The Mamak Life in Malaysia

December 10, 2016 , Haiya

During our Malaysia Foodcation of 2016, M and I wanted to waste no time sleeping, so would head to a mamak every single night after the malls closed and my sister and cousin headed home because they respectively had work and school the next day.


Nothing to see here, just copious amounts of Milo ice being shared among two.

We did this because waking up at 6am wasn’t reason enough to call it a night before 2am, and only mamaks are open 24 hours a day. At the mamak, we would force ourselves to believe we are hungry enough for some Roti Cennai and down 2-3 juices or teas before rushing back to the hotel for the survival of our bladders.


The first time I went to a mamak was completely unplanned. My sister had called it a night because she said she had a ton of laundry to do and an early morning the next day, M was hanging out with some friends, so I asked my cousin to join me at the mall (at 9 p.m!) because I didn’t want to be alone.

My cousin thought it would be hilarious to meet up with my sister’s friends –who also happened to be nearby according to her unbeatable intel. So, we met up with them, sent my sister a snap, and of course¬†that made my sister feel like she’s missing out on such a wild rave that she threw on a hoodie and got to where we were within 15 mins. These crazy kids. Nothing can get me to leave the house once I’ve changed into my PJs.


…….except for food. Food is the only reason I even leave the house.

Once my sister got there and shook her fist at us for hanging out without her, we realized we need to calm her down by placing some food before her. By now it was 10:30 p.m, and the closest thing was the Anwar Maju mamak.


This was my very first time in a mamak and I was fascinated. Cafeteria style food prepared in large quantities, dozens of items on the menu, and dozens of beverages- both hot and cold. My sister orders a Milo Dinosaur and Roti Cennai. My mind is spinning from all the options and I thank the Lord I only had a pineapple fried rice for dinner and have room for more food.


I learn the mechanics: you order a roti of choice and get free curry with it! You can choose the flavor of your curry (dhaal, chicken, fish etc.), but they’ll charge extra if you want an actual piece of meat in it. Funny stuff.


The most exciting thing I learnt is how cheap and delicios the food is at a mamak! If you’re a broke student, you can still get yourself a plate of food for as low as RM. 2! Granted, the plate won’t have any meat in it but at least you won’t have to go to bed hungry. Also, although the food is prepared in large quantities, it’s almost always fresh because the turnover is very high.

After that first visit to the Anwar Maju mamak, we later discovered the ABC mamak right accross the Chatime entrance at Sunway Pyramid Mall and that’s where we would head every night around 11 pm, to have several Limai Ices (lemonade), Bandung, coconut waters, Milo Dinosaurs and a little something savory to cleanse the palate.


Even when we would head back to our hotel around 2 a.m, the mamaks were still bustling with life. I miss them so much sometimes that I seriously consider just moving to Malaysia. It’s a simple life there filled with (cheap) delicious food.