Friday, 23 November 2007

Ali's Ramshackle Stall

My family came back from Kuala Lumpur for a short stay in Batu Pahat, and of course, the lure of BP food was so strong that the first thing on their minds would be to savour all the food that they like so much. Ali's nasi lemak stall is one of them. He used to run the stall at a side lane opposite the Carnival Hotel, but he must have received a town council notice to move as it is illegal to set up stalls any where you like. He then rented a shop lot but the rent practically drove him out of business, and accumulating months of unpaid rent, he fled Batu Pahat leaving his wife and children to run the business. Now his wife has set up the stall, again at a side lane, and I am sure it is also illegal.

It is a popular stall among the well-heeled, the office workers as well as the common folks. The offerings are staple Malay dishes, but many would say that his 'sambal' or chili sauce is the best as it has a tangy taste to it, and it is definitely spicy. Those with weak stomachs should avoid it as it causes heartburn like I have every time after eating Ali's nasi lemak. Business is brisk and by 12 noon, everything is sold out. On Sundays, by 10 am you can forget about eating Ali's nasi lemak!

The food is prepared at home and brought in plastic containers and pots to the ramshackle stall. The stall is managed by an assistant and Ali's son who quit school at the age of 14. The wife runs another stall at Taman Soga. Today, the assistant took the day off and Ali's wife has to help out.

Ali's nasi lemak stall wedged between two buildings

A closer look at the stall

The side lane

Ali's wife frying scrambled eggs

The scrambled egg is mixed with 'kicap' or black sauce before it is fried

A friend making beverages

Fried chicken

Curry chicken

Fish fried in chili sauce

Prawns fried in chili sauce

The favourite: dried cuttle fish in chilli sauce

Fried mixed vegetables

"Kuah' or coconut gravy with vegetables

The spicy "sambal" or chili sauce. This is the sauce that pulls the customers back repeatedly

A plate of nasi lemak with vegetables, chili cuttle fish and an egg

Location of the stall

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