KUALA PERLIS: Given the rising prices of raw materials such as fish, poultry, meat and vegetables there are still traders here who sell food for as low as between RM2 and RM10.

So it is no surprise that ‘Kedai Aiskrim Kak Esah Behor Mali’ has been getting customers from near and far including Perak, Johor, Melaka and Singapore who come here to enjoy her special southern Thai cuisine.

At a glance the eatery run by Ismahasah Mutalib or fondly known as Kak Esah located in front of a village house looks like any regular eatery.

However, it provides a unique experience much like a five-star hotel, offering a variety of Hatyai-style dishes and western cuisine at a low price.

Ismahasah said although food prices in the area were lower compared to other restaurants, she injected some creativity in the food plating, much like those served in a five-star hotel.

“I find it satisfying to be able to serve not only delicious but beautiful looking food. I learned the styles of plating from YouTube,” she told Bernama recently.

Ismahasah, 38, (left) and her assistant Noor Azielah Zulkifli, 26, show the Nasi Daging Bakar Hatyai sold at RM7 and Chicken Chop priced RM5 at her village stall. Photo: Bernama

She said that despite selling food for as low as RM2, she still made a profit as she does not have to pay rent.

“What’s the point of charging high prices if you don’t get repeat customers?” she said as she grated cheese to decorate ice cream, one of the hot menus at her eatery.

Ismahasah said she realised most locals were very fond of Thai cuisine from her previous experience of having worked as a waitress at a Thai restaurant.

Always eager to learn new recipes, Ismahasah acquired tips on preparing Thai famous dishes such as Dannok grilled meat from YouTube and refined it to her own taste.

Looking back she said the business started with a RM100 capital in 2009. With her husband’s assistance they operated from home as they were raising small children.

“It is easier to operate from home. The village surrounding with river and padi fields are plus points,” she said.

Some of the dishes include ‘kerabu maggi’, chicken feet, Thai kueyteow soup, and western dishes, chicken chop and meatball for as low as RM5.

Also in the menu are mouth-watering boba green tea and desserts such as mango yogurt ice cream, kiwi, strawberries and more.

Regular customer, Zurina Ahmad, 32 from Bintong has nothing but praise for Kak Esah. “Her food is delicious and cheap. Where can you find ‘Dannok’ grilled meat for RM5 a plate? – Bernama