Malaysian or Singaporean food?

There were some news articles and online debate about which food originated from Malaysia or Singapore. When I first came across these articles on The Star, I thought it was a really silly debate and also wonder why have our newspapers gotten so boring to talk about topics like these.

It all started when I read this article on The Star >> Netizens argue over origin of dishes after M’sia plans to stake claim where dishes such as Laksa, nasi lemak, Hainanese chicken rice, chilli crab and ‘bak kut teh’ were dishes that were being fought over.

Then, I came across another article to claim that Nasi Kandar is indeed a Malaysian dish >> Penang : Nasi kandar a Malaysian original where Malaysia’s National Heritage website listed 100 dishes that were indeed Malaysian.

It is not that I want to participate in this debate because I think this is never ending. Also, some online arguements are simply out of whack. No one is arguing about who makes the best of these dishes, we’re merely talking about where it originated from (hint hint Singaporeans).

However, I feel that in order to stake our claim on these dishes on this list of 100 food, we need to be specific. Like instead of saying satay is ours, let’s just say ‘Kajang Satay” is ours. Instead of saying “Char Kuey Teow’ is ours, say ‘Penang Char Kuey Teow’ is ours. Same goes to ‘Ampang Yong Tau Foo’, ‘Klang Chilli Crab’, ‘Laksa Johor’. Because I seriously doubt some of these items listed are ours, such as Ikan Bakar (Grill fish is quite a normal dish, no?), Ayam Panggang (Err… Kenny Rogers wanna step in here?), Air Kepala (hello, since when we own Coconut Juice?), Agar agar (now, that’s just saying we invented jelly) and many more.

I do understand how our beloved neighbours can get overly upset about some of these items in the list. Again, I’m not instigating the debate.

I feel that instead of debating the origin of these dishes, why don’t we embrace wherever the heritage of these dishes are and just rename the list to “Top 100 favourite Malaysian food”? In this case, we can start to add some other interesting items such as Maggi Mee, junk foods (Din Dang, 20 sen sweets, etc). *sigh* Now I’m reminiscing my childhood foods…

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