Why isn’t it easier to get Malaysian food in Singapore?

JANUARY 15 — “So-and-so invited you to like their page.” It’s something I get a lot on Facebook but this was new — a Malaysian nasi lemak stall in Singapore.

It was cool to find out someone I knew was bringing the superior flavour of our nasi lemak over the Causeway and the name, Uptown Nasi Lemak makes it fairly obvious where they got their inspiration from.

Disclaimer: I have no idea if the nasi lemak is any good and no one’s getting paid for this so try it at your own risk.

I know that at the heart of it, Malaysia and Singapore share a lot of dishes but the flavour is different enough that Malaysians miss home.

What I don’t get is why there aren’t more Malaysian entrepreneurs taking our food and branding it as such in Singapore? Why aren’t there more bak kut teh options than the weird pepper soup Singapore insists is bak kut teh?

Perhaps it’s because Singapore is more expensive in general and we’re more used to our street food being cheaper to make.

Still, Johor isn’t that far from Singapore and I don’t quite get why it would be harder to get the same ingredients or recipes back there.

Perhaps Malaysians just take it for granted that we can just take a bus or drive, even fly home if we want better street food.

Another reason might be that Malaysians think if Singaporeans can get our food easily where they are, they wouldn’t come over as much.

I highly doubt that because as well-developed as Singapore is, it is but a small island and it won’t just be food that will get Singaporeans needing a breather from home.

Hopefully the next time I head over to Singapore maybe I’ll see more enterprising Malaysians making a go at being food ambassadors.

I have to say though if there’s one thing Singapore does do better, it’s salted egg potato chips. Maybe one day we’ll figure out something just as sinful and commercially successful.

In the meantime, I’d be happy with non-peppery BKT in Singapore.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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