Malaysian restaurants offer ‘nasi inflasi’ and budget meals as inflation bites

KUALA LUMPUR – Administration worker Muhammad Faizal Taib says he has struggled for the past two years to make do with his monthly budget of RM250 (S$78) for food.

But that has changed recently, thanks to the generosity of some food operators, who now offer “budget meals” for as little as RM3.50 per plate.

“It’s just a simple dish of rice, some vegetables and some protein but it’s enough to fill me up without burning a hole in my pocket,” he told the Straits Times.

Faizal is among those relying on economy meals offered by some restaurant and cafeteria operators, who have moved to help consumers ease the burden of food inflation.

In June, the country’s inflation, measured by the consumer price index, increased by 3.4% compared to the previous year. This was led by rising food prices. The price of groceries for home-cooked meals rose 6.1%, while the cost of restaurant meals rose 6.6%, according to government data released last Friday.

Roti canai (10.5%), rice with side dishes (9.7%), cooked beef (7.8%) and noodle dishes (7%) are among the staples with the higher price increases.

Despite rising raw material costs, a restaurant in Selangor decided to introduce “nasi inflamed” (puffing rice) to help customers cushion the blow.

Priced at RM5, the meal consists of rice, vegetables, eggs, sardine sambal and a glass of lemonade.

“Years ago, we offered ‘nasi bujang’ (budget rice) in our partner restaurant, which we closed just before Covid-19. It was a hit,” said Mr. Iskandar Azaman, owner of a Sköhns Canteen, a café selling Western sets. malaysian rice meal and meal.

“Now, with the price hike affecting a large part of the population, we thought it should come back better. So we came up with nasi inflamed,” he said.

normal nasi bujang” – usually rice, plain soup and a one-egg omelet – is not good enough, Mr Iskandar said.

“It shouldn’t look like you don’t have enough ingredients to make a meal, so we’ve released an upgraded version – rice, sardine sambal, a fried egg, cucumber slices and a glass of lemonade,” he said.

“It’s a wholesome healthy meal. You have carbs, protein, veggies and it’s something you’re happy to order, not because it’s cheap and you don’t have money,” he said.

Echoing the same sentiment, restaurant owner Jaizah Jaafar said it was a win-win situation for all.

“People need food and we want business, so we have to meet them halfway. At the rate we’re going, it’s good enough if we’re able to survive after paying our commitments,” he said. she declared.

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