9 F&B Chains That Fooled You Into Thinking They Were NOT Born In Malaysia

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This article was originally published by Vulcan Post.

Sometimes, thanks to extremely efficient marketing campaigns, we get surprised by where a particular brand originated from. For instance, many Malaysians, especially while growing up, may have assumed that brands such as Milo and Maggi are Malaysian brands, unfortunately they are not (here are 7 other brands who have you fooled).

So, to preserve our Malaysian pride and ego, here are 9 food and beverage chains that are, in fact, Malaysian brands.

1.Secret Recipe

Photo credit: phalinn / Foter / CC BY

Secret Recipe was launched in Malaysia in 1997 by Steven Sim, together with three of his nephews who were bakers. The company serves cake and fusion food. Back in 2001, there were only four choices on the fusion meals menu. Today, Secret Recipe has a variety of 50 cakes and 60 fusion meals and drinks, and the company has established its brand name in countries such as Singapore, Philippines, Australia, Pakistan, and Cambodia as well.

2.Pelita Nasi Kandar

Photo credit: zuki12 / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Your favourite mamak stall was founded in Penang in 1995. The men behind Pelita Nasi Kandar are two family friends, Kirudu Muhamed Kuppaikanni or fondly known as Abang KK and Kaliq Jamal or Pak Misai. Its main HQ is situated in Perai, Penang.

3. San Francisco Coffee

Photo credit: goosmurf / Foter / CC BY

San Francisco Coffee was founded in 1997 with a simple yet noble mission to save good people from bad coffee. Currently, this popular coffee chain is now owned by Lyndarahim Ventures Sdn. Bhd, under Datuk Abdul Rahim Zin, a former banker who ventured into the coffee business during the global financial crisis of 2008. Currently the café has over 23 outlets in Malaysia and Singapore.

4. The Manhattan FISH MARKET

Photo credit: goodiesfirst / Foter / CC BY


They say we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. For this case, we shouldn’t judge a brand’s originality by its name. Yes, The Manhattan Fish Market is not from Manhattan, . This Malaysian brand outlet serves American-inspired, lip-smacking seafood. The concept of the restaurant was inspired by the 180-year-old Fulton Fish Market at Fulton Street, Brooklyn, United States. It was founded by George Ang, and his two other close friends, Dr. Jeffrey Goh and Dickson Low.

5. 1901 Hot Dog

Photo credit: suanie / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

1901 Hot Dog was launched in 1997 by Zakir and Tengku Rozidar Tengku Zainol Abidin. The brand was revamp in 2007 with a new logo. The name was inspired by a sports cartoonist in New York called Tad Dorgan. Besides that, they also changed its logo and ditched its suit-and-straw-hat guy for something more universal.

6. Sushi King

Photo credit: SamCheong / Foter / CC BY-SA

Sushi King is a Japanese restaurant founded in Malaysia in 1995, it is also known as the pioneer kaiten sushi, or the first revolving sushi restaurant in Malaysia. The founder is a Japanese based in Malaysia.

7. The Chicken Rice Shop

Photo credit: goodiesfirst / Foter / CC BY

As the name suggests, the chicken rice is their signature dish. Founded in 2000, the restaurant was started by a mother-daughter team, Gaik Wong, and her daughter Wong Kah Lin. The concept behind the brand was to fuse the popular Hainanese chicken rice recipe with the owner’s Penang heritage.

8. PappaRich

Photo credit: avlxyz / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The PappaRich Group was founded by Rich Tan in 2005, and is a popular chain food outlet in Malaysia. The brand has over 60 outlets in Malaysia and has already established their overseas market in Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, Brunei, China, South Korea, and the States.

9. OldTown White Coffee

Photo credit: goodiesfirst / Foter / CC BY


OldTown initially started as a coffee manufacturer for instant beverage mixes and products. Founded in 1999, its main headquarters is in Ipoh, Perak. Later on, the coffee maker expanded its brand throughout Malaysia, Singapore, and China. They then started venturing into the food and beverage sector based on their product brand name “OldTown White Coffee”.

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Hari Raju

the author of this article must live in a coconut shell with one small window.pelita??c’mon.

Fariza Othman

Few of Malaysian restaurants that should be in this list are Italiannies, The Apartments, Malones. These are the originally from Malaysia.

Ju Lee

With the exception of san francisco coffee and manhattan fish market….. none of the others fooled me.

David Ong-Yeoh

How can anyone not know that Pelita, The Chicken Rice Shop and Old Town are local?

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