Claypot Delicacies’ Catherine Sim grateful for husband’s support despite operating separate stalls selling same dish

Sim preparing her clay pot rice dishes at her cooking station at her stall.

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, April 6: From learning the tools of the trade from her husband to opening her own stall selling clay pot rice, Catherine Sim is grateful that she had his support for her independence even though he, too, operates his own stall selling the same dish.

Sim, a self-taught clay pot rice specialist, is grateful that she secured a spot at the Stutong Community Market food court in 2010 to sell her dish, as she knew many other vendors applied as well.

“Overall, we have been in the business for 35 years, and I learned the trade from him. He was my ‘sifu’ (teacher) and my mentor before I opened my stall,” said the 63-year-old.

Sim revealed that her in-laws had experience in making barbeque dishes back in Johor.

“Here in the city, we sold the dishes together when we first opened our stall at a cafe near the old Odeon Cinema in the early 1980s,” she said.

Sim added that after five years, they moved their stall to Rubber Road, then to 3rd Mile Rock Road and then to this location in the 1990s.

“Over those years, we were all over the place until I settled here, and now my husband has a stall at the Trinity Hub area. He also sells clay pot rice and other local dishes,” she said.

On the savoury clay pot rice dishes she serves, Sim said it took years of perfection through trial and error.

Armed with her expertise, she serves her clay pot rice with an assortment of meat such as chicken, pork, Chinese sausages, and salted fish, which were later sprinkled with soya sauce and topped with finely chopped shallots.

Sim’s savoury clay pot rice dish.

Sim shared that she charges RM8 per pot, and if customers want an egg to go with it, it is RM9.

“This price is pretty reasonable, and the customers are happy with the portion. Last time, I used to sell a bigger portion at a higher price, but customers could not finish it.”

Operating independently with no helpers, Sim prepares her ingredients daily when she is not serving her customers at her stall and stores them for the next day.

“It has been routine for the past fourteen years while I am at my stall. After the Covid-19 pandemic and movement control order (MCO) period, business is slowly returning to normal,” she said, adding that weekends are the busiest.

Sim stated that none of her four children followed her and her husband’s footsteps, but she is glad they know how to cook for themselves.

Her stall, Claypot Delicacies, is located at No. 19 Stutong Community Market food court in Kuching. It operates daily from 7.30am to 12.30pm except on Mondays.

For more information, call 013 894 4313. — DayakDaily

Sim’s clay pot stall at Stutong Community Market food court in Kuching.