Maybe it’s the combination of more time spent at home, a growing sense of desperation to fill up said time and the happy awakening that it is in fact possible to earn a little extra money on the side and synchronously secure time to fine-tune your hobbies that propelled the stark rise of homegrown businesses in the pandemic. Whichever the case, the past year has pleasantly yielded discoveries of entrepreneurial streaks amongst us, as people gently steer their hobbies into business ventures from the comfort of their homes.
Falling into this lot, the scrumptious deli-inspired sandwiches of Lunch From My Husband traces back it’s beginning to the humble kitchen counter of husband and wife, Abang M. Rolansyah and Yori Atira’s home, where sandwiches are a familiar sight for lunch, favoured by the pair for their convenience and on-the-go nature.
Long before they made their way to homes across the city, the flavour-filled, colourful line-up of sandwiches were commonly dishes Yori would fix up at home; separately as a salad, a sauce, or a hearty main, which she then reimagined into a sandwich. “I’ve always enjoyed cooking, it’s therapeutic for me. I was always taught not to be a picky eater, so I love rich-tasting food and I love spices!” enthused Yori.
And so, a few months into the pandemic last year, Yori began her explorations in the kitchen, particularly playing on flavours the pair both reminisced from past travels. Informed by the local cuisines and distinct palates they encounter on these visits, with each menu item, Lunch For My Husband sets to introduce something new to the local populace.
In their case, it’s a new smack of flavours and cuisines playfully repackaged as such: the banh-mi inspired marinated charred chicken and lemongrass relish of Mekong, the herby falafel, tabbouleh-esque salad, and generous smear of beetroot hummus of Qaseem, and most recently the battered and fried ebi katsu, homemade tartar sauce and takuan of Haruki, which marks their 10th menu roll-out to date.
Each menu runs for three weeks, and at every announcement of pre-order slots, they have generated a wild welcome and excitement on social media, where orders are quick to reach capacity in a matter of a few minutes. For those lucky enough to get their names on the list, their fresh and indulgent lunch will be delivered on set days – Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.
While the pre-order game can be quite a gamble for customers, it’s worth waiting and supporting the duo. In an effort to elevate other small, independent businesses, they often pair up with local bakers and producers for their menu (such as Haruki). Otherwise, everything else is lovingly made from scratch; sauces and pickles are left to marinate the night before, while fresh salads, condiments, and fillings are beautifully arranged the morning of. On a regular delivery day the pair produces up to 85 pieces of whatever is on the menu at the time, all sealed and ready for pick-up for lunchtime, before they wrap up and head off to their main jobs.
From design to production, everything at Lunch For My Husband is done in their intimate team of two. Maximising on his strengths as a graphic designer, Abang is left in charge of all the visuals, from design to photography, while Yori hones in on perfecting the recipes and continually refines her knack of concocting homemade dressings and sauces.
Ultimately for the pair, their labour of love has proved rewarding through the connection they fostered. “We’ve been able to make so many new friends, share stories, and connect to so many people through social media. That’s been the most gratifying thing,” they both shared with a smile. To them, the concept is carried full circle when customers put in orders of sandwiches to be delivered and shared to loved ones across the city. After all, that was the very same spirit that Lunch For My Husband was founded on.