Wednesday, June 11, 2008

South Asian restaurants

In Malaysia, restaurants run by people of the South Asian origin (mostly of Indian origin) are many, and in towns in Malaysia they flourish. They sell from rice (and curry ) of all sorts (some disguised as 'nasi kandar'), and foods originated from locally Malaysia, and now they even sell (and serve) food originated from Thailand. And they employ authentic South Asia cooks (so I am told) and the waiters/waitresses from local, imported Indonesian girls and some time even those from Thailand and Myanmar (legal and illegal comers). In all towns in Malaysia they seem to grow like mushrooms after a heavy rain, overtaking all other types of restaurants. They say they serve 'halal' food, and I believe that most of them do, the owners claiming that they are Muslims, but are often questionable, though there are owners who do not claim such but they claim that they serve 'halal' food. Those who claim to be Muslims sometime wear skull caps like the Muslims, some even have Koraan ayats (extracts from the words of the Koraan) all over the restaurants, and some may even go further to have Koraan recital from CD contineously playing.

What do they sell? Mostly rice and curry (of all sorts except beef in most cases), locally concocted breads like 'chapati', 'roti tempayan' (cooked in big earthern ware pots with fire inside) and 'roti canai' (a sort of thin layered pancake made from flour, eggs and condensed milk) and 'tosai' (a thin crusted pancake of rice flower, so I am told).

In most of these restaurants their service is excellent.

Any visitor to Malaysia will easily find these restaurants all over the places and they serve cheaper food than if you go to hotels or fancy restaurants.

The only kind of restaurants they cannot compete with are the Chinese restaurants which normally have pork in their menu/dishes. Many (I am told) Chinese like pork and Muslims do not eat pork (not allowed by the Koraan).

In the town of Kuantan (Malaysia), where I spend a lot of my time, this is one of such restaurants that serve very tasty South Indian/Malaysian dishes. And its very popular with the tourists (local and from overseas). But the owner is a non-Muslim but (he tells me) the food are all 'halal'.

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