IPOH: The apple didn’t fall far from the tree, and it germinated and became Nellis Deli, the only Malay-owned cafe in Ipoh’s Old Town.
Nellis Deli is owned by the three daughters of a local favourite mee rebus hawker, Rahmah Ahmad, better known as Kak Asmah.
After her husband retired from the civil service in 1995, Rahmah helped support her three daughters through college by selling local comfort foods, including nasi lemak and her famous mee rebus, from a stall inside a Chinese restaurant in Old Town.
Orizanelli Ahmad Hatta and her sisters, Ardinanelli and Fariananelli, studied in Kuala Lumpur for their degrees. After graduation, they all worked as bank officers and told their mother to stop working.
However, some time afterwards, they got together and decided to start their own cafe business.
The cafe opened in Jalan Raja Ekram. “After two years,” said Orizanelli, “we moved to Green Town, then later to Sunway City before coming here at Kong Heng Square, Old Town, in October 2015.”
Nellis Deli is a novelty for being the only cafe owned by Malays in a largely Chinese area.
Orizanelli said friends of hers offered the location because they wanted someone to sell Malay food in the area.
“They knew about us because we opened a stall at their flea market in this area. They said they loved our food and wanted to offer this place to us.”
Nellis Deli kicked off right away, attracting many of the customers who were regulars at Kak Asmah’s stall.
“The people knew we were her daughters because we spent a lot of our time here during weekends and semester breaks helping her out,” said Ardinanelli.
Nellis Deli is most famous for its local Malay dishes, but it also serves western food and desserts.