"[My customers] always WhatsApp me to say: “Your food is lekker!”
When Derek Chen arrived from China to start his business in South Africa, he didn’t know what to expect.
Now he runs the most popular Chinese restaurant in Jeffery’s Bay. Whether they’re locals or international visitors, Derek’s sushi – his signature dish – is a hit with everyone who grabs a takeaway or sits down to have a meal at Oriental Cuisine.
We chatted with Derek to find out about his business journey and how he’s growing his business against the odds.
Tell us about your business?
We make sushi and Chinese food. It’s very popular in Africa. We are from China. So, lots of people want to try our sushi, because it’s very healthy. They also love our Chinese food.
Do you sell any other products?
We have lots of customers and families who want to try make sushi or Chinese food. They can buy the original sauce and all they stuff they need from us. We also make some special sauce ourselves.
Where does your passion come from?
When I was small, I had to make food for my parents. And when they said it was nice it made me feel happy. That’s why I love to make food. When I see a customer enjoy my food, I’m very happy.
How has iKhokha helped your business?
When I came here [to South Africa], I had no idea about the people or how they would pay. But now we have iKhokha, they love to pay with the card machine. And we’re getting busier!
Before lockdown, we only did table service and takeaway. We didn’t do deliveries. When lockdown came, all our customers wanted takeaway and deliveries. So, iKhokha helped with that a lot because it’s a small card machine that can go anywhere. It brought us more business by making it easier for people to pay.
What makes you proud as a business owner?
When people taste my food, they say it’s really nice and they always come back. Both local customers and customers from overseas, when they come to Jeffereys Bay and say: “Where can I get Chinese food?” Everyone will say: “Oriental Cuisine!”
How are you growing your business?
Beforehand I worked alone. Now that we’re getting busy, I’ve had to get a friend to come help me. It’s important that our customers get nice service.
What is your customers’ favourite dish?
The people that come to us always want sushi. They always want chow mein. And then when the go home, they always WhatsApp me to say: “Your food is lekker!”
If you find yourself in South Africa’s surf capital and you’re in the mood for fresh sushi, then pay Derek a visit at Oriental Cuisine.
Phone: 042 293 0087
Address: 3 Goedehoop St, Jeffreys Bay, 6630