Famed asam laksa stall in Penang closes after 66 years due to MCO & mounting debts

The 66-year-old Laksa stall was ranked 7th in "The world's 50 best foods" by CNN Travel.

Alfie Kwa | May 20, 2021, 01:18 PM

The 66-year-old assam laksa stall, Air Itam Market Laksa, in Penang suspended their operations on May 18 in the midst of the pandemic and Malaysia third movement control orders (MCO).

Their assam laksa was ranked 7th in "The world's 50 best foods" by CNN Travel, the dish was described as "an addictive spicy-sour fish broth with noodles, especially great when fused with ginger.".

On May 17, the stall announced that they will be closing after Tuesday.

On their last day, there were long queues as customers lined up for a last taste of the delicious laksa.

Long queues at store on May 18. Image via Ng Cheng Kok Facebook.

Why are they closing?

The Covid-19 pandemic has not been easy for many food stalls.

With the MCO 3.0 in place, the owner, Ang Kak Seong, is uncertain about their stall's sustainability.

So, they announced on Facebook that they will be taking a break until further notice.
Other than the MCO, the owner's son also reportedly accrued a substantial amount of debt.

Messages sent by debt collectors. Image via 太陽's Facebook.

A Facebook user said in a post that the stall owner's son defaulted on multiple loans which led to debt collectors harassing his family at their laksa stall on several occasions.

According to Malaysian media, Ang has said that he does not know when he "may be able" to open again. He also said that his shop is now closed indefinitely.

On their last day, the store owner thanked customers for their years of support.

Image via Penang Air Itam Laksa's Facebook.