"It Originated From Klang" — MPs Debate If Bak Kut Teh Is A Traditional Dish In Parliament
Yesterday, 7 June, Tebrau member of parliament (MP) Jimmy Puah Wee Tse questioned the government's efforts in defending Malaysian traditional dishes, such as bak kut teh, from being claimed by other countries
According to a video recording of the debate, Puah explained that he watched a documentary on Singapore news platform CNA, which questioned the origins of bak kut teh, a pork bone broth.
"We all know that the dish originated from Klang, Selangor but the documentary gave the impression that bak kut teh originated from one of our neighbouring countries," he told the Dewan Rakyat.
In response, Langkawi MP Datuk Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah questioned if bak kut teh is even considered a Malaysian traditional dish
"It is not listed as one of Malaysia's 10 most popular traditional foods, nor is it listed as one of the 30 traditional foods of various ethnicities in Malaysia," he argued.
Deputy Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan, who is also the Batu Sapi MP, agreed with the Langkawi MP, and said that the key criteria for a dish to be considered as a traditional food is that all races in the country should be able to savour it.
"Therefore, I somewhat agree with Langkawi. If the meat in bak kut teh can be substituted with chicken then there shouldn't be a problem," he added.
Netizens were not impressed by the exchange and questioned whether this is a trivial matter to be discussed in the parliament
Meanwhile, some were surprised that the MPs were not aware of chi kut teh, which is the same dish prepared with chicken meat
Last year, Malaysian actor Henry Golding said Klang's bak kut teh is his favourite "cultural diplomacy food":