OPEN HOUSE - BALIK KAMPUNG and the
MAMAK STALL CULTURE

 

OPEN HOUSE

nique to Malaysia is the 'open house' concept where - during the various cultural and religious festivals - friends, families and even strangers would visit the homes of those who are celebrating the festival, to wish them well and enjoy the feast prepared by their hosts. Definitely something to experience! .

BALIK KAMPUNG

Loosely translated, "balik kampung" means to go back to one's hometown. However, it is most applicable when used to describe the annual pilgrimage of city folk to their respective hometowns during festive seasons.

It's not uncommon to find cities like Kuala Lumpur turning into ghost towns during Hari Raya Puasa and Chinese New Year due to this yearly exodus. This feeling of desolation in cities is magnified when festivals fall close together, such as Kongsi Raya (Hari Raya Puasa and Chinese New Year) although this happens only occasionally.

THE MAMAK STALL CULTURE

Not so much al fresco dining as it is a sidewalk hangout spot, the mamak stall has become a permanent fixture in many parts of Malaysia, especially within the state of Selangor, particularly in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.

It is exceptionally popular among young adults and teenagers who look at these stalls as a clean (arguably so) and safe place to gather with friends to while the night away. One can call it an option to clubs and discos, or rather the only option after the clubs and discos close. One thing's for sure, it has brought about a new city trend, a uniquely Malaysian culture, one that demonstrates the fact that cities like Kuala Lumpur, never really go to sleep.

The term "mamak" is widely used, though it is not considered a polite term, to describe Indian Muslims. However, the term "mamak stalls" is not exclusively used to describe food stalls owned by members of that community. Rather, it has taken a wider meaning, due to its popularity, describing outdoor stalls of similar fashion that remain open till the wee hours of the morning. Most mamak stalls open for business at about 5pm and remain open till way after midnight. It's not uncommon to see a row of stalls taking up more than just the allocated sidewalk space, with plastic chairs and tables covering a portion of the adjoining lanes or road.

 

C-Right 2014 Langkawi Gazette