Club for additional halal products.


3:45 p.m. – Packaging products


The process of weighing, packaging and labeling each customer’s order is a laborious process and usually takes more than an hour and a half. 

“Sometimes I’ll take a nap in between,” Halim said. 


6:30 p.m. – Delivering orders


Halim said he avoids game days if possible — delivery once took three hours because of game day traffic. Halim rarely turns a profit off of his business, and said for him, it’s not all about the money. While most of his customers are Malaysian, the delivery business is open to non-Malaysian students and anyone searching for halal products can order them.