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“It’s our culture” – Locals React to Bak Kut Teh Being Listed Among National Heritage Foods of M’sia


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Source: Noob Cook & Asian Inspirations

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As reported just days ago on WORLD OF BUZZ, Malaysian Heritage Commissioner Mohamad Muda Bahadin recently gazetted a series of 10 dishes as heritage foods of Malaysia in the Declaration of Heritage Object 2024. While this stood as a moment of pride and glory for our country, the inclusion of one of those dishes has sparked some controversy online among fellow Malaysians.

The dish in question is none other than Bak Kut Teh, a hearty dish of pork ribs simmered in herbs and spices. Though infinitely popular in Malaysia, it is also commonly consumed in countries such as Singapore and Malaysia.

Signature Bak Kut Teh dish.

Despite that, many people have taken to online platforms to question its inclusion as a heritage dish in Malaysia, due to its non-halal status.

Nothing short of a storm can be described as having erupted, as Malaysians from far and wide weighed in on whether or not bak kut teh needed to be listed in this declaration.

R01211 Bak Kut Teh

Image for illustration purposes only.


A fair chunk of Malaysians were against the inclusion, saying that the dish in itself is not “truly Malaysian”

“Since when has it been our heritage to eat pork? There has not been, in a million years, pork listed as a national heritage dish of Tanah Melayu,” expressed one X user.

On the other hand, multiple other users also stated that there was no reasonable cause to list these foods as national dishes among the other nine items.

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Despite this, numerous other locals clapped back against this idea, opining that a dish does not have to be halal to be recognised as Malaysian

One user, who identified themselves as Hoklo or part of the Hokkien-lang ethnic Chinese group, stated that they found the idea of people getting annoyed about bak kut teh being named as Malaysian heritage food amusing.

“For real though, meat and even vegetarian alternatives exist! But no, people want to whine about it. So stay mad and miss out on good food! It’s your loss,” wrote one user.

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On the other hand, another user also stated that bak kut teh is representative of the various ethnic groups in Malaysia. Other users also mentioned that the remaining 9 dishes in the list, such as kolo mee and jeruk tuhau, is included in the list for being uniquely Malaysian, and not whether it is halal.

“Aren’t we all aware that we have more than one ethnic group in Malaysia? So shouldn’t we allow each ethnic group to be represented properly, and one of them is through food,” penned another user.

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All in all, there were also numerous people who fell squarely in the middle of these 2 polarising opinions

Multiple users questioned why there was so much controversy surrounding bak kut teh being listed as a national heritage dish, as it is undeniable that various Malaysians do love to consume it.

“As long as no one is shoving bak kut teh down your throat, you can chill,” wrote one user.

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On the other end of things, one user also took the situation in a comedic stride, stating that all the conversations about bak kut teh made him crave the dish even more now.

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Whether you believe in the validity of bak kut teh being listed as a national heritage dish of Malaysia or not, there’s no harm in celebrating the inclusion of 10 brand new cuisines that have been long-standing favourites among the Malaysian people.

63Fe1Fdfafce41A4823C5808Aff471Fc Ah Hei Bak Kut Teh

What do you think about bak kut teh being included as one of Malaysia’s heritage foods? Let us know!


Also read: Here Are 10 Foods That Were Just Newly-Gazetted as Heritage Foods in Malaysia

Heritage Foods

Source: Noob Cook

Follow us on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest stories and updates daily.

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