Published on Friday, September 18, 2009

Now Malaysia wants a food fight


KUALA LUMPUR - Laksa, nasi lemak, Hainanese chicken rice and chilli crab are all Malaysian dishes, Malaysia’s tourism minister, Dr Ng Yen Yen, has declared.

In a report in the Malaysian Insider Dr Ng accused other countries of “hijacking” local dishes such as laksa and nasi lemak, and said it was high time that Malaysia claimed them as Malaysian.

“We cannot continue to let other countries hijack our food,” she said, without naming the countries, although her ire is almost certainly aimed at Singapore and Indonesia.

“Chilli crab is Malaysian. Hainanese chicken rice is Malaysian. We have to lay claim to our food,” the minister said after she launched the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival.

Dr Ng said that her ministry was identifying the popular dishes, which are also available in neighbouring countries, and would declare them as Malaysian in the next three months.

The tourism minister's announcement came as Malaysia and Indonesia were working hard to resolve a dispute alleging that Malaysia “stole” Indonesian culture such as batik and claimed it as its own.


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  • Globalization of food & culture is to blame

    Hainan chicken rice is Malaysian and Singaporean because Singapore was part of Malaysia before. Hainanese people in Malaysia are famous for their cooking and many of them operate restaurants and hotels. Hainan chicken rice is also a common hawker's food in Thailand called Kao Mun Kai. Chili crab as well and it is called Pu Pat Pong Curry. I have had the best chilly crab in Chula Soi 19 Bangkok since mid-70s. To be fair, both chicken and crab are they are differently prepared and do not have similar taste.

    By Jaffee Yee, Monday, September 21, 2009

  • Hainanese Chicken

    I don't understand with Malaysia, Hainanese Chicken Rice is not Indonesian food (Sorry to say that, I think Indonesian people would not fight for that), but i think it's more Chinese Food. From the name.. Hainanese it's from Hainan People. So, no need Malaysia try to claim as it own.. Malaysia, please try to look for Malaysian Own Food/Culture to declare it. Or they don't have? because Malaysia culture really mixed from everywhere

    By Yolanda Octavia, Friday, September 18, 2009

  • Chinese chickens are Malaysian?

    Er, the clue is in the name: Hainanese. Hainan is the island between China and Vietnam. Wasn't part of Malaysia last time I looked.

    By Alasdair Forbes, Friday, September 18, 2009

  • Again?

    Hainanese Chicken Rice is not Indonesian Food. Sorry to say that. We are Indonesian know that it's from Chinese province. The name is Hainan is from China.

    By Yolanda Octavia, Friday, September 18, 2009

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