THE seemingly never-ending food war between Malaysia and Singapore has again flared up with new battle lines drawn over what constitutes a proper ‘vadai’.
A Singapore-based snack shop provocatively named ‘The Original Vadai’ – has stirred the hornet’s nest with its creative takes on the humble vadai.
Traditionally made with urad dhal and deep-fried in small doughnut shape, the Indian vegetarian snack is a firm favourite among many Malaysians as a breakfast or teatime treat but the Original Vadai, which has an outlet in the Bukit Bintang area of Kuala Lumpur has been inventive with a series of fusion-like offerings.
Customers are offered a variety of new takes on this popular snack with anchovies and prawns as added ingredients, giving the formerly vegetarian vadai a brand new look and taste.
A video review on Malaysia Speaks site has already garnered over 300,000 views and as expected generated a lot of heated discussions.
@malaysianspeaks Ngilu tengok orang gigit cili, tapi lepas try, sumpah min nak repeat lagi lepas ni kat @theoriginalvadaimy #theoriginalvadaimy #fyp #bestfoodinkl ♬ original sound – Malaysian Speaks
“This is not vadai, it is cucur udang. Do not misinterpret and modify our original recipe,” said TikTok user Hema Jeremiah.
Another TikTok user also doubted if it was an actual vadai.
“Haha original? Looks like a scam. Sorry guys (it) looks ok but it does not look like vadai,” said TikTok user vkk.
Others who have actually tried the dish advised netizens not to jump to hasty conclusions.
“So many are arguing, I guess vadai from Singapore and Malaysia are different. And it is just the name of the shop but why are you arguing?” said TikTok user Izzah.
Why netizens and foodies can’t just enjoy and applaud the outlet’s attempts at updating a much-loved traditional snack. Taste is subjective, but surely culinary endeavours to introduce something new to local palates should be applauded.
However, using the word ‘original’ in its moniker is a direct provocation to overly-sensitive locals who take (too much?) pride in their cuisine.
While netizens get their knickers in a knot over what constitutes an ‘original’ vadai, it should be gently pointed out that the snack’s origin is from the sub-continent of India, not Malaysia nor its neighbour from across the Causeway.
Efforts to get the High Commission of India to comment have been futile. – Oct 6, 2023
Main photo credit: TikTok