Penang Wants To Ban Foreign Cooks And Chef Wan Thinks It's Ridiculous
"No Foreign Cooks" For 13 Popular Penang Street Foods To Preserve Local Unique Flavour
In the food paradise of Penang, 13 types of street food have been identified as popular local specialities that should be cooked by Malaysians as the state takes its first step towards retaining the unique taste and flavour of its famous cuisine.
They are assam laksa, char koay teow, curry mee, hokkien mee, lor bak (avillion bak), wantan noodles, pasembor, chee cheong fun, mee sotong, char koay kak, oh chien (fried oysters), koay teow th'ng and nasi lemak.
Local Hawkers Who Cooked Their Own Food Are Given A Sticker Of Authenticity
At the launch, 21 local hawkers offering the 13 types of street food and who cooked the food themselves without hiring foreigners to do it, were each issued a special sticker to indicate that the food they served was authentic.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who personally presented the stickers to the hawkers, said it is important for the state to protect its local flavours because Penang's street food is an attraction that draws visitors to the state from around Malaysia and the world.
Although Some Were Apprehensive, Majority Of Penangites Are Supportive Of The Move Including Hawkers
"We have listened to the criticism against the proposal to ban foreigners from being employed as main cooks at hawker stalls selling our street food. We ran a survey and found 87% of the respondents supporting the move. There is nothing discriminatory about it and there are no double standards," he said.
When the proposal was made last year, most people in Penang, even hawkers, were supportive of the move.
The Changes Will Take Place Gradually To Ease The Owners Into The Process
The foreign-cook ban, which starts this year, is only imposed on hawker stalls. The authorities are giving all stall operators a one-year grace period to get used to the idea.
Penang local government committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the authorities would also be implementing the new move step-by-step. He said the stickers would be issued to local hawkers selling the 13 types of food at council-owned hawker centres around the state first.
"The list of popular local street food may also be expanded in future following more surveys to ask the people which street food they think is popular and they enjoy eating," he said.
24 OCT: Penang To Start Implementing "No Foreign Cooks" Ban In 2015
The Penang government has decided to ban foreign cooks for street hawkers, after 86 percent of respondents in its survey supported the proposal. The Penang Municipal Council survey showed that 14 percent of the respondents disagreed with the ban, which proponents say will protect the authencity of Penang food.malaysiakini.com
"According to the survey, 86.02 percent agreed with the Penang Municipal Council withdrawing the licences of hawkers who employ foreign cooks, and only 13.98 percent rejected the idea," Chow told a press conference today. He said a sticker bearing the tagline 'Penang Food is the best' will be given to outlets complying with the policy.malaysiakini.com
Penang has banned foreign workers from working as cooks in hawker food stalls, in an attempt to preserve the state's food heritage, Malaysian media reported. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said roadside hawker stalls that did not comply would have their licenses revoked. The rule will also apply to food court stalls.straitstimes.com
Hawker Stalls Will Be Given A Year To Comply To The Ruling And Reception Has Been Mixed
It will apply to all street hawkers and food outlets in shopping complexes. Restaurants will be exempted from the policy. "The hawkers will be given a one-year transition period to fully comply with the policy. "Foreigners can assist the cook or help with cleaning the shops but the main cooks must be locals," Lim said.malaysiakini.com
Lim said hawkers would be given a year's grace period beginning next year. "The grace period will also give the Penang and Seberang Prai municipal councils time to study and refine the implementation of the new regulation. "The main idea of this is to safeguard Penang's food heritage and maintain the flavours that are unique to Penang," he said at Komtar after an exco meeting today.themalaysianinsider.com
Lim had earlier this year made the proposal that had received mixed reaction from the public. However, most locals, including hawkers, welcomed the idea. He said during his visits to Singapore, citizens of the republic also praised Penang for making such a proposal. "They told me they felt that Singapore should have done the same a long time ago.themalaysianinsider.com
Tourism Minister Nazri Aziz had given a thumbs up to the proposal while others, like Malaysian celebrity chef Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan, described the idea as “ridiculous”.malaysiakini.com
Chef Wan Has Slammed The Penang State Government's Proposal To Ban Foreign Cooks From Hawker Stalls
Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan, said that such a strange ruling would only serve to make Malaysia a laughingstock in the eyes of the world. “We should stop blaming immigrant workers and the stall owners should take the initiative to train their cooks to be better.thestar.com.my
“The owners should be the ones teaching them to cook the right way and using the right recipes. “Wouldn’t it be better to train them properly and supervise them to do a better job?” Chef Wan said when contacted by The Star on Sunday.thestar.com.my
He said that these people could even become food ambassadors of the Malaysian cuisine once they return to their country or work elsewhere. “In all my years of travel, I am so proud to see other nationalities cooking Malaysian food,” Chef Wan added.thestar.com.my
The Penang State Government Is Mulling A Ban On Foreign Cooks In Hawker Stalls To Protect Penang's Food Heritage
The Penang government will implement a ban on foreign cooks in hawker stalls to protect their food heritage. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that hawker licences were only given to the locals but the local council discovered that a few hawkers had employed foreign cooks.thestar.com.my
He said the local council was currently gathering feedback from the public on the matter and that the ban could be implemented as soon as early next year.thestar.com.my
Lim Guan Eng Explained That Penang's Brand As A Food Hub Is Being Threatened As Its Street Food, Being Cooked By Foreigners, Does Not Taste Like It Did Before
He added that the proposal was to preserve Penang’s famous foods, including its branding. “People come to Penang principally for its tasty food. They may go other places for other reasons, but for Penang, we are famous for our brand.malaysiakini.com
“Penangites miss their food when they go to Kuala Lumpur, for example, because the food does not taste like it did before, being cooked by foreigners. Do you want this to happen to Penang?” he queried.malaysiakini.com
Foreigners Are Allowed To Work As Waiters And Kitchen Helpers, But Hawker Stall Owners May Soon Have Their Licenses Revoked If They Hire Foreigners As Main Cooks
"We are considering to revoke their hawker licences if they are found to hire foreigners as their main cooks but we need to get public feedback before we proceed with the implementation," he told reporters Saturday. Lim today reminded that the move only applies to foreign cook manning hawker stalls, and not all restaurants.malaysiakini.com
According To A Research By The Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP), There Are Over 119 Foreign Workers Working As Cooks In 68 Hawker Centres Around The Island
According to research conducted by the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP), there are over 119 foreign workers working as cooks in the 68 hawker centres in Penang Island.themalaysianinsider.com
Lim said Penang was famous for its hawker food and the food must retain a local taste instead of a foreign taste. "It defeats the purpose of approving the hawker licence only for the locals if the hawkers employed foreigners as their main cooks," he said.themalaysianinsider.com
He also reminded the hawkers to only employ foreigners as their kitchen helper, waiters or waitresses. "We will take into consideration the public's needs before proceeding with the implementation," he said.thestar.com.my
In Response To Chef Wan, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng Says They Accept Chef Wan's Criticisms And Are Still Collecting Public Feedback About The Move
“We accept Chef Wan’s opinion with an open heart. This is his opinion, he does not agree to the move, but others may agree.” “We are not afraid of criticisms, we are open to it, and are open to feedback from the public,” Lim said at a press conference today.malaysiakini.com
“We respect his opinion, even though he does not agree with us. This is why we are collecting public feedback about the move. “If the public say no, it wont happen. I guess Penangites feel more strongly about this,” he added.malaysiakini.com