Although Malaysia has various cuisines offered up for our delight, there are certain food items which everyone loves. One of it is, of course, satay celup. While there are many sellers in Malaysia, few will dispute that the Capitol Satay Celup Restaurant (佳必多沙爹朱律) in Melaka sells the best ones!
The Capitol Satay Celup Restaurant has been in business for almost 3 decades, which is impressive for any restaurant. However, their time is coming to a end. Third-generation owner, Mr. Liu has regretfully announced that it will shut down in early November.
The family business initially started on the back of a tricycle in the 1990s. They eventually established themselves as Capitol Satay in 1950 and rented a corner shop in Lorong Bukit China. “At its peak, people would be lining up outside the shop and waiting from day till night,” Mr. Liu reminisced. Although they’ve enjoyed the fruits of their efforts for nearly 30 years, the epidemic has severely damaged them.
The shop used to earn over RM2 million per year with an ability to seat 12 tables full of customers. However, the epidemic changed that. “Dining in wasn’t allowed and the turnover from take-outs was less than RM5000 per month,” the current owner shared. “Daily transactions were countable (as) there were only a handful.”
As business declined, it became harder to make ends meet. It didn’t help when material costs and rent started increasing. The shop’s cold room alone usually required RM23,000 a month to cover its electricity bill. Mr. Liu also learned that the lot’s rent would go up by 30% once dine-in was allowed and business resumes.
The shop has been selling its sauce online, hoping it would help boost their income. But they are still overwhelmed. “The price of materials for the sauce has risen and the cost has increased,” Mr. Liu said. As they were unable to keep up with the demands, they came to the saddening conclusion of closing the business.
The shop will be open for one more month, but Mr. Liu aims to close it by the beginning of November at the latest. Currently, he is negotiating with those who intend to take over the shop. Apparently they hope to develop it under Capitol Satay Celup’s name.
If you ever visit Melaka before November, be sure to stop by Lorong Bukit Cina and get your last meal! Their operating hours have changed to 4-11pm from Tuesday to Saturday, effective 1st October.
The family business will be sorely missed, but we’d like to thank them for pioneering the satay celup business. Many have made dear memories there which can never be replaced.