Will price hikes dampen demand for street food?


Will the Barang Naik phenomenon result in fewer people patronising street food – and turning to healthier home-cooked food at home instead (but even home-cooked food is getting expensive as a cursory glance at prices at the wet market will confirm)?

Or will the higher-end restaurants be the ones that suffer if their customers desert them and turn to cheaper street food options?

One reason for the hike in food prices is that Malaysia does not have self-sufficiency in our basic food supply. We are too busy building expensive condos and houses instead of providing our people with affordable food.

Thanks to blog reader Kumaran for this link.

Thanks to blog visitor Smart GrandDaddy for the video links.

So tell us, are you cutting back on eating out?

READ MORE:  Five Malaysian entries in the 'Top 50 World Street Food Masters' list
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  1. Najib wants us to thank BN when Kankung price goes down. NST wants us to know that KR1M has cheaper prices than hypermarkets. Good materials for Raja Lawak contestants…

  2. I heard it is now a SOP in Penang hawker centre that at least one customer at the table must order beverage (no outside drink allowed) or charges will be made?

  3. I cannot understand why those BN flers (especially Pemuda Umno) is so zealous in ‘pantau harga makanan’ (monitor food price) at hawker centres and school canteens. Do you expect these petty traders to make lots of money when every barang naik including utilities (electricity, gas) and their raw ingredients?


    These BN flers should ask why IPPs and toll operators get special treatment, and cause barang naik downstream affecting all petty traders!

    • Last nite Astro Awani Analisis had panel discussion with the usual politically correct professor discussed at length on the price hike of bas sekolah and school canteen food, hoe rakyat now has more beban and hiw BR1M can help them etc…

      Why never question the source of barang naik brought by utilities and petrol price hike? Why not ask IPPs and Tenaga?

      • Astro Awani is another TV3, the talk shows are skewed to influence the Malay audience that BN and Umno are good for them. Those enlightened Malays must caution their parents and kampung folks.

  4. Britain’s The Guardian Newspaper just ranked Penang at #8 in global holiday hotspots in 2014.
    Sometimes you can’s avoid feeling that Mat Salleh enjoy Penang because their pounds can stretch over 5 times purchasing power hence everything appears damm cheap ?
    Now we fear cost-saving Caucasians to swarm Kimberley Street stalls and cause further hike in meal prices !
    fyi Taiwan’s iwalker program dedicated one show solely on Kimberley Street food in December (to be shown over Astro AEC later) and you bet Taiwanese audience will compete with locals for so-called “heavenly” meals like “spare-parts” kuih-chiap soup……. sign of menu price increase in near future ?


    8. George Town, Malaysia
    Once George Town was named a Unesco world heritage site in 2008, the capital of the Malaysian state of Penang began changing into one of south-east Asia’s hottest destinations. Penangites are renovating everything from Chinese mansions to old factories, which means there’s something for all budgets – delicious street food or fine dining; funky hostels or boutique hotels. The latest spot is the Three Sixty Degree Sky Bar. Follow drinks there with either a plate of spicy duck soup from one of the stalls on Kimberley Street or gourmet Penang Nyonya cuisine at Seven Terraces, the restaurant everyone wants to be seen at. In addition to the month-long George Town festival (1-31 August), this year the city will host the first south-east Asian edition of Tropfest (20-25 January, free), the world’s biggest short film festival.

    • If our economy is good, why then our Rinngit suffers the worst fall in value since the economic crisis of 1997?

      Depreciated Ringgit is good news for foreign tourists to Malaysia in Visit Malaysia 2014 (and will help Nazri’s KPI) but bad news for rakyat with eroding purchasing power.

      My neighbor’s son is packing for Singapore to work after CNY. I guess more will do so as SingDollar now 2.57x of Ringgit.

  5. For those who love home-cooked food, being prepared before heading to the store is the best way to make sure you stick to your grocery shopping budget because it pays to plan. However, I do believe that street food is still the choice of many Malaysians despite the price hikes.

    • Once a Tham Chiah Kui, always a Tham Chiah Kui wherever you are.
      This Penang street hawker food is one strategic state asset no street food lovers would deny, no matter how poor or hungry. Only the wannabe restaurant foreigner chefs will envy in distress.

      Home cooked street hawker cuisine:
      How to cook a bowl of Hokkien Mee at home when the ingredients + recipes have to be prepared with some skills? Even Ibumie Mee Har Mee doesn’t come close to Penang Ori-Maestro Hokkien Mee served by the roadside / 5-foot way. Thee same for other street hawker cuisine.

      And no restaurants to date can match the Penang Ori-Maestros. Perhaps, heavenly street hawker cuisine is destined to be served in the streets of Penang, not SingLand, not SS2.

  6. What dampens my appetite towards street food is the number of times the cooking oil is recycled especially for fried food. Take a good look at the cooking oil at your favourite stall next time, you can mistaken them for soy sauce with the ‘darkened’ look, not to mention cancer-causing probability.

    • People the world over (tourists & street food lovers) remember Penang for its irresistible + heavenly street hawker cuisine in heritage ambience (that’s more in the streets) (not fast food, not Korean / Japanese / Hk foreign fusions) more than its political one-upmanship of an arrogant cat.
      Who cares who boss over the island except satisfying their desire for truly Asian gastronomical delights.
      Only the Vietnamese foreign workers would love skinning, cooking & devouring a stray cat, straying from its cat principles.

    • Hawkers likely to resort to inferior ingredients and recycled cooking oil to maintain profit margin. So the risk factors increased if you consume too much such food.

      • Restaurants (HK, Korean & fusions) may have to engage cheap Nigerians as black samba chefs to enrich their fusion servings with praying for more business attraction.
        Local street hawkers don’t trust (some of these foreigners), so I am assured of original recipes served healthy, sans prayers & heavenly pure.

  7. With the Barang Naik government, every household must learn how to be efficient in the kitchen, to begin with.

    When you buy a whole chicken, you can divide the chicken into 3 portions.
    The feet, the wings, neck and the ribs you make soup. The thighs and legs you can cook whatever dish you want and the two sides of breast you can just slice it and can make into other dishes, for eg. cook with beans or vegies or even for fried rice the next day or just freeze it.

    If you live in terrace houses you can plant your own vegies, some veg or herbs are quite easy to grow. Even you live in apartment you can do that, grow them in pots, my cousin does that.

    No point moan and groan, vote lah beramai ramai Barang Naik government comes GE14 !

  8. I think we will even have to import more foodstuff from oversea in the near foreseeable future. Just recently hiking up from the Air Itam Dam I took a rest at the half way rest hut which goes down to Balik Pulau, Sg Pinang Batu Feringgh area & Ngoh Han temple. The whole areas are surrounded by the govt forest reserve overlooking the dam and overlooking Balik Pulau are orchards and vegetable farms. Then I notice a recent sign just put up. It read ` If you have land for sale please contact me at h/p no. …………….

    If this area is being sold and developed, I dread the day there will be not much left of countryside and natural surrounding for us anymore. With the development there will be less and less vegetable farms and orchard. And a Casino at Penang Hill will finish off the serene and natural surrounding once and for all. I hope the Federal govt will not grant the casino permit. Have you hike to No 3 at the Youth Park. There is a sign which say, This is private property and we give you permission to hike for the time being. It will be developed soon so go and discuss with the State Govt for an alternative area for your hiking pleasure.

    With this not only will we be deprived of the natural & serene surrounding for rest and recreation, we will have less and less areas for farming which will inevitably led to import and an increase in the price of foodstuff. And no thanks to our Cheap Minister LGE who in his overdrive for the developers development without any consideration and concern for the people and environment.

    • It seems cosmopolitan development in the minds of some must include casinos, theme parks, high end condos, international brand shopping centres & overt-slippery-cleaned branded food courts serving overtly-priced food & beverages.
      Austerity sermon is but a conveniently timed public relation exercise for bashing Putrajaya after which the wanton splurging of high society lifestyle is encouraged beyond speakable words. “We don’t have to go to” in order to have a casino right here (at Penang Hill?) smacks of irresponsible attitude to pristine environment, Pg household incomes & indulgence that don’t improve the socio-economic pragmatism of Penangites in general.

  9. How lower income people will cope:

    1. Downgrade from Kancil to motorbikes
    2. Eat out less, bring home-cooked food to work for lunch
    3. Go to govt health clinics and public hospitals for treatment
    4. School kid will bring food from home to eat and avoid the school canteen
    5. Put off less essential home repairs
    6. Take a second job and “moonlight”
    7. Children will have to drop out of school to work and supplement the family income
    8. Some will join extremist social movements
    9. Some will turn to crime
    10. More domestic violence at home as people take out their frustrations on spouse and children
    11. More indebtedness — resulting in growth of loan shark industry, more suicides related to
    financial problems
    12. More mental health problems, including substance abuse e.g. alcohol abuse
    13. More internal migration as well as emigration to foreign countries for employment-related reasons

    (My thoughts — based on the experience of Greece)

    • Phua, For your info many earning 5-7k and driving Accord, Camry & Vios etc also go to govt hospital & clinic for treatment and also applying for free text book for their children.

      • Maybe those earning 5-7k are also feeling the pinch and the hefty fees at private hospitals are increasingly beyond their budgets?

    • If I am a luxury car dealer with socially sensitive ‘hidden’ side interests in other businesses, I can, to mitigate conspiracy theory, still afford to give ‘heavy’ but shiok-shiok discounts for my ‘selected’ marques knowing that not many can afford to buy them which on paper can make my discount offer ‘unprofitable’. I can still limit my stocks in a given short time to limit my ‘losses’, which is to make up for my gains in my hidden side interests in the longer run. Who in their right business mind will give near 30% discount sans sales tax?
      Chinese Businessmen Tactic: “Liah tng pua” which means – apparently to loss now, but definitely to gain more in future transactions.

      Conspiracy Theory: If such unethical business tactics corrupt political management, what future holds for the majority who cannot even think of marques, left alone an affordable roof & 3 meals.

      • tunglang at spare time can write a fiction tale and publish it on internet. A Penang Conspiracy Theory ala Dan Brown’s sure a hit with local readers yearning for spicy imaginable details with botak hill and horse turfing as backdrops and ori-maestro salivating dishes in between the thrilling showdowns between corrupted forces vs people power ???

        May be anilnetto.com can expand the scope to include juicy e-novels section to encourage more readerships and at same time provides the means to meet escalating living costs for some ‘novelists” ?

      • Amid austerity measures, pro-UMNO bloggers are questioning whether PM Najib is now jetting across the country in a new luxury aircraft.In blog postings by, among others, Big Dog and RockyBru, they pointed to an Airbus ACJ320 with tail number 9H-AWK using the call number, “Perdana 2″ or “NR2″ – which incidentally are similar to Najib’s initials.The aircraft is registered in Malta and leased from aviation group Comlux.


      • Give me a financier & sponsors & I will come out with a surreal movie script with Captain Francis Light in the old world cast & Chow Yun-Fat as The Cosmo Tokong. Serious.

    • Moral of the story:
      Learn from an accountant. Buy when you get discounted price knowing that Barang Naik will mean it will cost more later especially those European goods as our Ringgit is on downward slope of depreciation.

      I shall purchase my iPad soon knowing that Apple will hike the price because of the lowering Ringgit.

  10. From past experience, there will be some shifts. Typically the lower priced products will enjoy long term growth but the higher priced items will get less available ..People too lazy to cook..

  11. Monday – Friday eat at home. Sat/Sun eat out. Once a month eat in restaurant.
    That`s the area where Tunglang get his kopi kau kau

    • My affordability+desire threshold for Kopi-O kau kau is Rm1.00 or Kopi kau kau @ Rm1.20.
      Beyond that is insanity of beverage enjoyment that will cull my addiction of purist desire.
      My alternative choice is to brew my own price-untainted Kopi:
      Buy a Kopi bean grinder, Kopi beans from Little India & start a little kopitiam corner in my home kitchen reserved for my daily enjoyment & ‘creative juice supplement’.
      As for street hawker food, I will still support my favourite Ori-maestros though not as frequent food binges as before. (Have to save enough to get my purist classic-retro Nikon Df for my purist retro-art photography pursuit this year).
      With inevitable price increases esp for food, our state gomen is still stubbornly pursuing bin chui developments & pursuits while some denizens will go hungry in the near future. There is no (strategic) green vision for own food production including strategic ingredient-food support for street food industry notwithstanding the flat lands in Seberang which can be prioritised for alternative agro-based industries. Instead, the land greed of developers is left unchecked in the name of free market frenzy making Seberang lands more expensive than before. This is an unsustainable way of Cosmopolitan Penang Syndrome which incidentally favours the 1% haves at the expense of the have-nots majority.
      If you drool MercS300L day & night, what space in your limited brain will be productively & purposefully occupied for strategic thinking expected of a state leadership?

      Time for Kopi-O kau kau to start-jump my creative thinking cramped with last night’s dreams.

  12. Find out why the cost of food is rising fast in Malaysia, with some items as much as 50 more expensive than last year in this BBC report:


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