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Why mamak stalls are so popular and loved by Malaysians

Published on 25 July 2018|
2 min read

For the love of teh tarik and roti canai.
By Louise M., Carrybeans

The term ‘mamak’ is derived from the Tamil word for maternal uncle, or ‘maa-ma’. Now ask any Malaysians if they have ever been to a mamak stall and I’m sure the answer will almost always be a resounding “Yes”! It’s because these stalls have been around long enough that they have already become a part of our life.

Why are mamak stalls so popular?

Credit:  IIUM

Open 24 hours

Almost all mamak places remain open throughout the day. No matter the time, you can count on them to be of service. You will never have to worry if you are hungry at 3:30 a.m. This is why it is extremely popular among young adults and teenagers who go there to hang out with friends during the night.  

Wide food selections

Whether you plan to have a heavy meal or just a quick and simple snack, there’s something there to fill you up. The food is appropriate for breakfast, lunch, tea time, dinner and supper. Pricewise, it is quite affordable, too. The famous ‘roti canai’ and the frothy ‘teh tarik’ are popular pairings.

Free entertainment

Most of them are outfitted with large flat-screen TVs or even projectors. Patrons can catch the latest programmes or watch old movies as they dine. The most exciting times are during any live screening of football matches. Tables and chairs will spill over the walkway and football fans will liven up the place. 

Relaxed ambience

The modern mamak stalls have a cafe aspect furnished with a decent seating arrangement. Relatively clean, the place itself is light and casual. It is a good place to socialise and you don’t even have to dress up – unless you want to. 

Efficient service

You don’t have to wait long for the staff to attend to you and take your orders. Regular customers get to feel special; they know your usual orders even before you take your seat.

Over the years, the kedai mamaks have grown to become more than just a food joint. They are now a common meeting ground for friends to catch up on their latest goings-on and to just chill.

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