“Curry Mee” Ah Mas Pose With Tribute Art Mural; 5 Other New Murals Also Unveiled In Air Itam

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Curry mee sisters pose with their tribute art mural

Air Itam is well-known as the home of Kek Lok Si Temple and Penang Hill. But hidden out here as well is a plethora of street eats that have been around for more than a decade, including a 70-year-old curry mee stall called Air Itam Sister Curry Mee operated by 2 sisters from Thailand. 

In efforts to attract tourists and commemorate the suburb’s heritage and food stalls, 6 new art murals can now be found on the streets of Air Itam, including an art mural featuring the sisters. A wholesome photo shared by their granddaughter on Facebook showed the pair – now in their 80s and retired – posing with their tribute art mural. 

Mural to celebrate local heritage in Air Itam

The Lim sisters, Kooi Lye and Khooi Heang, have been operating their curry mee store since its opening over 70 years ago. They have since retired and passed their business to their grandkids after the store went on hiatus for a year due to the pandemic. Fortunately, the store has since been reopened. The business is also being immortalised as a street art mural in Air Itam.

A photo shared by their granddaughter, Ong May May, to her Facebook page showed the pair posing in front of the tribute mural to them and their business called “The Taste of Nostalgia – Curry Mee (Noodle) Ah Ma”. The wholesome photo has since gone viral with over 3,000 shares at the time of writing.

6 new art murals in Air Itam - Curry mee sisters
Image credit: Ong May May 

The artist behind the heart-warming mural, Leonard Siaw from Sarawak, shared on Facebook that it was an honour to “capture this pair of sisters with colours and strokes” and their story – which he cited as a “one of the best living heritage example in Pulau Penang”.

The results of his efforts show an impressive mural of the 2 friendly ah mas smiling and sitting behind a brewing pot of curry. Equipments used to whip up their hearty bowls of curry mee, which have stuck around since the stall’s early days, are not left out of the mural too.

6 new art murals in Air Itam - mural
Image credit: Leonard Siaw 萧艺

According to Siaw, the sisters are known to locals as the “Siam sisters” as they were originally from Thailand, then called Siam. They took over running their mother’s curry mee store after helping out with the business when they were young, and have been operating the stall before they retired. The shop was set up after their father passed away, and was a way for the family to make a living in the aftermath of World War II.

The mural can found on the side of a building next to Air Itam police station.

6 new art murals done by local artists in Ayer Itam

This wholesome street art mural is joined by 5 other new art murals meant to highlight Air Itam’s landmarks and culture, and colour the streets. The whole project, called “Mapping Air Itam Project”, was launched by Air Itam State Assemblyman, Joseph Ng, and completed in the span of 2 weeks. 

Efforts to capture the town in murals was carried out by local artists hailing from across Malaysia, including Penang’s own talents as well as artists from Melaka, Sarawak and Sabah, as reported by Buletin Mutiara.

6 new art murals in Air Itam - mural
Image credit: Tan Chor Whye

Generation to Generation“, for starters, by Melakan artist, Amir Andhar, is the largest mural in the project. It depicts people of different ages that make up the town’s population, while also giving a shoutout to town’s zipcode.

6 new art murals in Air Itam - mural“Generation to Generation”
Image credit: Tan Chor Whye

Another well-known food stall in Air Itam is also featured as a street art mural – “Susu Tarik“, which is operated by Kathirvelu Seenivasan, who has been serving up drinks for over 30 years to loyal patrons.

The art mural, which shows him pouring teh tarik, is conveniently located just next to his stall.

6 new art murals in Air Itam - mural
Image credit: Persatuan Kesejahteraan Masyarakat India Kinta Perak

Laksa food stalls in Air Itam are also given a shoutout in a mural titled “Laksa“. There are 2 stalls here well-known for serving this fragrant noodle dish, including one that has been around since 1955. The mural was completed by 22-year-old artist, Dana Ng, and shows a colourful explosion of ingredients known to go into a bowl of laksa – part of the town’s food heritage.

6 new art murals in Air Itam - laksa
Image credit: Tan Chor Whye

Another one by Dana, called “Trendiness“, is a pop-culture filled one, with Goku from Dragon Ball and Pikachu featured in the fun, colourful mural. Those familiar with George Town’s street art murals will see a mural with similar style here, in “Kites Got Stuck“. This piece is nostalgic, as it shows several kids playing with kites – a popular childhood memory of many who grew up in Air Itam in the past couple of decades.

6 new art murals in Air Itam - kite
Image credit: @willcwk

New art murals in Air Itam pay homage to local culture and food stalls

Street art murals colour our streets and add a photo spot to our lists of places to check out while we’re making day trips out to states beyond our own. But as shown with these 6 new art murals in Air Itam, they also immortalise a piece of local culture and pay homage to businesses that have been around for decades that have become part of the heritage of towns.

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Cover image adapted from: Ong May May and Tan Chor Whye

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