PENANG: The public have been urged not to rush for food during the National Deepavali Open House in Penang on Saturday as there will be plenty available, according to the organisers.
An estimated 6,600 chickens, 2,500kg of muruku (Indian fried snack) and 4,000kg of vadei (Indian doughnut) have been ordered to cater to more than 80,000 people on that day.
Forty caterers have been roped in to prepare fried rice, fried noodles and fried chicken for 2,000 people each, which will be served at 40 stalls at the Esplanade field.
Each stall will also be supplied with muruku, vadei, oranges and mineral water while there will be two stalls offering Indian and Chinese vegetarian fare.
Malaysian Indian Chamber of Commerce Penang secretary R. Ganesan said the food, sponsored by the Culture, Arts and Tourism Ministry, would be served from 12.30pm before the arrival of the royal entourage at 1.30pm.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Raja Permaisuri Agong will grace the function, which will also be attended by Penang Yang di-Pertua Negri and his consort.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and other national and state leaders are also scheduled to be present.
Ganesan said food for the VIPs would be catered by the Penang International Hotels Association.
“There will be lots of food so we appeal to the public not to rush,” he said in an interview.
Checks showed that most caterers would only cook their food on Saturday morning to ensure freshness but the muruku maker had already finished his task and packed the snacks into packets.
T.M. Thogalingam, 65, who had a humble beginning of selling muruku and kacang putih at a bus stand 30 years ago, will be the sole supplier of the muruku to the 40 stalls.
“I am honoured to be preparing muruku for the King and the people at the Deepavali open house,” said Thogalingam, who is also the Penang Indian Petty Traders Association chairman.
Thogalingam said they started preparing the muruku on Oct 10 for packing into small packets for easier distribution on the big day.
Eight caterers are also preparing the doughnut-like vadei, with each catering for about 10,000 people.
One of the vadei makers from the Taj Restaurant at Penang Street said cooking would start tomorrow on Deepavali day when the restaurant is closed for the holiday.
“We will arrange the dining tables into a row to place big grinders for grinding the beans and put two stoves and large kuali to do the frying here on Deepavali day.
“We will start after 2pm and continue up to 5am the next day,” said restaurant manager M. Peria.
She said the cooks would be using 250kg of the main ingredients – the jangree beans – to make 10,000 pieces of vadei.