I got the shock of my life upon hearing of the infamous Pretzel Dog. Good God, who in their right mind sells dogs wrapped in pretzels?
Is this some kind of sick joke?
I have never eaten at Auntie Anne’s since it was established some twenty years ago in Malaysia. So I had no knowledge whatsoever about the poor innocent dogs killed and wrapped in pretzels for consumption by Malaysians. Honestly, I felt sick to my stomach just thinking of it.
Thank God a good friend of mine was kind enough to explain that the “dog” inside the pretzel, wasn’t really a dog. It was actually a sausage. Masya Allah, why would anyone call a sausage, a dog?
A sausage is a sausage. A dog is a dog. A sausage doesn’t go “Woof! Woof!” A dog does. Is that so difficult to understand?
Coming from a pretzel chain that calls itself Auntie Anne’s, I am not surprised. I find even the very name of the pretzel chain disturbing – which is actually the reason I have never eaten there. You see, ‘Auntie’ is an English word which basically refers to a female adult who is much older, while ‘Anne’ in Tamil refers to a male adult who is slightly older. Now put these two words together and you will understand my confusion.
The Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations or Fomca was right to advise restaurateurs and food producers to avoid misguiding their Muslim consumers after the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) refused to issue a halal certificate to Auntie Anne’s. Life itself is already too confusing for us, Muslims – the last thing we need is to get more confused over names of food items, of all things.
I think the first thing Auntie Anne’s should do is change its very name. Auntie Ann, Auntie Annie, Auntie Anna, Auntie Ani, Auntie Ah Nee and Auntie Anamalai are a few options.
Secondly, get rid of the word “Dog” in their menu. Since the pretzel concerned is long and shaped like a rod, perhaps the best name would be “Pretzel Panjang” or “Pretzel Batang” – now that has a good chance of becoming the chain’s bestselling product. I guarantee, every Auntie Ann, Auntie Annie, Auntie Anna, Auntie Ani, Auntie Ah Nee and Auntie Anamalai who resides in Malaysia will instantly become loyal customers of the pretzel chain’s 46 outlets.
I would also like to state my utmost respect to A&W Malaysia for changing the name of one of their products, in acknowledgement of the sensitivities of the Muslim community. For those who are unaware of this, Coney Dogs are now known as Chicken Coney and Beef Coney in Malaysia. Well done, A&W!
Since we are on the topic of food items bearing confusing names, I would like to point out to Jakim and Fomca that there are others in the market with equally confusing names. I wholeheartedly hope Jakim and Fomca will take action as soon as possible in order to protect Muslim consumers from being further misguided.
These are the names of a few food items that are not only confusing, but also insensitive and misguiding.
• Kuih Tahi Itik (Duck shit cake?)
• Pisang Awak (Your banana?)
• Pisang Abu (Abu’s banana?)
• Cucur Badak (Fried Hippo?)
• Kuih Lompat Tikam (Jump and stab cake?)
• Kuih Badak Berendam (Dipping hippo cake?)
• Dosa a.k.a. Thosa (Sins?)
• Barbecue (Pig-Q?)
• Nasi Lemak Tetek (Boob rice?)
I would like to thank Jakim and Fomca in advance for taking this matter seriously – if they weren’t, we’d be calling our Curry Puffs, “Jalangkote” as they do in Makassar or our famous charcoal grilled toasted bread, “Roti Bakar Geng Kote” as it is known in Bandung.
It is my sincere hope that Jakim and Fomca take similar action on all improperly named food items for the sake of Malaysia’s extremely confused Muslim consumers, myself included.
May God bless you, Jakim and Fomca.