GEORGE TOWN: Famous as a “must-have” for visitors and tourists heading to the Kek Lok Si Temple, the laksa stall at the foothill of the temple used to sell 500 bowls daily and see long queues of people eager for a taste.
Nowadays, however, the decades-old Ayer Itam laksa stall is selling only about 10 packets a day.
A “foodie” attraction that began in 1955, its business was so bad that the stall owners even had to give away extra packets for free because there were just not enough customers.
Business partner Ang Kar Oon, 43, said trade was terribly affected as motorists could not enter Jalan Pasar, which was closed during the MCO period.
“Business dropped by at least 80% after the MCO was announced. It was already slow before the Covid-19 outbreak.
“When the MCO was first announced and Jalan Pasar was not closed, we still could sell around 100 bowls.
“After Jalan Pasar was closed, we shut our stall and took a break. Later, to boost business, we provided delivery and self pick-up services from our home.
“We started delivering to customers on April 11 and business picked up a little for a week before it went down again.
“For those who prefer self pick-up and when they buy five packets, we will give them one extra for free, ” she said at her house in Ayer Itam.
“As our business is affected, we had been unable to pay salaries to our employees, ” she added.
Ang, who is the third generation involved in the business, said although they would be moving back to the stall next to the Ayer Itam market, they would prefer to let their customers do take-aways instead of dining in.
“We will see how the situation goes before deciding what to do to ensure customer safety.”
“The secret recipe was created by my grandmother and we modified the taste from time to time to suit people’s taste buds.
“Before we begin business every day, we will taste the broth to ensure its quality, ” she said.
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