Bah kut teh can be national dish if made with chicken, says deputy minister

Ravin Palanisamy

Bah kut teh is traditionally made of pork and innards. – Wikipedia pic, June 7, 2023.

THE Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) will consider listing bak kut teh as a national heritage dish if it is made with chicken instead of pork.

This is because a national dish must be edible to all Malaysians, Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan said.

“If bak kut teh is made with chicken, then maybe it (can be listed as a national dish),” the Batu Sapi MP told the Dewan Rakyat today.

He was responding to a supplementary question from Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah (Langkawi-PN), who asked if Malaysia would recognise bak kut teh as a heritage dish. 

“The last time I checked, bak kut teh is not even on the list of the 30 most popular local foods.

“I saw nasi lemak, kuih bahulu, gula melaka, ketupat, char kuey teow, bubur nasi, moon cake, muruku, tosai, idli, putu payam on the list. But no bak kut teh,” he said. 

Suhaimi’s question came after Tebrau MP Jimmy Puah asked if the ministry was agreeable to putting bak but teh on the list of national heritage dishes. 

Puah said this would prevent other countries from claiming the dish as their own. He said he was “angered” by a documentary which had questioned whether the dish had originated in Klang or in a neighbouring country. 

Khairul reiterated that a national heritage dish should be be edible to all Malaysians. 

Bak kut teh is a popular dish of herbal soup with pork and innards served with rice.

It is occasionally made with chicken, called “chik kut teh”. – June 7, 2023.

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