Opposition MP questions whether bak kut teh is Malaysian heritage food

KUALA LUMPUR: An Opposition lawmaker has questioned whether bak kut teh should be recognised as a traditional heritage food.

Datuk Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah (PN-Langkawi) asked the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry whether it had any intention to categorise bak kut teh as a traditional Malaysian food.

"The last I checked, bak kut teh is not in the list of the top 30 most popular local foods. Nasi lemak, kuih bahulu, gula melaka, ketupat, char kuey teow, rice porridge, moon cake, nian gao sticky rice, muruku, thosai, and putu mayam are in the list,” he said.

"Is the ministry agreeable to consider including bak kut teh in the list as suggested by Tebrau (Jimmy Puah Wee Tse)," he said during Question Time.

“Bak kut teh” or “meat bone tea” is a popular herbal meat dish that is popular in Malaysia.

Puah had earlier expressed disappointment after watching a foreign documentary that questioned whether Klang, Selangor was the origin of bak kut teh.

"The documentary questioned it and insinuated that bak kut teh actually comes from a neighbouring country. That is why I am upset and angry, and I hope the government can defend our national food heritage like nasi lemak, teh tarik and laksa," he said.

To this, Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan said in order to include a dish as a heritage food, it should be a type of food that can be eaten by all Malaysians.

"If the bak kut teh is made out of chicken, maybe yes, we can. But if is raised like what Tebrau raised, he did not mention specifically which type of bak kut teh, so I can't respond in a specific manner,” he said.

"But the general idea is, for a dish to be considered as a heritage food it should be eaten by all races in the country," added Khairul Firdaus.

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