Mamak stalls never fail
Mansion Tea Stall, Selangor Mansion, Kuala Lumpur 2017
There’s a saying in Malaysia; ‘Have you ever seen a Mamak close shop?’ This refers of course to the popular Mamak stall or restaurant. What people don’t know is that some of these stalls have been around for two generations or more.
The Mansion Tea Stall at the ground floor of Selangor Mansion is popular as an after-party shop for snacks and drinks. It is currently run by a group of Indonesians and Indian workers: all employed by an Indian-Muslim owner.
Hajimar, who is from Tamil Nadu, India has been working at the stall for 20 years while Jemala, who is Indonesian, has been working there for 30 years. Jemala also speaks Tamil from being in that environment. The rest of the workers are from India and Indonesia.
Another practice of these stalls is one of co-ownership of the stall. As it was usual to have one’s family in India, the two partners would take turns to return to India. The stall would be sold to the partner who stayed in Malaysia and re-sold to the returning partner a few months later.
As to why Mamak stalls do not fail, it could be due to the food and drinks offered at affordable prices.