Want to open Malaysian Restaurant

Hi, I'm in the process of applying self employed/ freelance visa in Germany. I intend to do food catering to Asians living in Germany. I'm from Malaysia and will be offering Malay food and will be contributing to Germany in term of taxes etc. I'm going to UK tomorow and will go to Germany for some research..I have few questions and need you guys to help me to get few informations:

1. Which part of Germany most Asians stay? Living or as students?
2. Which part of Germany has many universities with international students?
3. Which part of Gernany popular with tourists?
4. Any other informations regarding Malay/ Asian/ Ethnic food  restaurants in Germany?

Thanking you in advance...


Sorry to say, but there is no part of Germany with a high enough density of (Southeast) Asians to sustain a dedicated catering business.
There are probably not more than 200 Malaysians in the whole of Germany, and a similar number of Singaporeans. There are more Thais and Indonesians, but they already have plenty of restaurants (mostly catering to Germans of course, whose idea of good Asian food is much different from yours).
Furthermore, to start a food business in Germany requires many certificates and approvals for hygiene, education (you need to have a certified three year Ausbildung to be allowed to cook!), venue ("not in my backyard" syndrome due to noise and smell), alcoholic drinks (no restaurant or food business can survive in Germany without selling them). You also need to have a very good command of German, to understand customers and negotiate with suppliers.
I seriously advice you not to try this without a good local partner who has done it before!
But that said: If you do start something, please let me know and I will sure come for a test. I miss Biryani, Roti Canai, a good Achar, Rojak and all kinds of Nonya dishes. I'd also add Nasi Kerabu, but I'm afraid you cannot get the ingredients (herbs) anywhere in Europe.

Thank you very much for the feed back. This really saves me a lot of time, trouble and money to get all the information. Really appreciate it. I better look for other places.

Thank you again


Most things I wrote are certainly true (with some local variation) anywhere in Europe., especially the need for licenses and paperwork, the lack of Asian customers and the need to understand the local language well.
Good luck - and let us know how it went!

Most people in the UK who eat Chinese food are white and British, never having been near China.
The Chinese restaurants managed this trick by offering an Anglicized version of their dishes.

A Malaysian restaurant doesn't have to be aimed at a Malaysian population.

I initially wanted to open a Malaysian cafe in Birmingham. But then I extended the option to Germany after reading about the self employed/ freelance visa online. Now I change the plan back to Birmingham. I'm going to UK tomorow to study more about Birmingham, whether the investment viable or not.

My daughter is working as a skin specialist in Cardiff and she has been in UK for 7 years now. I have been going on and off to UK for the last 7 years to visit her. But I don't really know the true market scene for Asian food in UK. Chinese, Thai or Vietnamese food are already known to local people but not Malaysian food. I'm quite worried...

Any advise/ idea regarding this would be very much appreciated.

Hello Rina, all of us Asians have made our own experience living here in Europe and most of what has been written here till now does reflect the actual situation. I am also a Malaysian and have spent more than 30 years in Europe in various countries, I really sometimes wish there were more Southeast Asian restaurants. It is true that there aren't too many southeast Asians in Germany and those that are here are much scattered about all over the country. That being said, there are several Malaysian clubs viz. in the area of Stuttgart (where I live), Munich, Berlin, Hamburg and a couple more.

I would be more than happy to assist you where I can. I am fluent in German and while I do not claim to know the nitty-gritties of the laws governing the gastronomy sector, it would not be too difficult to find out what one needs to know. I have been in self-employment before and therefore know what it takes to set up a business and the legal stipulations involved. Gong forward, I would be spending a good part of my time in Spain, where again good Asian restaurants are scarce. Those that are there are mainly Chinese and I find their food quite "europeanised" in taste.

It seems that you will be taking a big step with the associated risks.....but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Do feel free to contact me or maybe come by if you should be in the area of Stuttgart. However you decide, good luck.

I have to agree with comments already made that there are not a lot of SE Asians in Germany and a business strategy depending on their support is likely to fail. Yet one can also stand out by offering and specializing in cuisine others don't offer. But you have to target the German market. The key is to offer lots of familiar Asian basics which might mean having Chinese, Thai and Malaysian dishes on offer. The number of Asian restaurants in Stuttgart and most of Germany has exploded over the last 2 decades. Germans are big travelers and they love Chinese and Thai food. Recently there have been many offering Vietnamese food as well so why not Malaysian? But having exclusively Malaysian food is doubtful. The best bet is to offer regional food, SE Asian or Indian/Sri Lankan or Italian etc. but don't go overboard. There are a few places that have Chinese, Thai, Italian, German etc. on a menu which from my experience means they do everything - but nothing really well. Extremely important and difficult is finding the right location. There should be a good flow of passerby's without it being too hectic. Well positioned commercial property tends to be expensive unless you are content to have a little hole in the wall type place with a limited menu and super cheap prices. Having an upscale Asian eatery, in Stuttgart as an example, would seem very risky these days since there are many simple places with good food with nearly all of the meals going for 5 to 8 Euros. Since a couple of years, there have been places opening that have limited menus with smaller portions for take away for as low as 3 to 4 Euros a meal. The places that tend charge say 10 to 15 Euros a meal have it difficult even though they might offer a fancier atmosphere and even they will generally have special lunch offers for a big discount. Another subject is how authentic a food should be. Most successful restaurants make some adaptations to the German taste. One can make a reputation for having authentic tasting dishes but sometimes it mean toning down the spice level. When a German claims he wants his Thai food “real spicy” this still means rather mild to a Thai because Europeans can’t handle it and it’s mostly bluster when they claim they can. Better to make it milder and let people add additional spice themselves.

Good Evening from Germany,
Germany is full of asian restaurants,even here in Schwerin we have at least 8 of them!
Why not try it in a country where malayan food is unknown and where people love spicy food?
I want to open a restaurant next year in Accra/Ghana in a very good area and I know that there is no restaurant with dishes from your country!
For more infos feel free to contact me,

Moderated by Priscilla 2 years ago
Reason : do not post personal contact details here for your own security

I want to clarify that by saying there are a lot of Asian restaurants in Germany does NOT mean that there are too many. It is a good sign that Germans are more than willing to eat Asian food. Yet one also needs to realize that there is competition - so one will not make it by having mediocer food, little atmosphere and too high prices. I don't have knowledge about the situation in England but would think Rina would have an advantage there having relatives and speaking some of the language. Trying a business in Germany without having lived here or speaking the language sounds difficult both on business and personal levels. Then there are all of the legal questions to immigrate and start such a business. I seriously doubt many financial institutes are going to be happy to lend money for a start up to newly arrived foreigners unless they are mostly self-financed. But if one manages the logistics, having a nice place with good food and reasonable prices is potentially a reasonable business strategy.

Hi Rina,

since approx 10 years I live in Düsseldorf. Düsseldorf is a nice international City with many international (including asian) restaurants. However, there is no malaysian nor indonesian restaurant here. As I am born in Indonesia and lived many years in Malaysia (KL and Miri), you cant imagine  how much I miss my indonesian/malaysian food. For that I have to go to Holland.
I believe a malaysian restaurant will be going well as more and more german visit Malaysia and Indonesia.
I hope that you will decide to open your Restaurant in Düsseldorf. Should you need any help (now or later in your restaurant), I will be pleased to assist you.

Best regards,

Tqvm for your reply. I just got my tier 1 visa to UK. I am now looking for shop lot to rent probably in Manchester. Maybe I will invest in Dussoldolf in future.
Thanx again

Yes you are absolutely right. Sorry for the late reply. I've been travelling on and off to UK to look for a place to invest. I think maybe Manchester is suitable. However, it will depend on shop availability and reosanable rent and location.
Tq again

Tqvm. Definitely not. Thanx for your concern

Try East Berlin

Tqvm for the advise.

I posted a reply (on 9 July) but unfortunately received no reply. Nevertheless, since you seem to be looking around the Manchester area, you may want to view the area behind Piccadily in central Manchester. This is an area very popular to people lookinf for Asian cuisine. The area near to Piccadily along the main street is alsogood but commands a higher rent.

Hi Antly!

I'm Farant from Indonesia. I saw your post talking about opening malaysia restaurant in Europe. I am wondering if i could open small restaurant that sell authentic Indonesian meatball soup in Jerman. Do you have any idea how to start it? Unfortunately, i don't have any Jerman resident permit and another legal. Looking forward for your reply.


Farant: This thread has been inactive for 1.5 years. It may be better you start you own, new thread on the forum to get more relevant replies.

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