Sehati Sejiwa: Tai Yong of Budi Melaka on cocktails the Malaccan way

Tell us more about you & Budi

Tai Yong: Budi is a proudly Malaccan cocktail bar inspired by Malacca's rich history and unique local flavors. I'm a proud Malaccan who has been in the F&B industry for 10 years. I started Lust in Jan 2012 till 2016 & Nagaba from Sept 2014 till 2018. Lust was a medium capacity club with music themed nights and Nagaba was a multi storey restaurant & bar. Well I started as a party promoter and the owner of the venue I used to host my parties at (Marketplace) suggested that I open a venue to host my parties so I partnered with my friend Azran. We used to host some parties together at Market Place

The speakeasy scene in Melaka is relatively new compared to Kuala Lumpur. What contributed to the decision of opening in Melaka?

Tai Yong: Well I never had the intention to open a cocktail bar. I wanted to open a bar with a decent range of drink selection and Malaccan style hospitality. The cocktails were more of a marketing tool  to attract more customers to visit us. The cocktails were also a way to showcase some of Malacca's unique flavors.

How does Budi showcase Malacca's unique flavours?

Tai Yong: By creating cocktails using locally sourced ingredients. For the folks in KL who want to take a drive down to Melaka, come to Budi for the Malaccan bar experience. Our cocktails are inspired by local Malaccan flavours and we try to always either grow our own ingredients (like our own Kedondong & Roselle fruits). If not we source the ingredients from local farmers. The Malaccan experience also includes a bar snack by a 70 year old Peranakan bibik to hosting High Tea on weekends featuring Nyonya kuihs and Hainanese satay. All these are of course delivered with the warm Malaccan hospitality.

What is the biggest misconception that you wish you could change about Malaysian consumers?

Tai Yong: That drinking is about getting drunk. Though the destination is the same but the journey can be different. That there is a difference to having five RM10 beers to a RM50 cocktail. The latter is a labour of love that required hours of dedication & diligence. Support a local artisan in their craft by learning & appreciating the process as much as the product.

If Malaysia was a cocktail, what would it be and why?

Tai Yong: I think the Jungle Bird really represents Malaysia. It's the prefect of blend of sweet, sour & bitter. It's so many complex flavors that's work in harmony to create the perfectly balanced cocktail

For the people who want to come by Budi, where do we follow you/make a booking ?

Tai Yong: The can whatsapp/Call us at 0177188269 for reservations are seating in limited to only 15 our IG/FB is @budi.melaka.

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