The Issues and Challenges Faced by Malay Cuisine in the Foreign Market


  • Rahman Abdullah Universiti Teknologi MARA Cawangan Terengganu
  • Aniza Arifin Universiti Teknologi MARA Cawangan Terengganu
  • Azlina Samsudin Universiti Teknologi MARA Cawangan Terengganu
  • Sabaianah Bachok Universiti Teknologi MARA Cawangan Selangor
  • Harnizam Zahari Universiti Teknologi MARA Cawangan Terengganu



Assimilation, Cuisine, Food, Heritage, Malay Cuisine


The traditional food of a culture in a society is continuously inherited from the old generation to the new generation. The traditional element is an in-depth understanding of the function of each material, techniques of preparation, and the practice in our daily cooking. This understanding in the form of preparation, meal preparation, tips, use of certain equipment, and raw materials are mysteries difficult to be unravelled. The Malay cultural heritage food is an integral asset among Malaysians in general and the Malay race in particular. Malay cuisine is one of the special and unique blended of many traditions from around the region. However, when Malay culture and cuisine are introduced to other countries, they faced certain hurdles and challenges. This study investigates the issues and challenges faced by Malay cuisine in the foreign market. The points in question are, 1) Why are Malay cuisine difficult to be exported to other countries 2) Why Malay cuisine is less popular than cuisines from other countries? 3) What are the factors that make foods from a country of origin can be successfully exported? These issues and challenges will be parsed and discussed based on the existing written collection. Recommendations will be made on the mechanisms that enable the success of Malay cuisine food to be commercialized abroad, as well as future research examining the success factors of traditional food exported abroad.  


Ainuddin, A. H. (2013). Malaysia cuisine for professional student. Utusan Publication & Distribution Sdn Bhd, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

Barthes, R. (2008). Toward a psychosociology of contemporary food consumption. In C. Counihan and P. Van Esterik (Eds.), Food and culture (3rd ed., pp. 28-35). New York: Routledge.

Brissenden, R. (2003). South East Asian food. Australia. Hardie Grant Books.

Ceccarini, R. (2010). Food studies and sociology: a review focusing on Japan. AGLOS: Journal of Area-Based Global Studies, 1, 1-17.

Culinary Journeys. (2020, September 30). The world's 50 best foods. CNN Travel.

Current Population Estimates, Malaysia 2020. (2020, July 15). Department of Statistics Malaysia Official Portal.

Feenstra, R. C. & Taylor, A. M. (2008). International trade. New York: Worth Publishers.

Florek, M. & Conejo, F. (2007) Export flagships in branding small developing countries: The cases of Costa Rica and Moldova. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 3 (1), 53–72.

Goh, B. (2016, September 25). Heritage at risk: our traditional foods.

Gunkel, A. H. (2016). Food and culture. In G. A. Burns, Companion to popular culture (pp. 245-264). Malden: John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

Hutton, W., & TettonI, L.I. (2005). Authentic recipes from Malaysia: 62 easy-to-follow and delicious recipes from the crossroads of Asia. Singapore: Periplus Editions.

Issenberg, S. (2007). The Sushi economy–globalization and the making of a modern delicacy. Gotham Books, New York, NY.

Malay Mail. (2014, May 18). Ipoh woman lands UK MasterChef title with wonton soup and nasi lemak. Malay Mail.

Mamat, N. S. (2020, February 6). Resipi Nasi Lemak Bunga Telang rangkul emas, julang nama chef Malaysia di Ireland!. Astro Awani.

Mason, R. & Omar, A. (2003). The bumiputera policy: Dynamics and dilemmas. Kajian Malaysia. Journal of Malaysian Studies, 21(1 & 2), 1-12.

Mohd Zahari, M. S., Mohd Sharif, M. S., Md Noor, N. & Ishak, N. (2013). Malay traditional food knowledge and young generation practices. Science Series Data Report, 5 (4), 14-24.

Omar, S. R. & Omar, S. N. (2018). Malaysian heritage food (MHF): A review on its unique food culture, tradition and present lifestyle. International Journal of Heritage, Art and Multimedia, 1 (3), 01-15.

Perry, M. S. (2017). Feasting on culture and identity: Food functions in a multicultural and transcultural Malaysia. 3L: The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies, 23(4), 184 – 199.

Pinstrup-Andersen, P. (2002). Food and agricultural policy for a globalizing world: Preparing for the future. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 84(5), 1201-1214.

Rahman, S. A. (2010). Malay cultural and heritage tourism and heritage tourism at Bukit Chandan, Kuala Kangsar, Perak, Malaysia. UNITAR E-Journal, 6 (2), 54-64.

Raji, M. N. A, Ab Karim, M. S., Ishak, F. A. C. & Arshad, M. M. (2017). Past and present practices of the Malay food heritage and culture in Malaysia. Journal Ethnic Foods, 4 (2017), 221-231.

Satia-Abouta, J. (2003). Dietary acculturation: definition, process, assessment, and implications. International Journal of Human Ecology, 4(1), 71-86.

Sharif, M. S., Supardi, A., Ishak, N., & Ahmad, R. (2008). Malaysian food as a tourist attraction. Paper presented at The 1st Malaysian Gastronomic - Tourism Conference.

Smith, M. (2019, March 11). Italian cuisine is the world's most popular.

Strohl, M. (2019). On culinary authenticity. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 77:2 Spring 2019

Tan, D. (2004). Food from the heart: Malaysia's culinary heritage. Kuala Lumpur: Cross Time Matrix.

The Star Press Reader. (2019). Foreigners lack an appetite for our food. The Star.

Wahlqvist, M. L. (2002). Asian migration to Australia: Food and health consequences. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 11(3), 562-568.

Waldfogel, J. (2019). Dining out as cultural trade. Working Paper 26020. National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

Zainal, A., Zali, A. N., & Kassim, M. N. (2010). Malaysian gastronomy routes as a tourist destination, Journal of Tourism Hospitality and Culinary Arts, 1(2), 15-24.




Most read articles by the same author(s)