PETALING JAYA, Sept 22 — A Malaysian kopitiam in New York has apologised for an old Food Insider interview that was the focus of a backlash from many Malaysians online for its inaccurate portrayal of Malaysia.
Kopitiam, named among 2019’s best new restaurants in the US, was founded by Malaysian-born Kyo Pang who has been criticised in the video after a statement saying that Kyo, a queer woman, chose to seek asylum from Malaysia as ‘it was illegal to be gay in Malaysia’.
Many also took issue with the 2020 interview video which stated that nasi lemak was made of white rice instead of coconut milk rice and featured the interviewer eating the dish using a pair of chopsticks.
Many took to Twitter to point out how frustrated they were seeing the Malaysian dish eaten using a pair of chopsticks while others commented that it was unnecessary to include one’s personal identity in a food review video.
Each dish at this Malaysian café has superb flavors that will explode in your mouth pic.twitter.com/Nccqqqubxd— Food Insider (@FoodInsider) September 18, 2021
The restaurant posted an apology statement on its official Instagram account.
“We apologise for the information provided in the Food Insider interview, and we understand the anger you guys are feeling.
“The video was made two years ago and the person who provided the political commentary gave wrong info about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) in Malaysia.
“This person was a former business partner who is not Malaysian and she is no longer associated with Kopitiam since the pandemic.”
The restaurant also apologised for saying that the much-loved nasi lemak was made from white rice instead of coconut rice and that it should be eaten using spoons instead of chopsticks.
It also stated that the restaurant has emailed Food Insider regarding the issue and were awaiting them to take down the video and to correct the mistake.
“Kyo is always proud to be a Malaysian.
“And that is why she wanted to introduce to more people about Malaysian food that’s very underrepresented.
“The misunderstandings were not intentional and we apologise that the video was still uploaded.”