Malacca's asam pedas patent plan in bad taste, says Johor

Zazali Musa in Pasir Gudang/The Star
Asia News Network

Pasir Gudang (The Star/ANN) - Malacca's plan to patent its asam pedas appears to be leading to a fiery war with its neighbour Johor.

Johor's Exco for Youth, Sports, Culture and Heritage Datuk Zulkurnain Kamisan claimed that the hot and spicy dish was not exclusive to Malacca but was common across the country.

"Johor has its own version of asam pedas, so do the other states," he said after attending the Johor GiatMARA graduation ceremony here yesterday.

Zulkurnain said that although there could be slight differences between Malacca's asam pedas and Johor's, most people knew the main ingredients for the dish.

He said families in both states had their own versions of the gravy and it was "absurd" for Malacca to claim the dish solely as its own.

"With Malacca patenting asam pedas, those who want to cook the dish, including chefs, may even have to end up paying royalty," he added.

Zulkarnain said it would be unhealthy for the country if every state were to claim or patent its traditional dishes.

If Malacca wanted to patent its asam pedas, he said, Johor could also do the same with its nasi briyani, nasi ambeng, mee bandung, botok-botok, lontong and sambal goreng.

"But we are unlikely to do so as we want people from outside Johor to enjoy the dishes," he said.

Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Idris Haron had said recently that the state planned to patent asam pedas Melaka as a heritage dish of the state.

He said Malacca also planned to organise a cooking competition to search for the best asam pedas in the state.

Common ingredients for asam pedas are dried chillies, shallots, turmeric, garlic, tamarind juice, lemon grass, belacan (shrimp paste) and daun kesom (laksa leaves).

Some also add black pepper and kerisik (pounded desiccated coconut) to thicken the gravy.