31 January 2004

Malaysians enjoy chicken dishes despite
Asian bird flu

By Channel NewsAsia's Malaysia Correspondent
Melissa Goh

KUALA LUMPUR : Despite concerns of bird flu infections in parts of Asia, chicken dishes are still widely enjoyed by most Malaysians.
Some of Kuala Lumpur's famous chicken rice outlets continue to report roaring business.
Hainanese chicken rice has long been a popular dish among many Malaysians.
It is also a hot favourite among the urban lunch crowd.
Customers can opt for steamed or roasted chicken on buttered rice, and it often comes with a bowl of chicken soup on the side.
Nothing beats a wholesome chicken rice meal during lunch-time rush hours.
At US$1 per serving, it is cheap, simple yet sumptuous. In fact it has long become a staple food for many Malaysians.
Despite the bird flu scare, many locals including some foreigners cannot resist its temptation.
Ms Valerie Tucker, a Tourist, said: "No, I don't think it needs to be a concern unless it is epidemic proportion in the particular country where you are."
Mr Ahmed Husni, a Malaysian, said: "At the beginning, I have doubt also about eating chicken rice but we think since the flu was not here yet in Malaysia probably it would be safe, if it is not safe I am sure this place will be closed already."
Mr Alan Seow has been selling chicken rice for 15 years.
His shop, located along a busy street in Kuala Lumpur, easily sells over 5,000 servings a day.
So far, he has not seen a drop in demand.
Mr Seow, Proprietor of BB Chicken Rice Shop, said: "There is no outbreak in Malaysia, why should we be worried about that? Let the authority do their part, as long as there is no outbreak in Malaysia, we have full confidence in our chicken which is locally produced."
Nevertheless, Mr Seow admits that should the worst occur, the results will be devastating for Malaysia.
Mr Seow said: "It will be a very serious thing that will cripple the entire chicken rearing industry, and also deprive us of one of our main staple food. The chain reaction is going to affect a lot of Malaysians if there is an outbreak."
But until then, it is business as usual as Malaysians continue to tuck into their favourite chicken rice dish, while closely watching the bird flu development in the affected countries. - CNA

Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"