You can be the kind of person who looks for the nearest familiar fast food chain in the country you’re travelling and was relieved to find a bold MacDonald sign across the street.


I am here to teach you the basics of eating out at a ‘mamak’ stall, Malaysian style. Mamak (pronounced : mar-muck) is normally a 24 hour our version of fast food restaurant (the service is efficient but you must be warned of the cleanliness) and normally managed by Indians or Indian-Muslims. If you know your way around in a mamak stall then you are officially a Malaysian. A person could eat 5 meals a day at a mamak stall and the menu includes a listing of Malaysian dishes or fusion Indian food.

Vegetarians please do not opt for mamak stalls. You have been warned.

You may find a lot of mamak variety in Penang. They even wears uniform and different restaurant has different speciality.

On the menu you will find a lot of confusing words but manageable.

1) Your job is to sit and look at the menu on the wall. The waiter will be there shortly.

2) If you see the letter O it means without milk

3) When called ‘boss‘, the waiter means You. In turn, when calling them you may address the same thing.

4) Don’t worry about the gravy, it comes with 3 varieties: dhal curry, fish curry and a sweet-hot paste of anchovies with chillies.

5) They speak moderate English but probably best indicated with hands.

This is the bill. You’ll get this while eating and show this to the cashier before leaving.
This is the common ‘Teh O Ais’ meaning Iced Tea.

This is a sample of Roti Sardin which means pastry stuffed with canned sardines. There’s a lot of variety of stuffing (cocoa powder, condensed milk, egg, cheese, etc). It’s also available in plain (ask for Roti Kosong)