THE stall offering “Ayam Golek Gelek Mamma Mia” oven-grilled chicken is open only once a year at the Section 13 Ramadan bazaar, prompting long queues every day.

It is so popular that stall operator Pairin Wagiman, who took several years to perfect the marinade recipe, which incorporates up to 19 ingredients, sells as many as 350 chickens a day.

One can wait up to 45 minutes for one chicken, with each selling at RM18, or RM9 for half a chicken. Customers are given a small packet of homemade sweet-and-sour sauce.

Pairin said he started experimenting with various ingredients for the dish after closing his satay and ice cream business in the 1980s due to the recession.

The father of seven then started observing how other sellers prepared their recipes before coming up with his own.

“My first marinade recipe did not do well. But things got better when I added on other ingredients. And now, it is a hit among customers.

“I am grateful to see many customers every day during Ramadan. When I first started, I used to have only one oven that could grill 60 ayam golek at a time. Many would go home disappointed as I could not cope with their orders.

“But I got another oven last year, and I can cater to more customers. Many seize the chance to buy during the fasting month because I do not have a shop, and I only take bulk orders for the rest of the year,” said Pairin at his stall yesterday.

He said he marinated the chicken every day after sahur at his home in Padang Jawa.

By 3pm, he starts grilling the chicken for an hour and a half, with the help of a relative.

“Most say the price is affordable and that it is tasty. That warms my heart. I want to keep the price as reasonable as possible; I want everyone to taste my ayam golek.”

Erwi Syafina Mohamad Idris, 22, said it had become a tradition for her family to buy the ayam golek during Ramadan.

“It is a must-have for my family for breaking fast. I buy it twice a week. It is good on its own, and even better when dipped in the sweet-and-sour sauce.

“The long queue here every day during Ramadan tells you how tasty it is and why it’s worth the wait,” said the boutique sales assistant.