That’s not my name…

I was browsing through the newspapers earlier today and I certainly would not say that I was amused or anything of the sort. As a matter of fact, I was quite pissed off when I saw this advertisement inserted by the Tourism Ministry, Malaysia…

Meat Bone Tea 1

Now what on earth is MEAT BONE TEA? If they feel that there is a need to translate everything into English, then why didn’t they translate NASI LEMAK as well? Now what will that become? Fatty Rice? After all, lemak is fat, as in lemak babi which is pig’s fat or lard. It can’t be called Oily Rice as in that case, the Malay name would be Nasi Minyak or Nasi Berminyak. And for heaven’s sake, please do not ask me to translate LAKSA as I must confess that I would be completely and utterly stumped!

Every race in the world may have their own special delicacies with their own names. Why would we need to translate them into some loosely-relevant English equivalent or as in this case, a glaringly ridiculous term? The Japanese have their sushi and all that…and don’t we ALL know their names? Don’t we ALL know what tom yam is and which country it is originally from? The Indians have their naan, chapatti and murtabak and in English, at best, they are referred to as Indian breads. In western countries, they will tell you that they are going for dim sum or yam cha…and they are going to feast on the (meat) dumplings. Well, that’s the name they use to call our pao of different varieties, our siew mai and even our chang. To them, they are all….dumplings!

Really! I simply fail to fathom why they simply HAD to translate the name of that special delicacy into English. After all, there is no reference at all to the type of meat used, in which case some people from certain quarters might take offence. Why, I’m not even sure that it is authentically a Malaysian dish and if it is causing so much discomfort, perhaps they should remove it from the list completely.

Otherwise, let’s call a spade a spade…and let it be called by its original authentic name – BAK KUT TEH!!!

Meat Bone Tea 2

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

17 thoughts on “That’s not my name…”

  1. i almost faint when i read it…. i guess they are trying to make it ‘halal’ by changing the name… shame!

    But there’s no mention as to what meat is used. After all, we do have what they call chick-kut-teh…which is just as bad! I am surprised that there ARE many bloggers who have posted on the dish and used that same name. Good grief! So far I only saw one who said it was a literal translation and another said that was the meaning of the Hokkien name…

  2. you are so right! I’m laughing right now. Why can’t the stupid copywriter call it a Bak Kut Teh in its full glory instead of some meat bone tea. Why not call nasi lemak a fat rice? haha

    Yalor…my sentiments exactly! Stupid is as stupid does…!!!

  3. Meat bone tea ??? WTF ??? Excuse me…mind my language….This is in fact joke of the year

    Try googling that!!! You’ll be surprised by the number of bloggers/floggers using that very same name! Duh!!!

  4. It took me a while to realise what is “Meat Bone Tea”. Haha….
    Guess what is “Water Dragon Head” !!??

    Beats me! Some kind of drink? Your first time here, I see…so welcome and do come again.

  5. ‘Bak’ can mean any kind of meat without referring to just pork right? Of course for us we’ll use prime pork ribs. You want to make it halal, then you use chicken or beef.

    Precisely. Btw, have you tried cooking bak kut teh with beef? VERY nice, definitely nicer than chicken.

  6. MY GOSH!! who dictated that?? If so scared, why want to promote it in the first place… it can be easily replaced by some other speciality if it is so so… taboo…. Just now when i read it, i have to ponder for a few seconds, what tea was that then it sprang to my mind.. “dont tell me that was bak kut teh they meant???? ”
    meat bone tea…. my gosh!!

    That was exactly how I felt when I first saw it! Really put me off!!! What on earth were they thinking?

  7. *faints* Wtf? Hey, I dunno what is ‘Meat Bone Tea’ until I scrolled down to see your entry. So it’s BKT. Walao… they shouldn’t translate word for word liddat. Wud’s wrong letting it remain in original language? I dun see Japanese going around translating their delicacies. Koreans dun do that too… why la….so stupid!

    I’m sure if I tell you that I had red cook chicken for dinner, it would take quite a while for you to figure out what the heck I’m talking about. Sometimes I wonder whether some people have brains or not…

    1. Erm… red chicken? My guess is ayam masak merah… but dunno… lol… they should leave it as it is. That’s what makes it exotic in the first place.

      Ya…but char siew chicken is red…and so is Foochow ang-chao chicken…or even chicken Masala!

      1. Tandoori chicken oso red… lol… literally, I would have thought it’s ayam masak merah… red ma….but msian cooking, alot oso red colour. Ahahahaha…

        *sigh* Msian gov… sometimes I wonder if they have brain in the first place. If they translate everything, the exotic-ness will be gone. 😦 Just because the name is not a ‘halal’ name, they go and translate it… but you kno… ‘Bak’ or ‘Rou’ means meat. It doesn’t have to be pork lehhh…

        I dunno why they HAD to translate it. If they’re trying to promote it as a Malaysian cultural dish, then they should retain the name and not translate it into English. The identity will be lost…

  8. LOL!!!!How come BKT becomes meat bone tea??Malaysian Tourism Ministry…Joke of the day…not bad not bad…STupid….

    Ya…it certainly is a joke, a really bad joke!

  9. Was it the idea of the Tourism Minister?

    Don’t think so! What does he know? It’s just a tag…but he should at least try and get some people with a bit of intelligence to work in his ministry. Ah well…what to expect? I refrain from saying more…

  10. Ok.. i was taken aback a little tadi. Was wondering what is Meat Bone Tea!!!! Malaysians can really come out with ridiculous things.. but this coming from the tourism minister? i think it is some kind of advertising strategy.. they know people are going to blog to voice out their dissatisfaction over the name change.. bad publicity is still a publicity in this sense.. 🙂

    We should all meet up for a Meat Bone Tea someday! lol.. sounds so stewpig lah..

    Ya…these people are capable of ANYTHING! Malaysia MEMANG boleh!

  11. omg, i almost fainted as well..a clear case of double standards..the malay names remain whilst the chinese ones have to be changed into english! anyways, i find it silly whenever they change asian names for certain things or foods into silly..angmohs and others should learn the original sounding name! making everything into english just makes english speakers lazy to learn about other cultures and also many things get lost in translation….like this classic example here of calling bak kut teh ‘meat bone tea’!

    Ya, that’s exactly my point. We had to learn names like lasagne and ratatouille and even learn to pronounce the words correctly or at least try to to so…and imagine if we were to translate hot dog into Malay – anjing panas! That would be really really absurd!

  12. *****…1 malaysia konon…**** u lar…

    Couldn’t agree more…but sorry, rancangan ini sesuai bagi semua lapisan masyarakat! LOL!!!

  13. Q: What tea would you like? We’ve te quan yin, pu er….
    A: Meat bone tea Please!!..

    Blame the editor and the writer I suppose.. :S


    More the advertising agency…and even more, the officer in the ministry in charge of selecting the agency and giving out the contract! One real numbskull, he is!!!

  14. Yeah… i saw on the papers too. Agree with u 100%. At least they didnt translate it to “Boner Tea”… wahaha. I think that would have to include tongkat Ali.

    LOL!!! Looks like you’re quite an expert at those things! So?…When’s the announcement? Waiting till you’ll need tongkat Ali or what? Hahahahahaha!!! Pressure! Pressure!

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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