KOTA BHARU, Jan 7 (Sin Chew Daily) — As the Ministry of Health bans the use of staples, nails and other hazardous items to pack food, restaurants in Kelantan will no longer pack their Nasi Sumatera with nails.
Nasi Sumatera, also known as Nasi Paku, has become famous and popular because of the nails.
One of the unique features of Kelantan’s Nasi Sumatera is the use of nails to pin packets of rice for takeaway.
In fact, the ban is timely as operators are relieved that they can stop using nails because nails are becoming more expensive over the years.
A check with a restaurant selling Nasi Sumatera in Jalan Tok Hakim showed that the restaurant had replaced nails with rubber bands since last Saturday (Jan 1).
A restaurant worker told Sin Chew Daily the nails are an icon associated with Nasi Sumatera and there was no case of people accidentally swallowing the nails used to pack the rice.
As nail is good to hold up a packed rice and has been used by most restaurants and traders selling Nasi Sumaterain the state.
Nasi Sumatera is also known as Nasi Paku. (paku means nail in Malay), said trader Mohamad Ibrahim at Berek 12 Kota Bharu.
He replaced nails with rubber bands five or six years back due to ther increase in price of nails.
“Nails used to be sold at less than RM20 a pack, but now the price for a box of nails has increased to RM80.”
By 11am, Mohamad Ibrahim’s shop starts to see patrons lining up, waiting for the restaurant to open at 11.30am.
Saharuddin, a patron, said although Mohamad Ibrahim had stopped using nails to pack the food, he would still buy Nasi Sumatera from him..
Restaurant Hover, another Nasi Sumatera seller, replaced nails with rubber bands two weeks ago and it is now still adjusting to the change, said operator Hasan Abdul Rahim.
“One nail is good enough to hold up a pack of rice in a steady manner. We have to use two pieces of rubber bands now instead of one,” he said.
The Ministry of Health posted a statement on Facebook and Twitter warning that staples, nails and other hazardous items were bad for packing food and violators could be prosecuted in the court.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said if convicted, the offender would face a maximum fine of RM10,000, a jail term of up to two years, or both.