BINTULU MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said he has instructed his officials to explore recognising popular Chinese pork rib dish bakuteh as a traditional Malaysian heritage food and noted how different versions of the dish with other ingredients have emerged.
According to the Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, bakuteh initially started out with pork, but as the trend grew in popularity, different types of bakuteh had emerged as well.
“There are bakuteh seafood, ayam (chicken), kambing (mutton). Of course, there are herbs as the base, then we add seafood, so we get bak kut teh seafood,” he said at a press conference today (June 13), adding that Malaysians must learn to celebrate the diversity of the traditional dishes belonging to all races.
“I think we must open up, we must be open-minded, not think so much about it as halal or non-halal. Can it be touched or not?
“I want to emphasise that my ministry will pay attention to all traditional foods of every ethnic group in the country equally.”
On Friday (June 9) Tiong had called for Malaysians to celebrate the diversity of food of all races, saying that bakuteh is a special dish that needs to be viewed not just from the perspective of race and religion but also its content and the way the dish is prepared.
“If they politicise this food issue, it will soon turn into incitement resulting in racial and religious divisions. This action could affect ethnic and religious unity in the country,” he pointed out in a statement on Twitter.
Tiong went on to stress that there is no concrete evidence that the dish hailed from Klang as the dish has gone on to become a favourite among many people around the world.
“Despite the fact that pork is the main ingredient in bakuteh, the halal version of the dish with chicken and seafood has been introduced thanks to the advent of technology and the rapid population growth,” he remarked.
“Similarly, Hokkien noodles containing pig fat oil can be replaced with chicken fat oil so that the dish can be enjoyed by more people.”
Tiong noted that his ministry’s aim is to incorporate as many cultural elements as possible from the different ethnic groups in Malaysia so that foreigners can learn more about the stories behind every culture in the country.
“Every ethnic culture has its own historical value and I hope that we all can continue to preserve this,” he added. – June 13, 2023
Main pic credit: Bernama