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Huh? ONLY 27,222,606 folks? You forget many of us immigrated to other lands :) !

Living outside of Malaysia, I find it frustrating that Malaysia is constantly overlooked, expecially eating, except perhaps the Petronas twin Towers?). Everything that are nice seems to go to Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore.

I attribute to the faults of the Malaysian government of not doing enough promotion of All things Malaysia the past 50 years!

Therefore I find your blog such a useful mouth piece for Malaysia. There are many food blogs on Malaysian food, but most of them owned by Malaysian. Your blog gives an 'outsider' perspectives.


Sorry about that Cindy. I just don't know how many of you are out there!

Yes, put it down to marketing. Singapore may not own kaya-grilled bread and teh tarik, but Malaysia's tourism department could certainly learn a thing or two from Singapore's tourism board when it comes to marketing local culinary specialties.

Lyrical Lemongrass

I guess we can't depend on the Malaysian tourism board to promote Malaysia's best asset. I'm glad there are so many Malaysian food blogs...maybe some day (vision 2020 or beyond?), people will believe us when we say that the most quintessential kaya laden bread can be found in the backalleys of Malaysia.

Having said that, it's a free market. If no one's claimed it, why not Spore?? :-P


Ha ha


There are a lot of Malaysian food are tagged as Singaporean food. I am frustrated that why the credits somehow have gone to other countries.
Anyway, I will do my best to promote Malaysian food through my blog too.


LL - anyone can claim anything they like, of course, but it's a ludicrous thing for a magazine to print. I mean, I'm not Malaysian so I don't take personal offense, but the statement is just factually wrong. Sort of as if Flavours ran an article saying 'nowhere else in the world but Malaysia can you find poached chicken served with broth-scented rice, cucumbers, and a spicy dipping sauce', or if a Belgian magazine claimed 'nowhere else but in Belgium can you find potatoes cut into sticks and deep-fried'. It doesn't say much for the quality of F&T's writing and/or editing.

Lemongrass - yes, I just learned today in the New Yorker that asam laksa and nasi lemak are Singaporean dishes. ;-0


I get your point, but honestly, do Malaysians really want to be associated with this dish? I've always been surprised at, despite having so many wonderful foods, the Singaporeans seem to have an illogical reverence for this mediocre (at best) breakfast. Obviously it's a matter of taste, but really, crap coffee, runny eggs and cheap white bread toast with heaps of margarine? Might as well let them claim it!

Big Boys Oven

hmmm I saw this ad.... is that singapore...hmmm I think is more malaysian.


You are right, Huh???
Although I don't live in Malaysia right now, I distinctly remember that the kopi tiam close to where I lived, served kaya "kong mien bao" to everyone.
And runny eggs with soy sauce too...
And that's not in Singapore.
Nothing against Singapore because I lived there for many many years too, I absolutely love Singapore, many precious memories there, but I think sometime, very very few Singaporean still think Singapore is the centre of universe, and so we get people making unfounded statement like that.
Well somebody should tell that poor guy/gal to get his/her fact right.


Austin - I don't know what unfortunate version(s) of this meal you've been subjected to, but if properly done it consists of grilled (not toasted - over charcoal or wood, preferably)bread, rich and coconuty housemade kaya, butter (not margarine!) served with super fresh kampung ('village' - free-range) eggs. I myself prefer a firmer yolk but that's me.

Teh tarik is fine but for breakfast I prefer coffee, and at the right place it will be thick, highly aromatic, and so strong that a slug of sweetened condensed milk barely makes a dent in its pitch-black color. (Starbucks fans, don't bother.)

There are plenty of great versions in Malaysia and I'm betting there's one or two (OK Singaporeans, let me have it) in Singapore. I can't imagine not liking a properly made toast-kaya-eggs breakfast. I don't want it everyday, but it's special in its own way, if done right.


BBO - I think both Singapore AND Malaysia can claim this breakfast ensemble. Seeing as the two countries were once joined, pre- and post-independence it's a bit strange for a Singapore magazine to claim ownership of a dish so obviously common to both.

Reny - yes, my point. It's a silly claim to make.


Good God that almost gave me an aneurysm. Then again, when a Singapore week was sponsored in NY recently, there was yet again similar claims all around for Nasi Lemak, Laksa, Char Kuey Teow, etc. etc.

Robyn -- your blog's done more for Malaysian food than any of the darned Malaysian boards. Keep up the wonderfully alluring and informative work!


Bleu - to avoid another near-aneurysm I suggest you NOT pick up the current issue of the New Yorker (the Food Issue). It features an ode to Singapore street food, the 'best in Asia', starts with your cited Singapore food festival in New York, and seems to infer that Peranakans and their food are exclusive to the nation-state. I love everything the writer (Calvin Trillin) has ever done, but ...


Just in case, I hope I never get to read or hear that Hainan Chicken Rice as being one of Singapore distinct dishes, and that the best can be found in Singapore.


Robyn: I've had a few times, but most recently was taken, courtesy of the Singapore Tourism Board, to Ya Kun Kaya Toast, ironically on the same day that a Singaporean newspaper voted this chain as one of the best in town. We must have missed the kaya, but had the "Butter Sugar Toast Set" with the aforementioned eggs and gritty coffee. Never again. Surely this is a food that people are fond of due to tradition, rather than taste?


Reny - it's already happened!

Austin - 2 words/phrases in your last comment say 'beware' to me. One, 'Singapore Tourism Board'. You're a foreigner and they'll take you to the place that presents the best squeaky-clean 'image'. I'm quite sure the Malaysia Tourism Board wouldn't direct me to our beloved Hainanese coffee shop Yut Kee, where they boil kaya for 10 hours in the kitchen in a coverted oil can and serve the most delicious, non-gritty coffee.

Second, 'chain'. Need I say more?

Oh, and 'voted best in town'? When we were living in Bangkok Starbucks was voted 'best coffee in Bangkok' in one of the local mags.

I think you need to find a (preferably older) Singaporean die-hard fan to direct you to the right place.

There's more going on than just a commitment to tradition here. Then again, maybe Singapore versions can't hold a candle to Malaysian....


Oh well, I did the google thing and sure enough, several references to Hainanese Chicken Rice and Singapore.
The reason I wrote that in my previous comment was because my mom is Hainanese, and she made one mean Chicken Rice, and even all my dad's friends from Singapore said that my mom's Chicken Rice was the best they have tasted.
I just think that making such claim like Uniquely Singapore is irresponsible.


Well, this brings up a most pertinent question: could wood-fire grills and kampung eggs and ten hour kayas still be found in Singapore? Didn't Singapore sign away their birthright with their blood decades ago when it met the devil at the crossroads at midnight?

Frankly, I was also quite embarassed at Calvin Trillin's defense of (Singapore) government-sponsored and government-approved hawker stands in the New Yorker food issue. If he only knew what he's missing out on...


RST - good point. But I think Austin has staunchly defended Singapore's hygiene offensive in other venues, and might not be into food that is prepared in old-style surroundings.

I'm with you on the Trillin article, BTW. I love everything he's ever written, but when it appeared he would be escorted around Sing hawker centers by Seetoh ... yawn. Hasn't that already been done by other writers, like 50 times? RW Apple wrote it a couple years ago.


OK. Maybe I was baiting there. Maybe I made too broad (and too inflammatory) a generalization about food in Singapore. Sorry if this line of thought displeases anyone. But it is important to ask these questions and make these distinctions. Maybe I am wrong: maybe there is 10 hour kaya somewhere in Singapore. If so, I would like to know where to find it.



RST - there are plenty of pple who would argue that there is no diff betw Singapore's food courts and KL's hawker stalls. I'd disagree. Many Singaporeans come to KL to eat on the wknd. Heck, even Chubby Hubby has said that KL has better street food than Singapore (that said, KL can't hold a candle to its southern neighbor when it comes to finer dining).

But this was never about who has the better street food anyway. It was about the silliness of a claim that toast, kaya, teh tarik, and soft-boiled eggs are 'unique' to Singapore.


I just read the article, and this Singaporean has to agree with all that has been said here :) . Of course, I'm glad that Singapore got all that publicity, and Calvin Trillin is always a fun read, but I'd eat in Malaysia over Singapore anytime. And I do, every time I go back to visit the in-laws.

Now I'm homesick, sitting in a small Midwestern city with a bunch of Trader Joe pizzas in the freezer.

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