10 Unpleasant Things I’ve Observed About Outside FOOD IN MALAYSIA

  1. Rojak seller in PJ scratching his toes when there were no customers – Did he wash and scrub his hands before preparing rojak for his next customer? I doubt it. Is it a common practice for food stall operators in Malaysia to use gloves? No either!
  2. Worker washing vegetables on the cement floor (no basin, directly on the floor!) – This was done on the floor under the sink where people stepped on with their shoes. I saw it in a food court in Seri Kembangan in the late afternoon when they were preparing to open for business in the evening.
  3. Chicken rice seller wiping the sweat on her arm with the same cloth used to dry the plates – Witnessed in Sri Damansara. The lady boss was wiping the plates which had just been washed when she conveniently wiped away the sweat on her arm using the same cloth on that hot day. Some customers would’ve got extra salty chicken rice that day!
  4. Garlic/cili padi put back into a container to be served again – Happened in a Chinese restaurant in Sri Petaling. They would give customers chopped garlic/cili padi in a medium-sized saucer to be shared at the same table, from which the customers would use their own spoons to transfer to either their individual plates or smaller saucers. They took the unused garlic/cili padi left by the customers sitting at the table before me, and poured them back into the main container. We do take a lot of strangers’ saliva when we eat outside, don’t we?
  5. Many kitchen staff of restaurants don’t wash hands after using the toilet – I’ve seen this many times – kitchen staff in uniform walk out straight from the toilet after using the urinals. Even if they are off-duty, I suspect it’s a habit!
  6. Dried meat mincer was full of worms hidden inside – I didn’t see this myself but I heard about it from a relative. He was a technician repairing a dried meat (bak kwa) mincer. When he dismantled the cover he saw it was full of worms! He has stopped eating this CNY delicacy ever since, and relates this story to loved ones when he sees them eat it.
  7. Spoon dropped on the floor was put back on the table to be used by guest – Took place at a 5-Star hotel in Bukit Bintang! The waiter just put the spoon back on the table without changing or cleaning it. Unfortunately for him, his action was caught by the event organiser. The manager who got the complaint found out who the culprit was during the debrief and reprimanded him.
  8. Plain water in water dispenser filled straight from the tap – I saw this in the kitchen of a resort in Malacca when I was walking past. The worker was using a hose connected to the main tap at the washing sink. When he saw me, he quickly pretended to spray the water on the floor! Let’s stop thinking that hotels and resorts value their guests so much that they serve us filtered/distilled/reverse-osmosis drinking water.
  9. Food placed on old newspaper – I believe this is still widely practised in many eateries. I personally witnessed it at the nasi lemak stall in a school in Kepong (fried chicken being put on old newspaper to absorb the excessive oil) and a wantan mee stall in Petaling Street (wrapped wantans being placed on old newspaper). Acceptable? Of course not! Newspaper are often brought into the toilet for reading, used to smack insects, full of dust/carbon, etc.
  10. Whole packet of MSG being poured into the pot of soup – Again this is a common practice. If I’m not mistaken, it was a 1-kg packet being emptied into the pot by the cook of a noodle stall in Ampang.

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