Find out the Kayu Nasi Kandar sibling rivalry and the related unsavory stories about this famous Mamak restaurant chains which started out at a Chinese coffee-shop in SS2 Petaling Jaya.
Have you heard about the Kayu Nasi Kandar sibling rivalry story and other related controversial happenings?
It is not just the fight between two Mamak brothers over the use of the brand name Kayu back in 2011.
If you want to know more, keep reading…
Back then many Malaysians, especially nasi kandar lovers were not aware there were two different entities using the word “kayu“.
. Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar
. Restoran Kayu Nasi Kandar/Di Kayu Nasi Kandar
So, the Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar or Restoran Kayu Nasi Kandar/Di Kayu Nasi Kandar is the real original deal?
I know it is a bit mouthful with the word nasi kandar here.
I wrote this blog post way back in 2011 and now it has being updated.
You can still read this original blog post in this Google Groups without citing the source from this blog Info Ruckus.
Kayu Nasi Kandar Sibling Rivalry
Probably “the case of two kayu nasi kandar” was made known to the Malaysian public after this incident:
On September 2, 2010, The Star writer Sam Cheong’s review on Restoran Kayu Nasi Kandar entitled “Nasi Kandar Not Up To The Mark” in his weekly column, Food Trail of The Star.
Sam complained that the fried fish roe was already stale and the rest of the dishes were just average.
He went on to say, despite all the hype and good publicity, the food there was just average.
Then on the September, 16th 2010, the founder Burhan Mohamed of Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar put up a full-page advertisement on The Star to clarify the matter.
The fact is The Star’s Sam Cheong had dined at the “not so original” Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar restaurant.
That shop over at USJ10/1 is NOT one of the ORIGINAL Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar’s branches.
That one is Restoran Kayu Nasi Kandar/Di Kayu Nasi Kandar.
The now popular Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar is run by Burhan Mohamed.
The head office is in No. 64, Jalan SS2/10, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan.
Whereas, the other Kayu Nasi Kandar chain of restaurarants belong to Burhan’s brother, Sirajudin Mohamed Mydin company known as Restoran Pulau Pinang Kayu Nasi Kandar Sdn.Bhd.
The head office is at 23-1, Jalan USJ10/1, UEP Subang Jaya.
It’s former website was: http://www.kayu.com.my which has changed to https://kayu-group.com
Back in those days, the now Original Kayu Nasi Kandar restaurant was just a modest stall at the then Chow Yang Restaurant in SS2, Petaling Jaya.
I have known Burhan Mohamed way back in late 70s, when I just came up to work in SS2, Petaling Jaya.
Burhan was just a skinny young Indian lad helping to run his father’s stall selling nasi kandar, mee goreng mamak and roti canai.
I had seen his brother came to visit Burhan every now and then with his motorcycle.
If memories served me right, Burhan told me that his brother was operating another stall in Subang Jaya.
Their father was still around then and Kayu’s kitchen was just across the road at one of those double story houses along the main road, Jalan SS 2/10.
From what I know, they had some “personal problems” between the two siblings.
They started off together and then along the way, due to some unforeseen circumstances, they broke off and each of them went their own way.
Then “the case of two kayu nasi kandar” ended up into an unsavory civil suit case in 2011.
The “Original” Burhan was seeking a court order to bar his brother Sirajudin Mohamed Mydin from using the sign as it resembles his trade sign, as it causes confusion to the public.
You can see the details of the civil suit case between the two Mamak brothers over here.
If you observe closely, the stalls which belong to Burhan’s brother are called Di Kayu Nasi Kandar or just Kayu Nasi Kandar.
One more thing is to look out for the company logo.
At a quick glance, both companies’ logo appeared to be very similar.
They both featured a picture of a Malay attired Nasi Kandar peddler carrying dishes on baskets at the end of poles
But if you look closer, you would notice that the Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar, the peddler’s left hand is holding the hand of a little boy who is walking beside him.
Di Kayu logo has a similar Nasi Kandar peddler, but without the boy!
Besides the sibling rivalry controversy, in 2011, the brothers were embroiled in a poison-pen letter case.
Sirajudin Mohamed Mydin lodged a police report over a poison-pen letter accusing him of being a cheat and engaging in gambling and the forecast of lottery numbers.
The slanderous letter was found pasted at a hairdressing salon in Kuala Kangsar, Perak.
According to him the allegations in the letter as slander by certain quarters envious of his thriving nasi kandar business.
Many of Burhan’s regular customers thought he was the one who make the police report.
He clearly clarified that his business is registered as Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar Sdn Bhd, while the restaurant involved is called Kayu Nasi Kandar Restaurant.
Then there were many complaints from disgruntled customers of exorbitant pricing at Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar.
This happened back in 2015, when five stalks of bendi (lady’s fingers) was said to be wrongly charged for RM20.00.
Then there was another shocking over-priced issue regarding a roti tissue, which was charged RM11.00.
You can read the many angry complaints about Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar over here.
In 2005, Malaysia’s famous Original Penang Nasi Kandar announced it was going Down Under, to open shop in Melbourne and Perth.
In 2009, Kayu Nasi Kandar name was in the news again.
It is about businessman Hong Poh Meng and his company, Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar.
He was was fined A$25,000 and the company was penalized A$158,400 in the Melbourne magistrate’s court for underpaying its staff.
Then 2019, Burhan Mohamed’s workers were in the news.
One of his workers, Shamsuden Rahman Khan made a false robbery claim involving the shop’s takings of RM122,555.
How Burhan Mohamed Got The Name Kayu
Buruhan got his nickmane “kayu” way back in the late 70s long before he hit the big time.
We used to call him “kayu” then too, but in jest, because that was how the Teochew Chinese coffee-shop owner (former Chow Yang in SS2) shouted at him.
This angry and rude Chinese coffee-shop towkay (proprietor) would holler at Burhan, each time when he saw Buruhan’s plates left uncollected on the tables.
Basically the word “kayu” is the Malay word for wood and also the colloquial Malay for dim-witted.
In the Chinese dialect (Hokkien and Teochew), they would decry someone who is slow-witted as “char-thau“.
The word “char-thau” can be translated as “wooden or stiff”; which is similar to the English word “wooden” for someone who is dull or stupid.
That was how he got this rather catchy nickname “kayu“.
It is not as what someone who says, the name “kayu” refers to the mangrove pole used by the nasi kandar peddler.
Singapore Boxer Gunboat Smith
When I used to patronized Burhan’s stall at Chow Yang, I came to befriend one of his staff, who actually related to his family.
A big bulky Indian man by the name of Mohamed Mydin.
It was during one of the many chit-chat sessions with him, I came to know he was actually a former famous professional boxer in the 30s.
His nickname was “Gunboat Smith“.
By the way, there is another Irish American boxer-actor by the same name.
I interviewed him and wrote an article which was published in the now-defunct magazine “Sports Mirror” back in 1981.
His 1937 fight with the Burmese boxer Darkie Muang at Fun And Frolic Stadium in George Town Penang was featured in The Singapore Straits Time.
When I rewrote this post about Kayu Nasi Kandar sibling rivalry , I went to check out this Kayu Group website for more details.
The only info I gathered is, it claims to have more than 13 outlets in Klang Valley, Penang Bukit Jambul and others within Malaysia.
There is so much to digest here and I hope this post doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth about nasi kandar Penang.
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