Taylor's FSLM Journals
Food Heritage-Making and Innovations in Malaysian Foodways by Food Trucks: An Exploratory Study in Klang Valley, Malaysia

@ Asia-Pacific Journal of Innovation in Hospitality and Tourism

Online ISSN: 2710-6519

Afsara Akter

Abstract: Street food’s contribution to tourism and destination promotion is quite well established. While there is an emergence of a novel type of street food stakeholders, food truckers, little is known about their potential contribution to food tourism and food heritagemaking. This research investigates how food trucks contribute to heritage-making and innovation in Malaysian foodways through host-guest interactions. Particularly, this study looks at the dimensions of food system, culinary space, and consumption patterns at food truck parks. A qualitative study was conducted through observations at TAPAK (a food truck park) and semi-structured interviews with the Tourism Selangor Board, Kuala Lumpur Food Truck Entrepreneur Association (KLFTEA), TAPAK, and a selection of food truckers in the Klang Valley. The findings highlight that food trucks in Ampang and Cheras promote a culture of lepak defined as “sitting outdoor in a laidback manner in an innovative atmosphere while enjoying food”. Host-guest interactions at food truck parks lead to heritage-making of the lepak and street hawker culture as the study participants view them as a component of the Malaysian food culture. These interactions together with the spatial mobility of food truckers encourage innovations in the cooking and serving of food. Findings also highlight that promotions of local food culture and social interactions via the lepak culture to guests by food truckers could be supported further by tourism institutions, food truck associations, and TAPAK through training programs for food truck operators.

Keywords: Food trucks, food heritage-making, innovations, host-guest interactions, mobilities, Malaysia