Sun, Nov 05, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Initiative to tantalize taste-buds abroad

AP , KUALA LUMPUR

Move over, Thai tom yum and Japanese sushi.

Malaysia is cooking up a scheme to tantalize foreign taste-buds with its homegrown curries, noodles and rice dishes by opening 8,000 Malaysian restaurants worldwide by 2015, a report said.

"We hope that if the project is successful, Malaysia's name will be more renowned globally," Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said late on Friday while launching the project titled "Malaysia: The Truly Asian Kitchen," national news agency Bernama reported.

Under the initiative, the government will help Malaysian entrepreneurs open food outlets overseas, especially in the US and Europe, by providing loans, tax cuts and promotional backing, Najib said, according to the report.

"We will not be rigid about the menu, as long as it is Malaysian cuisine and the restaurant has a Malaysian ambiance," Najib added. "We want them to be creative."

Malaysians consider their country a culinary paradise, with delicacies that showcase the heritage of multi-ethnic Malay, Chinese and Indian communities. But many complain that Malaysian eateries are scarce abroad and foreigners are more familiar with dishes from other Asian nations.

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