LAST_UPDATEWed, 20 Jun 2018 10am

Why Mamak Stalls Are So Special In Malaysia?

GOING to Mamak stalls has become a permanent fixture for Malaysians. Mamak stalls have become an integral part of our culture especially in urban areas.

Whether you are Malay, Chinese, Indian or even a foreigner working or studying in this country you would still go to Mamaks. It is exceptionally popular among youths and teenagers to come to these local Indian Muslims restaurants.

We can find people from different social groups, age groups and backgrounds sitting together for hours while gossiping, talking or watching football in a particular Mamak stall.

Of course people also come for food and beverages. The infamous ‘roti canai’ and the inevitable ‘teh tarik’ are always popular picks.

The key characteristics of a Mamak stall

Let’s go through some of the common features of a Mamak stall.

If talking about the place, people mutually agree that Mamak restaurant are relatively clean. People love to watch football at Mamaks because normally the restaurants are equipped with large flat screen televisions or even projectors.

The greatest advantage of Mamak stalls is they commonly operate for 24 hours a day. You will never have to worry if you are hungry at 3.00 am.

The food is appropriate for breakfast, lunch, tea time, dinner and supper. From a heavy meal to a simple snack, all are delectable.

More importantly, the restaurants have many workers in comparison to other stalls. Time will never be an issue because the service is efficient.

The prices are reasonable and affordable. Some Mamak stalls even provide free WiFi. Mamak IS the place to relax or socialize.

The organization behind this thriving industry

PRESMA logoPRESMA logoPRESMA or The Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association is the NGO that represents most of the Mamak restaurants in Malaysia. The reason PRESMA was established in 1994 is to take care of the entrepreneurs’ welfare, specifically the registered Indian Muslims restaurant owners.

Starting with only 40 members, now PRESMA has more than 3500 members. The support and unity shown between the members makes it easier to solve problems and search for solutions to the mutual benefit of all its members.

No wonder the network of Mamak restaurants is strong and successful. This is the secret recipe and this is the integral element that distinguishes the Mamak business from other types of food and beverage operators

Noorul Hassan Saul HameedNoorul Hassan Saul HameedPRESMA President, Noorul Hassan Saul Hameed said that the Mamak business can succeed and generate lucrative incomes because of the efforts of the owners themselves.

“The Mamak industry manages to contribute approximately RM 8 billion to the country’s revenue.” He said.

He even said that several popular local Mamak restaurants had already opened branches in countries such as Hong Kong and Australia.

“There are already quite a number of Malaysian-owned restaurants throughout the world which shows that our local specialties like roti canai and mee goreng are also favoured in foreign countries.”

Noorul Hassan also mentioned that the strengths of the Mamak stalls are that the owners know what the customers want. In fact, they understand their customers’ appetites and tastes.

“It is quite simple, we provide every kind of food that people can eat, and everybody will come.”

From the food, to the premises, services and so forth, there are plenty of factors that make Mamak restaurants special in the eyes of the people. .

Mamak stalls have devoted fans all around Malaysia

Noor AzzizanNoor AzzizanNoor Azzizan, a 25 years old engineer is indeed a regular customer of Mamak food.

“I have my breakfast, lunch, dinner and even supper at the nearest Mamak restaurants.”

When asked about the reasons for his devotion to Mamak stalls, he answered that the service is smooth and efficient while there are always many choices of food.

“It opens for 24 hours a day and it is very convenient for people to hangout and watch football. Most of the restaurants are spacious and comfortable. We can sit there for hours.”

Personally, he favours all Habib restaurants in Johor Bahru, further adding that there is no question about the superior taste, while the price of the food and beverages are reasonable.

“More importantly, whether I am in a rush, or I have plenty of time, Mamak is still the appropriate place to go.”

Alif AnuarAlif AnuarOn the other hand, Alif Solihin goes to Mamak stalls at least twice a week.

“For sure, I will go to Ali Maju to watch EPL games and order maggi goreng and teh tarik,” said the Chelsea Football Club supporter.

The 24 year old editor added that there is something unique about the taste and quality of the food and drinks.

“The teh tarik is something else; it is different from tea offered in other food outlets. They must have put some special ingredient (he laughs).”

Alif who also favours Pelita restaurants said that besides watching football games, he goes to Mamak to socialize and meet people because it is very convenient.

‘Mamak Cupcake’

The film Mamak Cupcake, which is directed by Woo Min Jin, is proof that the Mamak phenomenon is already a part of our culture. The story is about the main character, MJ (Shaheizy Sam) who is given his father’s trust to inherit their family’s Mamak restaurant empire.

The romantic comedy portrays the reality of the environment in a Mamak stall which consists of the characters making roti canai, teh tarik and so forth.

What do the cast members of the movie think about Mamak restaurants?

“Mosin and Pelita are My Picks”

Siti Saleha Siti Saleha No introduction needed for the beautiful Siti Saleha as she acted as Juliana in Mamak Cupcake
Since she had just returned from Europe, the actress who is known for her role as Nora Elena said that it has been a while since the last time she went to a Mamak restaurant.

“Normally, after jogging or cycling with my friends, I will go to have a drink at a Mamak stall.”

The 24 year old actress said that usually she goes to Mamak restaurants to hangout and socialize.

“I am not a football fan but there are times I sit at Mamak stalls and accidently watch football games, for example during the last World Cup”

Saleha, who is also a commercial model, favours Mosin and Pelita restaurants.

“My favourite Mamak food is nasi goreng ayam pedas (Spicy Chicken Fried Rice). I am more of a coffee person, so I don’t really drink teh tarik.”


Everything about the food is unique and special

Azad JazminAzad JazminAzad Jazmin who played Ali Deen in Mamak Cupcake has rich knowledge on Mamak food and Mamak restaurants especially because of his love for nasi kandar.

First and foremost he said the price is reasonable because Mamak food is very unique and well-seasoned.

“For commercialized outlets offering nasi kandar, normally there are special self-made spices which make the taste of the food unbelievable. It is true because I used to live behind a nasi kandar restaurant.”

The 38 year old actor also added that normally the teh tarik is tasty because it is made of tea and their very own milk concoction. Some of the stalls use up to 3 or 4 types of milk which make the taste rich.

Azad, who used to study at Madras University in India, said it is a must for people to try the nasi kandar at Merlin, Kampung Melayu and Deen if they are in Penang.

“But if you are in Kuala Lumpur, Pelita Nasi Kandar is also a fantastic choice.”

As an avid Chelsea fan, he goes to Mamak stalls to watch football and also for his business.

“I am Eden Azad (referring to Eden Hazard); therefore I do watch football games at Mamak stalls aside
from doing my business.”

Therefore, why Mamak stalls are special in this country? The answer is the perfect combination of everything; the business management, the service, the food, the ambience, convenience and everything possible that makes Mamak stalls the choice of all Malaysians.

Mamak CupcakeMamak Cupcake