Coming to Netflix next Friday (April 26) is a mouthwatering series on street food in Asia – but slighted Malaysians are already feeling salty before the first episode has aired.
The Street Food series – produced by the creators of Netflix’s other smash-hit food show, Chef’s Table – will “document the blood, sweat and tears” that go into iconic street foods, Netflix said in a statement on Thursday (April 11).
It picked street hawkers from nine of “the world’s most colorful cities” – Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, Japan, Korea and Taiwan – to profile in the show’s first season.
Among the featured hawkers are Mbah Lindu, a 100-year-old Indonesian hawker, and Japanese street izakaya owner Toyoji Chikumoto, who cooks with a flamethrower instead of a stove.
According to Netflix’s statement, four Singaporean dishes will find their way onto the show: wonton noodles made by the late Tang Siu Nam, chilli crab by KEK Seafood, and chicken rice from Sin Kee Chicken Rice.
Also featured is putu piring, a steamed rice cake filled with palm sugar, made by professional pastry chef Aisha Hashim, whose family owns Michelin Guide-approved Haig Road Putu Piring.
Netflix added that Singapore had a “rich diversity of ethnic groups”, resulting in a street food culture “unlike any other place in the world”.
Singapore’s hawker cuisine shares many similarities with neighbouring Malaysia, prompting Malaysians – many who felt their hawker heritage was older and richer – to lament the country’s exclusion from the lineup.
Many took to social media to air their unhappiness over Netflix’s decision.
Even gordan ramsey came over to malaysia to eat our delicious food… what have you done netflix? Never tried our prawn mee before? pic.twitter.com/R3ZiUsFEw1
— Dixon Cheng (@ChengDixon) April 13, 2019
yup, cuz Singapore got STREET food !! maybe can call it as FOOD COURT food instead. Come on la. end up, all the food u are making is Malaysian ones 😴😴😴
— amanda (@amanda_daeny) April 11, 2019
One netizen even tagged Malaysia’s tourism minister, Mohammadin Ketapi, to ask why.
@MKetapi what has the tourism ministry been doing when almost every country in SEA has been chosen except ours?
— Paul Ooi (@psunster) April 11, 2019
Notably, it wasn’t just Malaysians who complained – Twitter users from other countries also voiced their surprise that the country’s hawkers were not included in the show.
I’m Filipino and I’m shocked that Malaysia is not included!! It’s like making a show about US barbecue and not include Tennessee
— Chubby Alonso (@jiffjerky) April 11, 2019
I am a Saudi Arabian And i think Malaysia should be included and competing hardly to win
I had never enjoyed street foods till i lived in KL
Malaysia deserves the best place
— Fahad Al-ogaili (@Fahad_alogaili) April 11, 2019
im an australian.. malaysia should be included because there has variety of delicious food.
— Luqman (@Luqmvnnn) April 14, 2019
And at least one Malaysian had a theory that the country was snubbed due to Malaysia’s defence of the palm oil industry in the face of a ban on the product by European lawmakers.
Is this because of the palm oil boycot thingy?
— noraariella (@noraariella) April 12, 2019