Offering free food with love

Ismat Abdul Rauf and wife Azrina Abdul Rahman

In a world full of hate and negativity, it is nice to come across stories which warm the cockles of your heart.

One such tale of kindness is of Ismat Abdul Rauf and wife Azrina Abdul Rahman, who run a small stall selling roti canai, naan and chapati at the Sri Aman Food Centre in Bukit Jelutong.

What makes them stand out is a message they have put up at their stall in English and Bahasa Malaysia which reads “Free food for those in hardship.”

Sign at stall
The sign that welcomes those who can’t afford a meal.

“It doesn’t hurt to be kind,” Ismat, dressed casually in a blue chequered shirt and khaki pants, said with a smile.

“We are happy to do what we can for the less fortunate. We are just grateful to have our own business and see this as a way to give back to society.”

Azrina, a practising lawyer, said the effort is their way of making a difference.

“There is so much hate in the world, especially on social media. Every time I’m on it, I see hateful REMARKS and people criticising each other over petty issues. No one is communicating. All they do is shout, shout, shout.”

“So we are trying to do a little bit to make the world a kinder place. We are not judgmental and we do not turn people down if they say they cannot afford a meal,” Azrina said.

Ismat and Azrina started their food business less than a month ago. It is so new that they have yet to decide on a name for the stall!

“We had a partner earlier but we have since taken over his share,” explained Azrina.

“We have toyed with a few names but will most likely opt for Ismat Ulam Raja.

“It is a funny name, considering our speciality is cheese naan! We have received a lot of feedback saying it is tasty. That could be because we use mozzarella cheese and don’t stinge on the amount.

“I’m actually a foodie and that is why I value good food. I also like to cook and collect recipes. This is a way of combining my passion.”

Ismat laughed at his wife’s comments and joked: “Actually, she forced me to do this business!

“However, I don’t have any regrets.”

A steward for Malaysia Airlines for more than 15 years before trying his hand in trading, the Kuantan-born Ismat said they have five workers helping out at the stall.

“We open from 7.30am till 10.30pm, seven days a week and it can be quite tiring, so we need many workers as my wife still has a full time job,” said Ismat.

“This is just a start for us. Hopefully, our business takes off and we can do more for those suffering hardship,” he added.