Malaysians are number one fans of their own cuisine – but other nations aren’t liking it that much, study finds


Tender chicken pieces grilled on a satay stick and the sweetness of an apam balik never fail to brighten a Malaysian’s day. This is the stuff dreams are made of right? Well, apparently, not for everyone.

A study of 24 countries has found that the biggest fans of Malaysian cuisine are none other than Malaysians themselves, with a whopping 97 per cent of them indicating that they like it.

But the love is not shared. The survey of 25,000 people by market research company YouGov also found that most people from other nations aren’t big on Malaysian cuisine. Among those who have tried Malaysian cuisine, less than half, or 48 per cent, indicated that they like it.

The study, which was published on Wednesday (March 13), was conducted across 24 countries.

Malaysian cuisine is the 20th most popular cuisine out of 34 national cuisines, YouGov said. Neighbouring Singapore and Indonesia didn’t fare too well either, at 18th and 19th spots (with the same score) on the list.

The top five cuisines globally are Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and French, while the least popular cuisines include Peruvian, Finnish, Saudi Arabian, Filipino and Norwegian foods.

Spanish cuisine is in sixth place, followed by American, Mexican, and Indian cuisines.

A large majority, or 84 per cent, of respondents said they enjoy Italian cuisine, with pizza and pasta being among the most popular foods.

Countries where a large majority of those who tried Malaysian food and did not like it include Finland, France, the US, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Italy.

Additionally, there were four Asian countries where less than half of the people said they like Malaysian cuisine. They include Vietnam (44 per cent), China (41 per cent), Thailand (34 per cent) and Japan (25 per cent).

Japan is also the least out of all the countries to enjoy foreign food.

Among them all, Italians are the least impressed by what Malaysia has to offer, with only 21 per cent of respondents there liking the food, followed by Spain at 24 per cent.

But on the bright side, there are many nationalities who appreciate Malaysian cuisine. Apart from Malaysians themselves, the second biggest fans of Malaysian cuisine are Singaporeans, with 91 per cent of them indicating that they like it.

Other countries which take a liking to Malaysian cuisine are all in Asia Pacific – the Philippines, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Indonesia, where more than 60 per cent of respondents said that they like it.

Each nation’s average attitude towards all 34 cuisines.

Malaysians’ most well-loved cuisine – apart from their own – is Thai, which 91 per cent of respondents said that they like, followed by Indonesian cuisine, with a rating of 80 per cent.

Tied in third place are Italian, Chinese and Singaporean cuisines, which 74 per cent of respondents indicated that they like.

The least favourite cuisine among Malaysians is Peruvian, which had a 19 per cent approval rating. This is followed by Argentinian (24 per cent) food, and Finnish and Brazilian (26 per cent) cuisines.

Read also: