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Malaysia tourism minister agrees Penang food best cooked by locals

Publication Date : 03-08-2014


Tourism and culture minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz has come out in support of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s proposal to bar foreigners from being the main cooks of popular local fare.

Nazri said he “totally agreed” with Lim that Penang’s street food should be prepared by locals.

“We can’t have Penang hawker food cooked by foreigners who would not understand the taste.

“People come to Penang for its famous food such as nasi kandar (rice with curry), assam laksa (noodles in spicy and sour broth) and koay teow basah (fried flat noodles).

“We can’t just bank on the branding, it would not be the same,” he said.

Nazri added that locals should be proud of Penang food and encou­raged the younger generation of Malaysians to continue cooking such food to uphold the stan­dard.

A seven-question survey regar­ding Lim’s proposal is being carried out by Penang Municipal Council officers at hawker centres until Aug 31.

The public can also submit their feedback to

Nazri said there was no question of the federal govern­ment not promoting tourism in Penang and assured his mi­­nistry would be working with the state government.

“What Bali is to Indonesia, Penang is to Malaysia. The Pearl of the Orient is the gem, the crown jewel of Malaysian tourism as far as I’m concerned,” said Nazri after he and Lim unveiled two modern benches known as Figure #23 and Figure #25 in Armenian Street here yesterday.

The benches, made from twisted steel poles by Malaysian artist Azman Ismail, were sponsored by the National Visual Arts Gallery as part of the George Town Festival (GTF) 2014 project titled “The Chairs – Secret Gardens of Earthly Delights II” where local and international artists created quirky, unique and appropriate seats as an artistic contribution to urban spaces.

Nazri also said the tourism and culture ministry was confident of achieving its target of attracting 28 million tourists this year despite several misfortunes that befell the nation recently.

“Figures for January to May showed that we are on target, with a 10 per cent to 11 per cent increase in arrivals monthly compared to the same pe­riod last year,” he added.

Nazri said the increase also meant that the country was on track to achieving its target of having 36 million tourist arrivals and 168 billion ringgit (US$52.30 billion) in tourism receipts by 2020.


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