Lately, independent mixed rice specialty outlets have become increasingly popular in the Klang Valley, a region comprising Kuala Lumpur and its suburbs, and adjoining cities and towns in the state of Selangor. Instead of sharing the space with other hawker stalls, the shop has only one stall serving exclusively mixed rice. The bigger space means the operator is able to offer more dish varieties. To attract more customers, soup and Chinese tea are usually free.
In Jalan Wawasan or Wawasan Road in the Bandar Baru Ampang area in Selangor, two new independent mixed rice specialty outlets have appeared, adding more competition to the three established mixed rice stalls in hawker centers. The hawker center is a format where the owner sells drinks and leases the stalls to other hawkers in the morning and afternoon to sell food such as noodles and rice dishes. At night, some of the outlets are turned into restaurants.
What would the future look like for independent mixed rice outlets?
There is a possibility of upgrading these family-run outlets into modern chain stores similar to the Chinese-style fast food chains in China. The key triggers for the change will be rising expectation on food hygiene, quality and comfort but at the moment, Malaysian consumers still focus on value.