PETALING JAYA: With local fare being a hit among tourists, Malaysian restaurants look to woo an international crowd.
Popular chain Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar celebrated the opening of its 10th outlet at the NU Sentral mall, frequented by tourists due to its transport hub location.
Owner and managing director Burhan Mohamed said the aim was to attract travellers, commuters and working crowds there.
He said Malaysia’s reputation as a “food haven” drew tourists keen to try local cuisine.
“There are more tourists coming in to taste our nasi kandar and other dishes, and excited to take photos in our outlets.
“So we offer tips to them about our country!” he said.
He said most of the tourists to his outlets came from Australia, the US and Europe.
“They enjoyed the food so much that sometimes they return with others,” he said.
Burhan said he expected the NU Sentral outlet to do as well as the others nationwide.
“We have a lot of regulars in our existing outlets in SS2 and Mid Valley and other shopping centres, so people recognise the brand.
“On our latest outlet’s opening on Thursday, about 1,000 people turned up,” he said.
Burhan will also be targeting tourists from across the Causeway, as a new outlet in Johor Baru will be opened in the next three to six months.
He expects his nasi kandar store to be an attractive draw to Singaporeans, especially because of the favourable currency exchange rate, with plans also afoot to set up outlets in Sabah and Sarawak in the near future.
Malaysia-Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors General Association president Datuk Ho Su Mong said coffeeshops in the country were also attracting foreign tourists.
He said places such as Jalan Alor and the “Golden Triangle” in Kuala Lumpur were hotspots for such visitors.
“More coffeeshops and hawker stalls are trying to draw tourists to try their dishes, they are putting up beautiful signs to promote local cuisine,” he said, adding that Hainanese chicken rice and black coffee were among the popular choices among tourists.