The Lady Who Runs Marhaba Murtabak Restaurant
by Safiah Alias Jan 04, 2017
Marhaba Murtabak Restaurant has been referred to as many things. The shop with the man who reads the Quran, the shop with the dumb and deaf man selling sup kambing. Marhaba Restaurant, known for its murtabak, nasi briyani, nasi ayam penyet, and Thai casual food has been open for 24 years at No. 52 Changi Road.
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The man who used to read the Quran here was my late father-in-law.
Marhaba has always been run by men, until Asiah Ismail, 49, took over running of the shop after giving birth to her third child. Her husband Muhammad Faroq and her brother-in-law, Muhammad Yasin, took over managing the business from their father-in-law after they decided that the father should retire. Today, her husband and brother-in-law still manages the restaurant, while she does the day-to-day running.
The woman who now runs the restaurant.
"Ladies can manage a restaurant better compared to a man!," she chuckles. When asked why she thought so she says that the place is cleaner. Although she is quite firm with them especially when it comes to cleanliness of the restaurant and customer service, the workers feel close to her. "It's funny sometimes, I'm like a counsellor. They tell me about their families. Sometimes they tell me they have a girlfriend or a boyfriend, and want to get married. Some of them have a parent who ave already passed away and that parent now wants to get married!" says Asiah who asks her workers to clean up as soon as they spot something dirty or messy. Definitely some pointers for anyone who comes to work here, or even wanting to open and run their own food joint!
The Youth are...
"Very creative and adventurous! I'm an old timer and my son is always asking me to change things. This decal here is his idea!" says Mdm Asiah. Her son, Siddiq Yasin, is always very interested in taking over the business, and even asking her about opening another branch.
"It's not easy. I run this and I tell him this is not easy to open another branch. He tells me that we can make more money with another branch, but I tell him, you will have to spend weekends and holidays here at this restaurant. Just like me, I hardly saw my children when they were growing up. Then he told that all other professions have similar level of commitments too."
What's special about the food here
In the daytime for lunch, there is Indian food- Nasi Briyani and Nasi Padang.
Starting at 4.30pm, they offer only Thai seafood like Thai-styled Fried Rice and Mee Upeh.
They have Murtabak and Prata all day long- 24 Hours!
Their murtabak is one of the most value for money in Singapore- Big in size and rich, with a lot of minced meat and egg. They used to have sup kambing cooked by a deaf and dumb man which many customers knew. However, he passed away in Ramadan and they are trying to improve the recipe before introducing it to customers again.
Marhaba Murtabak Restaurant is listed on halalfoodhunt.com.
for their most updated opening hours and address.
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