A former street vendor served as an inspiration to many, as they are now proud owners of an “ihawan” business.
Camelle Esmella of Boy & Nita Ihaw-Ihaw shared the inspiring story of how her parents built a successful business. She recalled that her parents were street vendors, and her mother sold bangus and tilapia. It seems that bangus has always been part of their lives, as it was also through selling bangus that Boy and Nita met.
Since street vendors are not allowed in Marikina, Boy and Nita had to rent a place to continue selling fish. According to Camelle, her parents came up with the ‘ihawan’ business as a “libangan” and didn’t expect it to go big.
They opened their first ihawan with a capital of P5,000 to P10,000. However, the pandemic came and they had to be creative to ensure their business survived. “Nagisip po kami ng paraan kung paano ba namin dadalhin ang inihaw na bangus sa mga bahay ng customer,” Camelle shared on GMA’s Pera Paraan.
Thus, they came up with a seafood bilao perfect for a small gathering at home. Aside from their bestselling grilled bangus, their bilao includes crispy pompano, shells, mussels, shrimp, and many others. Even better, they offer their customers the option to “make their own bilao” meal. And it’s not just for seafood; you can do all-meat, all-veggies, and others.
With the success of their ihawan business, Camelle said they are earning 5 to six-digit profit every month. They now have six branches but will be looking forward to opening more branches this year.
Advice to entrepreneurs
According to Camelle, her parents’ advice has always been to be hardworking, live humbly, and to help others. “Ang laging sinsabi ng mga magulang namin sa amin, maging masipag, matiyag, at simple pa rin sa pamumuhay at tumolong sa ibang tao,” she said.
Boy & Nita’s Bestselling Inihaw Na Bangus
Prepare the ingredients: boneless bangus, tomatoes, onions, salt, and pepper. When choosing bangus, always make sure it’s fresh. It’s also best to select the medium-sized bangus because it’s tastier. Season the bangus with salt and pepper. Prepare the filling by combining the tomatoes, onions, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Put the filling in the bangus belly.
Now it’s time to grill. Place that bangus inside a grill basket to secure it when you need to flip it while grilling. It also makes sure that the bangus looks presentable when cooked. When grilling, flip the bangus every 7 to 8 minutes to ensure both sides are evenly cooked. It takes 30 to 45 minutes to cook an ‘inihaw na bangus’.
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