Sunday, September 27, 2020

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. 

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10 a.m. – Picking up orders in Detroit

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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.

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12 p.m. – Sam's Club

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

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3:45 p.m. – Packaging products

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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. 

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6:30 p.m. – Delivering orders

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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.