RAUB, MALAYSIA - Food and hawker centres in Malaysia have attractive decor and have become major draws for tourists – but their hygiene and cleanliness are often neglected, says Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.
“Although the food stalls are beautifully decorated, spacious, strategically located and offering all kinds of delicious meals, tourists may be turned off because of the poor hygiene and cleanliness,” she said here yesterday.
She added that the ministry was keen to help promote these food centres but the operators must first play their role by raising the standard of their cleanliness.
“Efforts to promote these centres for their good food and wide range of dishes will all be futile if the operators do not take heed of the cleanliness aspect,” Dr Ng told reporters after launching the 100 Best Kopitiams in Malaysia Guide here.
“They should meet the same standards of established restaurants and coffeeshop chains, which also offer attractive decor and service but are hygienic and clean.”
She said that hospitality and quality should be consistent with the standard of the meals served.
Regarding the kopitiam heritage in Raub, Dr Ng said it has become legendary, referring to their unique ambience of marble-topped wooden tables, aromatic, freshly-brewed coffee and tea, old-fashion cups and saucers and the servings of roti bakar (toasted bread), half-boiled eggs, nasi lemak bungkus and kuih muih.
“I am told the history of the kopitiam goes back to the early years of the 20th century when Hainanese migrants, who worked as cooks for their colonial masters, acquired a taste for coffee.
Malaysia-Singapore Coffeeshop Proprietors Association president Ho Su Mong advised members to apply for halal certificates from the relevant authorities to assure Muslim customers that the meals and drinks served are fit for their consumption.