Plight of local and cheap food


The variety of food available today is simple amazing, especially in Malaysia! However, as new types of food enter, the traditional dishes threaten to disappear. Furthermore, the hawkers are facing pressure to adapt to technology.

I grew up taking for granted the portable/pop up stalls near my home or the bread man who appeared every day without fail. There was always the kacang putih man walking by with a table of his head, or the goreng pisang stall just around the corner when we were hungry. Even the ice cream man cycled by 4pm every day, rain or shine. Everything was so accessible and affordable.
But I was very excited when A &W opened up an outlet near school. We always found excuses to go there. Yep, was very happy when Wendy, KFC, McDonalds, Burger King etc. opened up in Malaysia. The cuisine was different, quick and the place was clean and nice.
But today as we see more and more local franchised restaurants with the same menu, prices in every mall or suburb, we do have to ask ourselves if we have taken things too far. Most of us, fail to realise the lack of variety. Going to one mall is pretty much the same experience as going to another.
While I love to experience the food from other cultures, there is a danger that authentic local cuisine are slowly fading off. Most of us, can no longer replicate traditional dishes our grandmothers or mothers used to cook.
Firstly because, food is available outside the home. Secondly, there are so many shortcuts in the form of ready packages; it seems foolish to do anything from scratch anymore. Thirdly, some of the ingredients have slowly ‘disappeared’ right under our noses.
Even hawker stalls and centres are under pressure to change and adapt.
Singapore hawkers are facing immense pressure from the government to go cashless. Apparently the Singaporeans want cashless facilities at hawkers’ centres.
Now there is pressure for centralised & automated dishwashing services for stall holders. The excuse being cleanliness & hygiene!
Hawkers are being enticed with the prestigious Michelin Star label. Is this truly important? What do you think?
Will Malaysia succumb to the pressure like the Singapore? While it is important to adapt to technological changes, sometimes hawkers are hindered by their lack of technical skills.
On another note, it is interesting that many local hawkers in Malaysia have teamed up with Maybank under a platform called ‘Lokal’ that allows users like you and me, to order hawker food during this MCO and it will be delivered to you. So if you are missing your Ramly Burger, here you go!!!


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