By Abdullah Bogus (with photos)
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13 (KUNA) -- Continuous widespread and popularity of Arabic restaurants in Malaysia in recent years has attracted tourists and visitors, specifically of Arab nationality, prompting Arab investors to open more restaurants that serve Arabic cuisine in light of the Malaysian economic openness to foreign investors.
Interestingly, most of these restaurants share one name in common; Hadhramaut, a historic region in southern Yemen, serving Yemeni cuisine as the main central theme of their food menu.
For example, there are series of "Hadramawt" franchise restaurants across the Malaysian capital, as well as "Wadi Hadramawt", "Mandi Hadramawt", "Layali Hathramut", "Tareem Hadramawt", and others that carry the name of the ancient Yemeni city in their name titles, an indication of popularity of Yemenis' food in the Malaysian society and success of their investments in the country.
Yaser Faisal Noaman, the Yemeni manager of "Wadi Hadramawt" restaurant, said to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that when he thought of investing in Malaysia; he found that Yemeni cuisine, especially "Mandi", a mutton rice meal, was very popular among locals, prompting him to consult with many from the Hadhrami community in Malaysia, a group of Yemeni-Malaysians who were originally inhabitants of Hadhramaut region and migrated to Malaysia in the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries, about the idea of opening a restaurant, which carries the name "Hadhramaut" in order to transfer the real Yemeni culture to the Malaysian society.
He said that they liked the idea and encouraged him to do so, providing him and his partners all sorts of facilities and support.
For his part, Bilal Nader, the Lebanese general manager of "Hadramawt" restaurant, mentioned to KUNA that the positive reputation and popularity of Yemeni cuisine in Malaysia was the reason behind naming the restaurant after the historic Yemeni region, noting that despite presence of many restaurants named after the Yemeni city, they do not fall within the main "Hadramawt" franchise restaurants that he manages.
Also, Retha Mohammad Rasheed, the Iraqi owner of "Layali Hathramut", indicated that he had chosen to include the name of the ancient Middle Eastern region to the title name of his restaurant in order to attract local Malaysians as Yemeni food is generally very famous in Malaysia, pointing out at the same time that Yemeni cuisine has become an integral part of the Malaysian culture.
In addition, Mohammad Nathari Kamal, Malaysian citizen, explained to KUNA that the name "Hadhramaut" is frequently mentioned among Malaysians as it is directly linked to Arabs, adding that it has also a major historic place famous among Malaysian people as it is linked to Hadhrami Arabs, who came to Malaysia as traders and advocators, spreading the Islamic religion across the Malay Archipelago in the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries.
He pointed out, "Historically, Hadhrami Yemenis had captured the hearts of our grandfathers by their good manners, behaviors, and attitudes, leading them to embrace the religion of Islam as a result of that good behavior," adding at the same time, "In this era, Yemenis continue to capture our hearts and minds with their cuisine, filling our stomachs with their delicious and gourmet food, which became an integral part of the Malaysian culture." (end) aab.ma KUNA 131425 Dec 13NNNN