KOTA KINABALU: The sight of lion dance troupes performing at Chinese business premises and homes is common during the Lunar New Year. However, it is rare to see a lion dance performance at an Indian Muslim restaurant.
Over the past six years, a lion dance troupe has been calling at Restoran Salim at Lintas Plaza Commercial Centre with a crowd of curious onlookers enjoying the performance.
Restoran Salim owner Salim Khan said he decided to invite a lion dance troupe when he opened his first outlet in 2000 to get into the spirit of Chinese New Year festivities.
I have many Chinese friends and customers. So, it seemed only natural to have a lion dance troupe perform, he said after a performance by the Pek Nam Tung lion dance troupe at his outlet on Monday.
Instead of the usual mandarin oranges or lettuce to feed the prancing lions, those performing at his eateries were served eight pieces of roti canai.
The roti canai is something different, and I am sure the dancing lions appreciate them, Salim said with a chuckle.
He said his customers had told him they appreciated the yearly lion dance performance and always looked forward for them.
I plan to have the performance at my restaurants for as long as I can. After all, its the Malaysian way to celebrate each others festivals, Salim added.
Among those who witnessed the performance were Britons Katherine Barret and Rabecca Ward, both volunteers with the Raleigh International youth programme.
We happened to be passing through and saw the lion dance. It was such a thrill as the only performance we had seen before was on television, said Barret.