Nasi lemak, mee goreng and laksa. These are not the only food that define us as Malaysians, because of course, there is more to Malaysia than these cult-classics but Malaysians can’t go a week without their favourite Malaysian cuisine — causing much homesick amongst Malaysians who are settled abroad. Even if you could manage to find Malaysian food overseas, it would be really expensive and it would be nothing close to the real deal.
Well, this duo in New York have been making waves recently with their authentic Malaysian dishes in New York. News of their restaurant, Kopitiam came to light after their interview on Food Insider went viral on Twitter. Owned by Malaysian immigrant Kyo Pang, the interview depicts Pang as a gay person from Malaysia who was seeking refuge in the United States.
Apparently, there’s a huge story behind the formation of Kopitiam. The shop was at the risk of closing, so, Pang was joined by Moonlyn Tsai, her ex- business partner. For further information, Tsai is no longer with Kopitiam. This interview was filmed two years ago and first went up in January 2020 actually!
Although it’s an outdated interview which has resurfaced over a few issues pertaining the video, it still proves to show that Malaysian food is still popular amongst global foodies and a Malaysian restaurant in Broadway, New York is indeed a fascinating concept.
Now, for the issues in regards to the video, there were two of them in particular which irked Malaysians both far and wide. The first one was an accusation that gay people in Malaysia could be hanged. Although people from the LGBT community in Malaysia could face jail time and caning if caught having gay sex according to Section 377 of the Penal Code, hanging gay people have yet to be implemented in Malaysia — a great relief to be honest!
But the misinformation of the situation of LGBT people in Malaysia, albeit the fact that they are indeed treated terribly, is a huge let down, especially since it’s coming from a fellow Malaysian.
The second issue would be the fact that the reporter in the clip was seen eating the coconut rice dish nasi lemak using a pair of chopsticks! He also had the audacity to mention that it contained white rice instead of coconut rice.
Following this, an apology was posted a day after the interview resurfaced. The restaurant is waiting on Food Insider to either correct the video, titled Why Malaysian Family Recipes Are Key To This Café’s Success, or take it down altogether.
“We apologise for the information provided in the Food Insider interview, and we understand the anger you guys are feeling,” its statement said.
Issues aside, we are super proud of this Malaysian who has indeed made all of us proud. Having a restaurant in Broadway is no joke and we really wish the best for Pang and the Kopitiam team in their future endeavours.