PETALING JAYA: Malaysian food unites its people just as sporting heroes do, and Prime Minister Najib Razak did not miss the chance to mention both in his national day speech at the Putra World Trade Centre on Tuesday night.
Being more specific though, Najib placed the Ipoh-based Nasi Vanggey stall on the pedestal as a national icon alongside three-time Olympic silver-medallist Lee Chong Wei and celebrity cartoonist Lat, in being able to unite the people.
Calling them “icons of unity”, the prime minister even took it a step further by having the nasi kandar from Nasi Vanggey delivered to the PWTC as well as to his residence in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur, The Star reported today.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we think this would happen,” the manager of Nasi Vanggey, Mohamed Niathullah Syed Mustafa, told the daily, referring to the name of his stall being mentioned during Najib’s speech, which was also broadcast live on TV.
“For him to call us icons of unity is a big honour,” Niathullah was quoted as saying by the daily.
He also shared how it transpired that he delivered the famous nasi kandar, which has come to be known simply as “nasi vanggey”, from his stall to the prime minister on Tuesday night.
“We were told to pack and deliver packets of our nasi kandar to PWTC in Kuala Lumpur at first, for it to be served after the PM’s national day speech.
“But suddenly, they asked us to get ready for the event itself, and we were shocked when we were there and he mentioned nasi vanggey in his speech,” Niathullah said, according to The Star.
Niathullah said he and his son-in-law, Sajid Assan, who accompanied him to KL, were both honoured by the special mention by Najib, and were later asked to make a special delivery to the prime minister’s residence in Jalan Duta, KL.
“He was surprised to see us making the delivery ourselves. We chatted for a while and when he took a bite, he immediately said that this was the best food.
“He also said our food was cheap. Imagine paying RM4.80 for chicken, rice, curry and vegetables. He said it is affordable for many people,” Niathullah said, according to The Star.
The Nasi Vanggey business, which is operated under the name Perniagaan Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah, has its roots to the same year that Malaysia got its independence.
“The business has been around since 1957, and because we are an Indian-Muslim stall operating from a Chinese coffee shop, it makes us all the more unique.”