almost everywhere in the cities
Traditionally Mamak restaurants started out as roadside stalls but due their importance to Malaysian social life, hence the large number of customers, there are big mamak restaurants and even restaurant chains now too. Mamak stalls are true multi-racial melting pots, whether the customers are Malay, Indian, Chinese, tourists or others, this is the place where everybody meets for a snack or a drink with friends, business clients, breakfast or just watching football at night. Many mamak stalls operate 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. You want your Roti Canai and Teh Tarik at 4am in the morning? No problem. Welcome to Malaysia!
Here’s a video clip to a parody of a Black Eye Peas song from a local radio station (I got it from my mamak). A funny clip that gives you a good feel what Mamak means to Malaysians. By the way “Macha” is how the locals call the staff in the restaurant (the other option being Boss”)
The mamak stall has been etched permanently into Malaysian culture, much in part because of its ubiquitous nature. The mamak stall is very much a melting pot of cultures, a symbol of multiracial harmony. People of all races, religions and ages frequent mamak stalls to gossip or catch a late-night football game while enjoying a cup of hot teh tarik. No other eatery has quite as much cultural significance in Malaysia, save for the kopi tiam. The Malaysian Mamak (commonly known as Mamak) are Tamil Muslims of Malaysian nationality, whose forefathers mostly migrated from South India to the Malay Peninsula and various locations in Southeast Asia centuries ago.
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