'Makcik Kiah’ pops up again — this time in Health Ministry’s Facebook post with banana frying tips

Melanie Chalil
The ministry advises the public to use stainless steel strainers, absorbent paper towel and quality cooking oil when frying food. — Picture from Unsplash

PETALING JAYA, April 6 — “Makcik Kiah” has made another appearance.

This time in a Health Ministry Facebook post on how to make perfect goreng pisang (banana fritters) safely.

Makcik Kiah was first introduced to the public during Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package announcement on March 27 as a fictional banana fritter seller that represented the everyday Malaysian.

He had used her as an example on how the various incentives in the package could work and benefit a Malaysian.

The Facebook post by the Health Ministry listed tips on how to properly use cooking oil when deep-frying food.

“Food safety preparations that we often ignore are using cooking oil repeatedly even when it has turned into a dark colour and using newspapers to absorb freshly fried food,” the public service announcement said.

There was also an infographic to accompany the post.

The infographic informed Malaysians not to use mouldy bananas and blackened cooking oil from repeated usage as well as to refrain from using plastic colanders and newspapers to drain the oil from deep-fried items.

Instead, use stainless steel strainers, absorbent paper towel, quality cooking oil, fresh bananas and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)-certified flour when attempting the popular deep-fried snack.

The ministry’s tips will also serve consumers well on their next pasar malam (night market) or street food outing when selecting vendors who comply with these safety guidelines.

Many Malaysians commented on the post to and shared their overused cooking oil experiences, particularly when they frequented pasar malam vendors.

“I always see vendors selling pisang goreng, fried chicken and lekor at pasar malam stalls who continue using cooking oil that has turned dark — if you don’t believe, go and see the next time you’re at a pasar malam,” said Jenny Danny Daniel.

“It’s true that many reuse cooking oil that has turned black until the banana fritters even taste and smell different, just like those selling fried chicken at the pasar malam,” added Nairul Aziz.

Nasihah Tugiran was reminded of an exchange between her and a yong tau foo seller who had zero awareness on the health hazards of reusing cooking oil.

“Someone asked why don’t you change the oil and the seller replied the black oil is what makes the food taste great,” wrote Nasihah.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the Health Ministry’s Food Safety and Quality Division has been sharing essential tips with the public.

Yesterday, it informed Malaysians to refrain from washing fruit and vegetables with soap and that clean running water was sufficient to eliminate dirt, bacteria and viruses.

For more food safety tips from the Health Ministry’s Food Safety and Quality Division, visit here.