MALAYSIANS eat out almost as much as they eat at home and of those who do eat from the comfort of their dining table, many still get their meals from outside.
A check by The Star found that many people who dine out or order takeaway food do so because of long working hours and commuting time.
Sales executive Oya, 34, said she buys food home every weekday.
“My husband and I work long hours so we don’t get the chance to cook dinner. He often comes home at midnight and I reach home at 8pm. It takes me about an hour to get home from the office because I take the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and then a taxi,” said the mother of three who lives with her parents in Gombak.
Oya’s son Airis, eight, goes to afternoon school, her daughter Ariena, five, goes to kindergarten, and her four-month-old girl Athira goes to daycare.
“My mother helps to pick up the kids in the evening, so she doesn’t often get the chance to cook as well. Sometimes, she prepares dinner as early as 2pm but I don’t like to burden her.
“I usually just buy food home. It’s whatever my mother or kids feel like eating – local dishes, fusion, even fast food,” she said.
Ramesh Singh, 42, said his eating habits are dictated by his work life. The hotel account director eats about seven meals outside of home in a week.
“On weekdays, I go to restaurants near my workplace for lunch and usually go home for dinner as my mum cooks. But about twice a week, I reach home at about 10.30pm so I just eat out.
“On days when I work late, I’ll step out of the office for a dinner break at about 8.30pm,” he said, adding that his eating patterns have remained largely the same for the past 12 years.
Jeremy Khoo, 22, from Cheras, eats two to three meals out every day. The mass communications student, who also works in the event management industry, said he prefers eating out because of his busy lifestyle.
“I study and work at the same time and have many friends and colleagues whom I have to network with, and restaurants are a great place for us to socialise in.
“I live with my mother and grandparents who cook once in a while but I would still rather eat out. When people cook, they try to cater to everyone’s needs. I don’t like troubling my family, so I would rather just go out and choose exactly what I want to eat,” he said.
Khoo said he would eat out even more when he is on a diet because he can avoid rice “which would have been impossible at home”.
“People believe eating at home is more healthy because the food is less oily and has less additives but I think you can still keep your health in check if you pick the right places and food to eat,” he said.
More Malaysians eat out nowadays but are we eating enough healthy food?