Tourism minister agrees with Penang proposal to bar foreign cooks in hawker stalls

Tourism minister agrees with Penang proposal to bar foreign cooks in hawker stalls
Street food hawkers in Penang, Malaysia.

GEORGE TOWN - Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz has backed a proposal by Penang to bar foreigners as main cooks in hawker stalls.

"We can't have Penang hawker food cooked by foreigners who would not understand the taste.

"People come to Penang for its famous food. We can't just bank on the branding, it would not be the same," he said.

Nazri added that the locals should be proud of Penang food, and encouraged the younger generation of Malaysians to take up the cooking of such foods so that standards could be upheld.

Nazri also assured that the Federal Government would work with the Penang government to promote tourism in the state.

"The Pearl of the Orient is the gem, the crown jewel of Malaysian tourism as far as I'm concerned," said Nazri after unveiling two modern benches known as Figure #23 and Figure #25 with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at Armenian Street on Saturday.

The benches, made from twisted steel poles by Malaysian artist Azman Ismail, were sponsored by the National Visual Arts Gallery as part of the George Town Festival (GTF) 2014 project titled 'The Chairs - Secret Gardens of Earthly Delights II'.

The project involves local and international artists who are tasked with creating quirky, unique and appropriate chairs as an artistic contribution to urban spaces.

Nazri said he and Lim discussed "big plans for Penang" after the launching of GTF 2014 on Friday, but declined to disclose them.

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