A recipe for roti prata labelled the staple food for many people in Southeast Asia as an “Asian flat croissant”.
The inappropriate labelling occurred in a Facebook post by Nyonya Cooking, a cooking website ironically dedicated to Southeast Asian food.
Promoting the prata as an “asian flat croissant”
In a post on Feb. 23, 2020, Nyonya Cooking posted an image with the recipe for making prata — also known as roti canai in Malaysia.
The post promoted the prata as an “Asian flat croissant” and went on to explain what prata is:
“A flatbread with Indian origins and is extremely loved in countries like Malaysia and Singapore. Usually eaten with dhal, fish or chicken curry, roti canai is sometimes served sweet with condensed milk, banana or even chocolate cream.”
Draws flak from Singaporeans and Malaysians
On Twitter, a reposted version of the “Asian flat croissant”, with the caption “in other, non political but still enraging news”, has drawn over 18,000 likes and 9,000 retweets.
in other, non political but still enraging news: pic.twitter.com/bbEFM7jL7c
— Dee 方传嫣 (@hellenus) February 23, 2020
One person cringed at the fancy name and said it reminded them of a recent episode, where someone called nasi lemak a “wickedly bad meal”.
On Nyonya Cooking’s Facebook page, some online commenters said they would prefer to avoid whitewashing the name of the dish, while others called for the page to respect the cuisine’s original name.
But not everyone is equally mad.
Some agreed that the name aptly describes the dish, and that their loved ones uses this term.
The page responded and clarified by saying:
“We just want to make a fun title for our marketing content to make it more relatable for our audiences who are not familiar with words such as canai, prata, parotta or paratha.”
While this might be a good enough justification for some, it should be pointed out that the extent of making a subject relatable, recognisable, and accessible is about the intent.
This description should be judged as to whether it can lead to greater understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asian food, or it simply serves as a substitute for the actual thing.
But the least it could have done was to provide roti prata’s other original names as it is known around Southeast Asia.
Top photos via Nyonya Cooking/Facebook