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A mamak stall, is a food establishment which serves mamak food. In Malaysia, the colloquial term mamak refers to Tamil Muslims, who generally own and operate them. Although traditionally operated from roadside stalls, some modern mamak stall operators have expanded their businesses into restaurant or cafe-type establishments. Mamak stalls tend to be popular among Malaysian youths as hang out spots, due to cheap food and beverages being served 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Malaysian 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. They are regarded as part of the Malaysian Indian community. Indian Muslims were believed to first arrive at Samudera (now Aceh in Sumatra, Indonesia) back in the early 10th century. Bujang Valley, Kedah, Malaysia have trade relation with India as early as 1st-5th century C.E. with the finding of iron-smelting site (SB2A). This site has been dated to the by radiocarbon, AMS and OSL techniques., An inscription dated 779 AD that refers to the trade relationship between the Tamil country and Malaya has been found in Ligor, Malay Peninsula. Although the origins of the word are perfectly benign, it is often used as a derogatory term for the Indian Muslim community in Malaysia.[by whom?]
The word 'Mamak' is from the Tamil term for maternal uncle, or 'maa-ma'. In the context of Singapore and Malaysia, children of all ethnic groups are taught to refer to adult neighbours, shopkeepers and even strangers as 'uncle' and 'auntie', as a form of respect for and deference towards elders. This term is used even though the adult may not be a member of the child's family, clan or even ethnic group/'race'. The origin of the term 'mamak stall' is likely from the practice of children addressing the shopkeeper as 'uncle', or 'mamak', in his native Tamil language, as a form of respect when interacting with him, and patronising his shop. Although the pronunciation is without 'K' the malays useally do not pronounce a 'K' at the end of a word. Therefore, in writing, the malays would assume there was a silent 'K' and would write 'Mamak' instead of 'Maa-ma'
Mamak stalls and Hindu stalls are alike except the Mamaks, who are Muslims, do not serve pork but serves beef, whereas the Hindus do not serve beef and pork. There are also similar stalls run by local Malays, which are not to be confused with the Mamak.
Popularity of mamak stalls 
Newer mamak stalls have more of a cafe aspect, being well lit and furnished with stainless steel tables. Some are outfitted with large flat screen televisions, or even projectors, so that patrons can catch the latest programs or live matches as they dine. Some mamak stalls also provide free wi-fi service. Interestingly, most modern mamak stalls attempt to retain the charm of open air dining of its predecessors by setting up tables on a patio, the shoplot's walkway or even on the street. Nevertheless, all mamak stalls provide a casual ambiance and affordable food to locals who need a place to unwind or socialise.
Mamak fare 
A mamak stall usually offers different varieties of roti canai to eat and teh tarik, ((coffee)), Milo and soft drinks to drink. Most mamak stalls also serve several varieties of rice, such as nasi lemak and nasi goreng, as well as noodle dishes such as mee goreng (fried noodles). Some stalls also offer satay and Western dishes.
A typical Mamak stall will offer the following dishes, though this differs from stall to stall:
- Roti Canai
- Roti Telur
- Teh Tarik (literally 'Pulled Tea')
- Half-Boiled Eggs
- Goat's Milk
- Nasi Kandar
- Nasi Briyani
- Nasi Lemak
- Maggi Goreng (Fried Maggi noodles)
- Mee Goreng (Fried yellow noodles)
- IndoMie Mi Goreng
- Mamak Rojak
- Sup Kambing (Goat soup)
- Sup Ayam (Chicken Soup)
- Sup Tulang
- Roti Tissue
- Roti Bakar
- Roti Boom
- Roti Naan & Tandoori Chicken
Malay Tomyam stall 
Recently, in order to attract more customers, some Mamak restaurants have added an extra stall in their restaurant. The stall, which is operated individually by either an ethnic Malay from the North East Peninsular Malaysia or an ethnic Malay from Southern Thailand, is known as Malay Tom yam stall. Customers therefore have more choice, such as:
- Tom Yam
- Nasi paprik
- Nasi Goreng Kampung (Village fried rice)
- Nasi Goreng Cina (Chinese fried rice)
- Nasi Goreng USA (USA fried rice)
- Nasi Masak Merah (Cooked red rice)
- Nasi pattaya (Pattaya style fried rice)
- Telur Bistik
- Sayur Campur ('Mixed' vegetables)
- Ikan Pedas (Spicy fish)
- Nasi LaLa (clam rice)
Tom Yam stalls can also be found by the street or at designated areas such as car parks at night. These stalls tend to be popular. Many tom yam stalls are built illegally, usually on land reserved for public roads. Attempts to remove these illegal stalls have been fairly successful but such attempts can have a political price. One local politician who was a town councilor was put to shame when illegal traders whose stalls were demolished made known to the public that the politician's son himself was running a nearby stall built illegally on public road reserve land. His stall had been spared while others were demolished.
The tomyam stalls first appeared in Peninsular Malaysia circa late 1970s and early 1980s. Unlike local Malay food, the food is basically Thai based and somewhat similar to the cuisine in the state of Kelantan. The Tom Yam dishes have a mix of typically sweet, hot and sour flavours. Basically the choice of dishes available at Tom Yam stalls are similar. As the dishes are cooked immediately upon the customer's order, Tom Yam stalls are the Malay equivalent of fastfood outlets albeit with Thai based cuisine.
See also 
- THE ANCIENT IRON SMELTING IN SG. BATU, BUJANG VALLEY, KEDAH
- EurASEAA Dublin 2012, 14th International Conference
- Arokiaswamy, Celine W.M. (2000). Tamil Influences in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Manila s.n. pp. 37, 38, 41, 43, 45–49, 51–57.
- Malaysian Food
- Ma2k ComciComca
- The 'Mamak Stall' Culture
- Mamak-ing, A Malaysian word for tourists to get acquainted to