Malay stall a hit at Nine Emperor festival
Devotees excited to see new vendors outside temple
BUTTERWORTH: Devotees patronising the food stalls outside the Guan Yin Ting Dou Mu Gong temple in Medan Melur Selatan off Jalan Raja Uda here were excited to see a Malay couple selling vegetarian food in conjunction with the Nine Emperor Gods festival.
Siti Noraqila Zulkifli, 28, and her husband Mohamad Noor Ahmad, 36, from Karangan, Kedah, have been selling vegetarian food since the first day of the festival on Tuesday.
Siti Noraqila said she was influenced by her friend, Agnes Lee, 33, whose husband was the chief tenant of all the stalls selling vegetarian food in that area.
“We closed our satay stall in Karangan for 10 days to come here to sell vegetarian food.
“I like vegetarian food as it’s healthier,” she said.
“My husband has also been very supportive after I told him about my idea to come here during this period.”
Among the food that the couple sell are vegetarian satay, ikan bakar and nasi goreng.
Siti Noraqila said business was quite good as she could sell around 1,500 sticks of satay per day.
“If the business continues to be good, we may come back again next year,” she said.
Self-employed Loo Chee Sin, 53, from Jalan Raja Uda, bought some of the satay after learning about it from social media.
“I was curious as I have never tried vegetarian satay, so I gave it a try today,” he said.
Jessie Lee, 40, also brought her son, Lo Jia Hong, 11, to sample the vegetarian satay for the first time.
“It is so delicious. I feel like eating and eating,” said Lo.
The Nine Emperor Gods Festival, also known as Kew Ong Yeah Festival, started on Oct 9, the first day of the ninth lunar month.
On the first nine days of the month, devotees observe a strict vegetarian diet and refrain from vice until the festival is over.
The festival, observed by Taoists, is dedicated to the nine sons of Tou Mu, the Goddess of the North Star, who is believed to control the Books of Life and Death.
Her sons, deified as ren huang (human sovereigns), are said to have the ability to cure illnesses and bless devotees with luck, wealth and longevity.
Devotees believe the gods came through the waterway and processions are usually held from temples to the river or seashore as a symbolic gesture.
Meatless novelties: Siti Noraqila (blue headscarf) with Mohamad Noor preparing their vegetarian satay and ikan bakar at their stall at Guan Yin Ting Dou Mu Gong Temple in Butterworth, Penang.