Amid raging sea and air row, Singaporeans still can’t say no to Malaysian food

Kenneth Tee
The entrance of the Malaysia Boleh! food court Jurong, Singapore. — Picture via Facebook/Malaysia Boleh SG

PETALING JAYA, Dec 15 — Malaysian cuisine is still reaching new levels of popularity in Singapore even as the republic harangues Malaysia over the ongoing aerial and maritime disputes.

According to The Straits Times, two establishments serving Malaysian food continue to be thronged by hundreds of hungry diners in the island state.

For the Malaysia Boleh! food court at AMK Hub, it reported long queues at its char kway teow and KL Hokkien mee stalls since the 8,000-sq-ft feet outlet that seats 300 people and houses 25 stalls launched five weeks ago.

This is the second Malaysia Boleh! outlet after the original 7,000-sq-ft outlet opened six years ago in Jurong Point and which has since doubled in space.

It is understood a third Malaysia Boleh! will also open at Eastpoint Mall in March next year.

Singapore-based Fei Siong Group director, Tan Kim Leng, said the group had introduced a smaller-scale offshoot — Malaysia Chiak! — last year at The Centrepoint near Orchard Road.

Malaysia Chiak! features a smaller assortment of the most popular dishes at Malaysia Boleh!, in locations of between 1,000 and 3,000-sq-ft, and has grown to six locations including Northpoint City and West Mall for the past years.

“The consistency of food quality at all the outlets is maintained by preparing all sauces at the group’s central kitchen, with ingredients imported from Malaysia.

“The key cook in every stall is Malaysian. We control the recipe in the central kitchen and have a taste test every day before the food court opens to ensure the flavour is true to the original hawker’s recipe,” he said.

The group also opened its first Malaysia Boleh! branch in Malaysia earlier this year located at Four Seasons Place, Kuala Lumpur.

Tan said this allowed its staff in Singapore to receive training at the Malaysian branch and ensures a pipeline of trained Malaysian cooks, who are given the option to relocate to Singapore.

Meanwhile, the popular Penang Hawkers’ Fare buffet at York Hotel, Singapore has also returned for the third time this year.

Marketing communications manager Joyce Yao said the hotel hits its full capacity of 150 diners every time it runs the buffet, which flies in hawkers from Penang to whip up famous street dishes such as Penang prawn mee and oyster omelette.

She said the hotel would open a function room to accommodate the overflow of diners during weekends.

“Singaporeans are willing to travel for good food, but they also want convenience. We also see a large population of Malaysians who crave a taste of home,” she said.

Other establishments serving Malaysian food continues to thrive, such as the 22,000 square feet Malaysia Food Street at Resorts World Sentosa since it was launched six years ago.

Sell-outs at the 750-seat foodcourt include dishes such as Malacca chicken rice balls and Heun Kee Claypot Chicken Rice.

Malaysia and Singapore are locked in disputes over each country’s extension of their respective port limits as well as the republic’s bid to introduce an aerial navigation system in its Seletar Airport that Malaysia says will hobble development in Pasir Gudang due to height restrictions.

The maritime dispute is the more hostile of the two disputes, with both countries deploying vessels to the contested area in their respective bids to assert their right to the waters off Tuas.

Related Articles What do Malaysians love when it comes to food? Foodpanda finds out Dr M: Market nasi lemak, tosei, dim sum globally via franchises Why do we like blaming the poor for what they eat?