A Malaysian restaurant in New York today apologized over a Food Insider interview that contained wrong information, including that Malaysians could get hanged for being gay.
Kopitiam, owned by Malaysian immigrant Kyo Pang, posted the apology a day after the interview resurfaced and irked hundreds of viewers over its misrepresentation of Malaysia and local cuisine. The restaurant is waiting on Food Insider to either correct the video, titled Why Malaysian Family Recipes Are Key To This Café’s Success, or take it down altogether.
“We apologize for the information provided in the Food Insider interview, and we understand the anger you guys are feeling,” its statement said.
The interview painted Pang as a gay person from Malaysia who was seeking refuge in the United States, where she started her restaurant and was later joined by someone named Moonlyn Tsai in order to help her avoid closing shop. Other than Tsai inaccurately saying that gay people in Malaysia could be hanged, the reporter in the clip also received flak for eating the coconut rice dish nasi lemak using a pair of chopsticks, and mentioning that it contained white rice instead coconut rice. The interview was filmed two years ago and first went up in January 2020, but there was no public outcry then.
“The video was made [two] years ago and the person who provided the political commentary gave wrong info about LBGTQ in Malaysia,” the statement added. Tsai is no longer with Kopitiam, which serves Malaysian favorites like traditional coffee, and is located on Broadway. Pang has been living in the U.S since 2008.
Malaysians face jail and caning if they are caught having gay sex, according to Section 377 of the Penal Code. Nevertheless, Pang is still proud of her home country.
“Kyo Pang is always proud to be a Malaysian that’s why she wanted to introduce to more people about Malaysia food that’s very underrepresented,” Kopitiam’s statement said.