Malaysian breakfast specials – Getting value for money [Opinion]

 

A good Malaysian breakfast of 2 eggs, toasts and coffee

It is said that a good and proper breakfast is important to start a day. We should eat like a king for breakfast. I personally try to have a good breakfast before work. On the odd occasions that I do eat outside, I would have a breakfast special at any of the chain restaurants available. Usually, a breakfast special would combine different dishes and are priced slightly less than the items individually. That is a common practice here in Malaysia particularly.

Recently I went to a local restaurant chain which charges RM8.88 (before GST of 6%) for a breakfast special of toasted bread, 2 boiled eggs and beverage of coffee or tea. That I thought was also value for money. I then went again after about 2 weeks, and I noticed that the menu had changed. A new menu has been introduced. When I asked, I was told that the old menu was out of date as they have introduced new food items and taken out some less popular items from the menu.

As I thought the breakfast special was good value, I asked for a breakfast special. I was told that the special is still RM8.88, but consist of a main dish and a beverage. To have 2 boiled eggs as an add-on, we have to pay an additional RM2.00. Now, that sounds like a price increase though nicely hidden, so as not to be too obvious! The staff said some people complained there was too much food in the breakfast special, so they decided to change it but served it all day long. So it is now just a special meal.

This a common trick used in restaurants whenever there is a price increase. Usually, a restaurant hides its price increase by subtly reducing the portion sizes of the food items. In this instance, they couldn’t make the toast any smaller, nor could they make the eggs any smaller! So, they package it differently!

I am sure that the people who complain are such a small number but it was just an excuse for them to do what they intended, i.e., have a price increase. So I am going to check out other local restaurant chains if they too have changed their pricings for a breakfast special.

Do we eat healthy food?

food-healthy-vegetables-potatoes

 

In this modern world, we often have to eat out. However, for home cooked meals, we have to be sure the ingredients are from a reliable source. There are several ways for us to ensure the choices we make are healthy ones.

We often wonder if the food we eat is nutritious and that it would make us healthy and keep us healthy. We would naturally prefer foods that are sourced from naturally grown, pesticide-free produce and animals fed with natural feed meals. However, when humans decided to produce food based on quantity rather than quality, most farms have become manufacturing plants, i.e., mechanising their processes. Since then, food has become overly processed in order to allow for a long shelf life, which minimises production costs due to optimal production size and ensuring larger profit margins.

We also live in a time when we are unsure of the food that we eat every day, whether it is real or fake.  We read of artificial cabbages and eggs from China. We have unclear food labelling of products from the United States. It has the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) which is supposedly meant to protect its consumers. However, producers often circumvent these rules by saying half-truths, i.e., they are not absolutely lying as it falls within the limits of the FDA rules. Some so-called healthy food choices are not, but since their sugar content falls below the minimum, they claim to be. Often fructose is added too.

As a man in the street, I suggest we choose free-farmed meat and poultry. Free-farmed products remain on pasture from birth to market. Cattle raised this way thus, consume a natural diet of legumes and grasses of their choosing.

Beware though that sometimes terms such as ‘free-roaming’ or ‘hormone free’ are used to express the products are safe, although they may not be. ‘Hormone-free’ and ‘antibiotic-free’ only guarantee the meat or poultry product had undetectable traces of antibiotics or hormones at the time of slaughter or processing. These are readings made which use samples of the products at that point in time, and may not represent all that is actually produced.

I suggest we use common sense to check our food that we buy. Some tests include smelling the items to be bought and choosing products that have shorter shelf life, meaning the product is as close to being in its natural form. For example, when we buy milk in the grocery store, and their expiry date is another year or more than six (6) months, I would think that it has been processed so much to allow milk to stay fresh for so long. So we should choose milk or milk products with shorter expiry dates.

As a rule of thumb, if the product has a longer shelf life, it means it has been processed extensively.

In summary, we should do the following:

  • Smell the item. If they are vegetable produce, smell the items to be bought.
  • Check the expiry date. As I said earlier, shorter expiry indicates a more natural product.
  • Read labels for additives and preservatives added. They are usually better if none are added.
  • Check that the ingredients used are from natural sources.
  • Check for sugar and salt content, if provided.
  • Check the fat used is not trans fat.

Good luck in your food choices. Do not eat too much of a certain food. Be moderate always.