An International Symposium on
Travelling Cuisines: Culinary Politics and Transnational Foodways in and out of Asia

Why Doesn’t Malaysian Cuisine Fare Well in the Global Restaurant Industry?: A Sociological Enquiry

Kosaku Yoshino, Sophia University

Malaysian restaurants are very limited in number in most major cities of the world compared with Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian restaurants. Why doesn’t Malaysian cuisine fare well in the global market? This chapter investigates this unforgotten case of culinary globalization. Its approach is sociological, enquiring into social processes that take place among producers, reproducers and consumers of cuisine. Analysis is made in particular of social characteristics of consumers of ethnic cuisine and then of some pertinent issues regarding reproducers of Malaysian cuisine in the global market such as the role of small businesses and the government. Attention is also drawn to ethnic relations and nationalism in contemporary Malaysia.

Kosaku Yoshino is Professor of Sociology at Sophia University and previously a Professor at the University of Tokyo. He received his PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science. His areas of specialisation are nationalism and globalisation in Japan and Southeast Asia. His best-known books include: Cultural Nationalism in Contemporary Japan: A Sociological Enquiry (Routledge, 1992) and A Sociology of Cultural Nationalism (Nagoya University Press, 1997). He has also edited and published Consuming Ethnicity and Nationalism: Asian Experiences (Curzon Press and the University of Hawaii Press). He is currently completing a book on the impact of ‘Englishisation’ on ethnicity, social classes, nationalism and transnationalism in and out of Asia.