Motorists parked beside the Padi House restaurant chain wave their hands out of their windows to signal to waiters, who come to take their orders that will be eaten on the spot.

Lockdown-weary Malaysians have jumped at the chance for an unusual eating-out experience allowing them to enjoy restaurant food despite coronavirus curbs -- in-car dining.

The Southeast Asian nation is struggling with a virus resurgence that last month prompted officials to re-impose restrictions, including a ban on dining inside restaurants.


Waiters must check the temperature of customers before taking their order for the "dine in car" service / © AFP

To get around this, the chain -- which serves a mix of local and Western fare in the city of Cyberjaya outside Kuala Lumpur -- came up with a plan to bring their menus and meals to car-bound customers.

"We serve the food on proper plates for (people) to dine in their car like they are dining in a restaurant," Chong Kar Yan, the company's social media marketing manager, told AFP.


The Padi House chain hopes to recreate the restaurant dining experience / © AFP

Their first drive-in dining site, in a car park beside one of their restaurants, proved such a hit they have now opened a second at another outlet in the city.

"I do feel safer eating in a car compared to a restaurant because we do sanitise the car," said customer Narinderjit Singh, when AFP made a visit to one of the in-car dining sites.

"I sit at home throughout the day, I work from home -- this gives me the opportunity to go out."

Officials recently relaxed rules, allowing people to dine inside restaurants again, as the number of daily cases declined.


In-car dining has proven to be a hit with Malaysians worried about the spread of Covid-19 / © AFP

But Padi House will continue offering in-car dining, an option welcomed by customers who remain worried about the virus.

Malaysia is still recording close to 3,000 cases a day and several deaths.

"The good thing about this is that you'll reduce your interaction with other people, so that you can avoid Covid-19," said customer Ahmad Yunus Faeez.