Malaysia's nasi lemak better than Singapore's? McDonald's new ad ignites food fight

PHOTO: YouTube/McdonaldsMalaysia

If you're reading this article, you probably have an opinion on which side of the Causeway has better food. It's no secret that Singaporeans and Malaysians are passionate — and competitive — about food.

There are rare moments when we unite to make fun of foreign chefs who butcher traditional Asian dishes such as "crispy rendang" and this British take on chicken rice.

But most of the time, we are fighting to lay claim over various hawker foods, and trading barbs over who "owns" hawker culture.

Well, McDonald's Malaysia is here to stir the pot with their new advertisement which throws a whole lot of shade at Singaporeans and our nasi lemak.

Part of a campaign promoting the new Nasi Lemak McD, the video is titled Nasi Lemak MY vs SG.

Uh-oh. We already foresee people getting triggered from the title alone.

But let's unpack the video first.

It starts off with a Malaysian woman and her presumably Singaporean friend entering Lau Pa Sat.

Poking fun at Singaporean's kiasuness and culture of chope-ing seats, the Singaporean rushes to put his tissue packets on a table and cuts in front of a disgruntled man who is queueing for food.

Photo: YouTube/McDonaldsMalaysia

Heading back to the table with two plates of nasi lemak from a stall boldly called BEST Nasi Lemak Singapore, the man is puzzled when his friend rejects the food.

Photo: YouTube/McDonaldsMalaysia

It turns out she brought her own nasi lemak all the way from Malaysia.

The voiceover then proudly proclaims, "Nothing comes between Malaysians and nasi lemak."

People were naturally upset about the video and took the opportunity to throw some shade at the ad themselves.

Photos: Screengrab/Reddit

Some commenters also felt attacked over the portrayal of Singaporeans in the advertisement.

Photo: Screengrab/Reddit

Others were more troubled over the questionable food safety practices in the video.

Photo: Screengrab/Reddit

On the other side of the Causeway, the video had a different reception.

Photos: Screengrab/Reddit

Some even took the opportunity to air their frustrations with Singaporeans in general.

Photo: Screengrab/Reddit

When it comes to food, let's take it from an expert.

Malaysian celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan, called Singapore "arrogant" for nominating its hawker culture for Unesco listing. He said: "It's not necessary to announce to the world that you have this or that."

"Food is meant to be enjoyed by everyone and not for us to pick fights over who owns what. We already fight about everything else, such as territorial claims, oil, and water."

As for the age-old question of Singapore food versus Malaysia food — why fight when there's room for both?

kimberlylim@asiaone.com

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