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Controversy surrounds inclusion of pork in traditional nasi kandar dish in Malaysia

A non-halal nasi kandar stall featuring pork sparked controversy in Malaysia, prompting a debate about its inclusion in the traditionally halal dish. Netizens and food reviewers weighed in on the issue.

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pork nasi kandar

MALAYSIA: A discussion has arisen regarding a nasi kandar stall that is not halal due to its utilization of pork as one of its components.

This controversy began when a food reviewer, known as “eat.with.aishwarrya,” posted a video review on her TikTok account on Monday last week (23 Oct), highlighting the unique feature of the stall.

In the video, she proudly stated, “The only stall in Malaysia to sell Indian-style pork nasi kandar and nasi lemak,” emphasizing the specialty of the dish.

She went on to describe the pork varuval dish as one of the standout offerings at the stall she visited.

@eat.with.aishwarrya

📍Pumbaa’s @ Damansara Jaya 𝐌𝐚𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐬𝐢𝐚’𝐬 𝐅𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐏𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐍𝐚𝐬𝐢 𝐊𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐫 🐷🔥 𝐍𝐚𝐬𝐢 𝐋𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐤 𝐁𝐚𝐛𝐢 𝐈𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐒𝐭𝐲𝐥𝐞 𝐀𝐯𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐨! 😮‍💨 Opening Hours: 7.30am till 4pm (open Tue-Sun) They serve the best Pork Nasi Kandar & Nasi Lemak 😍😍🔥 The legendary man behind Kadei by Manchula has now opened a new stall located in @goodolddays. His food is the bomb if you don’t already know 😆 I was so excited so try out Mr Suresh’s new venture especially with the added porky touch to it 🐽 and it did not disappoint 💯 I was so hyped up for it bcos where can you find a non halal Nasi Kandar right? 😜 The curries were great and the pork varuval was so delicious 😋 It was tender and the best part is they remove the fatty layer so you get only tender chunks of pork meat 😩👍🏻 Honestly, it’s the best out there and y’all should try it for yourself 🔥 The sambal also packs a punch (not too spicy) which explains why their Nasi lemak is porkfection! 🌶️ They also have various side dishes like their signature mutton varuval, juicy crispy fried chicken, aromatic chicken rendang, sambal sotong and many more 🤩 They really take Nasi kandar and Nasi lemak to the next level 🫡 ‼️ Strictly non halal ‼️𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐑𝐘 𝐏𝐎𝐑𝐊 𝐋𝐎𝐕𝐄𝐑’𝐒 𝐃𝐑𝐄𝐀𝐌 😍🐽 Go try it for yourself 😋 #nasilemakviral #nasilemakakka #nasikandarmalaysia #nasikandarpenang #nasikandarbendiganimaju #nasikandarviral #makananviralmalaysia #makananviraltiktok #klfoodie #porkvaruvel #wildboarperathal #indianfood #indianfoodmalaysia #bananaleafrice

♬ Naa Ready (From “Leo”) – Anirudh Ravichander & Thalapathy Vijay & Asal Kolaar

This video drew significant attention and, notably, criticism from The Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (PRESMA).

PRESMA’s President, Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan, expressed concerns and strong disapproval of the video, stating that it was not only insulting but also potentially misleading for Muslims.

He emphasized that all Nasi Kandar restaurants in Malaysia are known to be halal-compliant, serving food prepared in accordance with halal requirements.

He added that presenting pork as a nasi kandar dish could lead to confusion and offense among the Muslim majority.

Jawahar Ali further stated that if the issue isn’t resolved promptly, it could lead to modifications of other mamak signature dishes to include non-halal ingredients, affecting the established reputation of these eateries.

The accused food vendor, who sold pork nasi kandar, has clarified that he never meant to mislead anyone

Suresh G, who has been operating Pumbaa’s in a Chinese kopitiam in Damansara Jaya, Petaling Jaya for the past three weeks, recently garnered viral attention due to a TikTok video that promoted his stall as “Malaysia’s first pork nasi kandar”.

This viral publicity led to criticism from the Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Entrepreneurs Association (PRESMA), who considered adding pork to nasi kandar an “insult”.

Suresh, in response, clarified that he had only become aware of the viral issue on 30 October and explained that he had chosen to open a stall in a Chinese shop after the closure of his restaurant.

He emphasized that his stall exclusively serves non-halal dishes, including pork, within a non-halal environment, with the primary clientele being non-Muslim.

Suresh firmly stated that his intention was not to inconvenience anyone but to earn a living.

Suresh defended his business concept, pointing out that selling nasi kandar and nasi lemak with pork is not inherently wrong, highlighting the prevalence of similar non-halal eateries in the Klang Valley.

He stressed that his menu’s branding clearly specifies “non-halal” on his social media platforms, making it unambiguous for customers.

Moreover, he highlighted that the business logo prominently features an image of the animal, further underscoring its non-halal nature.

pork nasi kandar

(Photo: Pumbaa’s Instagram)

Suresh indicated that he had officially registered his business under the “non-halal” category, emphasizing transparency in his offerings.

While Suresh claimed to be among the first to introduce pork to nasi kandar, he argued that the concept of pork nasi lemak wasn’t new and expressed a sense of unfairness regarding the criticism his stall had received.

Netizens assert “nasi kandar” as a generic dish name and advocate freedom in ingredient choice

Netizens have shared their opinions on the matter, asserting that “nasi kandar” is essentially just a name for a type of dish.

Many of these individuals have taken to the comment sections on the SAYS Facebook page to express their support for the pork-based nasi kandar business.

They argue that the term “nasi kandar” primarily signifies a dish and, therefore, the inclusion of various ingredients should not pose a problem.

Some netizens have pointed out that the seller of nasi kandar operates within a Chinese kopitiam, which is typically not frequented by Muslims.

Consequently, they believe that this should not lead to confusion or concerns among the Muslim community, as it is well-known that such establishments do not serve halal food.

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Others have drawn comparisons to the practice of converting non-halal foods into halal options, such as halal wonton noodles and halal BBQ.

They argue that if the food vendor explicitly labels their offerings as non-halal, it is the responsibility of the consumer to make informed choices.

If one is aware that the food is not halal, there should be no reason to visit the stall and consume the non-halal dishes.

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Further, some netizens have asserted that everyone has the right to use various types of meat in the preparation of dishes like curry and chili sauce.

They advocate for the absence of monopolies, copyrights, or patent rights pertaining to food, emphasizing the importance of culinary freedom.

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In response to the controversy, many netizens have expressed their intent to visit the stall in question, believing that the widespread discussion around it constitutes a form of free marketing, likely resulting in an increase in the number of visitors to the establishment.

pork nasi kandar

pork nasi kandar

PRESMA reverses disapproval of non-muslim vendor’s “pork nasi kandar”

The Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (PRESMA) has reversed its initial stance of disapproval concerning a non-Muslim stall owner’s sale of “Malaysia’s first pork nasi kandar”.

PRESMA’s President, Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan, explained that they now accept the term ‘nasi kandar babi’ after Suresh, the stall owner, clarified that his offerings are intended exclusively for non-Muslim customers.

Jawahar Ali Taib Khan, speaking to the New Straits Times on Tuesday (31 Oct), emphasized the importance of understanding the historical origins of nasi kandar before passing judgment on the matter.

He contended that nasi kandar is inherently a halal dish, tracing its roots back to the early 1900s when Indian Muslim vendors known as “mamaks” sold rice and curry to dock employees in George Town, Penang, elaborating that the dish consists of a plate of rice served with a variety of mixed curries.

Jawahar explained that the crux of the issue was the potential confusion caused by the term ‘pork nasi kandar,’ which led customers to believe they were purchasing a non-halal version of the traditionally halal dish, creating negative perceptions surrounding the term ‘nasi kandar.’

He specified that the association’s concerns primarily revolved around pork nasi kandar being sold in mamak eateries or other halal establishments, emphasizing that the word ‘mamak’ should always be synonymous with halal eateries.

He also affirmed their commitment to ensuring that all food prepared in mamak eateries adheres to halal certification requirements.

Jawahar acknowledged that Malaysia’s diverse and multicultural nature allows individuals to enjoy a wide range of delicacies according to their preferences.

He underscored that PRESMA respects the rights of people to choose and savour their preferred dishes, emphasizing that they have no authority to dictate the halal status or specific serving methods of a particular dish

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tell them about Pungol Nasi Lemak and its spam pork.

Yes, I’m sure someone from PAS will get “confused” and wind up eating pork and drinking alcohol at this establishment.

Will they then claim that they are blind / illiterate / etc and feign that they did not know what the word “PORK” implied?

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