Malaysian Food & Fruits Week 2020
Tasting Malay foods & fruits in the comfort of your home? YES!
Last week, I virtually attended the Malaysian Food & Fruits Week, which was initiated by The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries Malaysia (supported by the Embassy of Malaysia in The Hague, Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE)). I was very happy to have been included in this online event and “taste” the flavours of Malaysia and also get to know more about the food and fruits of this beautiful
Backstage at The Malay Food & Fruits Week
Before the event started, we were shortly briefed by the team and host Jackie – M from Sydney, who was such a lovely host. Then, we were interviewed online by Chef Norman Musa (@chefnormanmusa) - an award-winning Malaysian Chef - and if that wasn’t enough, Chef Norman Musa was also giving a cooking demonstration of a Seafood Curry and Char Kuey Teow (Penang Noodles). Unfortunately, we couldn’t taste the food, but I’m happy to know that I can get my hands on those delicious Adabi pastes from Wah Nam Hong (an Asian supermarket in the Westfield Mall in Leidsenhage). Foodies from all around the world (Canada, UK, Saudi, Dubai, India, the Netherlands) could also check-in and ask questions about the Malaysian cuisine – how cool is that?
Mr. Salim’s Malaysian food & fruits dream...
Mr. Muhamed Salim bin Mohd Ali, the Agriculture counsellor, said that the objective of this program and events is to promote local Malaysian fruits and Malaysian cuisine in Europe. Now, I understand why, because the Malaysian products are highly in demand especially on the European market and are also much sought after, especially among the oriental and Asian markets in the Netherlands.
As a foodie, I fully support this initiative, because I love exotic fruits (I was born in Surinam and grew up with these delicious fruits) and the Malaysian cuisine! The combination of flavours, spices and the Malay cooking traditions really reflect the multi-ethnic population. You can just feel the colourful influences in the cuisine; this also allows for the use of locally sourced herbs and spices for fragrant, authentic and traditional Malay dishes, spice blends and more…
You can imagine why they say Malaysia is a food paradise!
And what better way to know more about this paradise, than by asking Mr. Salim a few questions about Malaysian Food and Fruits and of course the Dutch cuisine! In the short interview below you can read more about this.
Interview with Mr. Muhamed Salim bin Mohd Ali, the Agriculture counsellor.
- What makes the Malaysian cuisine unique from any other cuisine in the world?
Malaysian Food is unique in its own way, whereby it has the combination of spiciness which blends together with a beautiful, fresh and appetizing aroma.
- What is your favourite Malay dish? And Why?
My favourite dish is of course the most popular dish in Malaysia, which is the ‘Nasi Lemak’. It is basically fragrant rice infused with coconut milk and ‘pandan leaves’, served with sambal (spicy chili paste), fried anchovies & peanuts, eggs, cucumber and various side dishes. I love it because the options of having various side dishes to complement, such as fried chicken, seafood sambal etc. makes the ‘Nasi Lemak’ so versatile, and that you get new experiences each time you eat it.
- If you’d recommend making a Malay dish to a foodie who’s not yet familiar with this cuisine, which dish would that be?
For a beginner, I think the easiest will be ‘Mee Goreng’ or stir-fried noodles. There are many pastes available in oriental shops and with that, you will never go wrong.
- Malaysia is also known for its exotic fruits. Which Malay fruit deserves a spotlight? And why?
For me personally, I would rank Durian, which is also known as the King of Fruits, but it has an acquired taste. For those in Europe, I would recommend the Mangosteen, which is also known as the Queen of Fruits. It has a very unique exotic taste and it has been very appealing to Europeans who have tasted it before. In fact, the Mangosteen were the first to be sold out during the Malaysia Food & Fruits Week campaign.
- Are exotic fruits used in the Malaysian Cuisine? And if so, in which dishes?
Fruits are generally used in desserts. However, there are some dishes where fruits like pineapples or young mangoes are used, such as when preparing sweet sour dishes and also in fish curries. Another popular dish in Malaysia is the fried banana, also known as ‘pisang goreng’, which is normally served during evening tea.
- What is your favourite Malay and Dutch/European fruit?
My favourite Malaysian fruit is the Durian and the Mangosteen. Favourite European fruit are Nectarines and Cherries.
- Do you like the Dutch cuisine? What’s your favourite dish/snack and your least favourite dish/snack.
All dishes are nice and unique in their own way to me. My favourite so far has been Stroop waffles :-)
- If you could give a Dutch dish a Malay twist, which one would that be?
I think Stamppot would be nicer, if it had some anchovy with sambal (spicy chili paste) in it or even some chicken or beef ‘rendang’ (a dish cooked with coconut milk, chilies and some spices) :-)
- Would you like to say something to my readers?
I would like to say a big thank you to all your readers and please do explore various cuisines from different countries from time to time. It’s an interesting and exciting experience and it educates us a lot as well. Also, reading about the cuisines before tasting it makes a huge difference as you tend to know more about the culture and history behind the dishes :-)
Mr. Salim: Thank you very much Ms. Nandita for your time and support towards Malaysian cuisine and tropical fruits. I hope you will visit Malaysia and experience the “Food Paradise’ soon :D
Nandita: When this pandemic is over, Malaysia will definitely see me! Thank you for your time and this opportunity Mr. Salim!
Thank you word
Special thanks to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries Malaysia (supported by the Embassy of Malaysia in The Hague, Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) for giving me this opportunity to support their objective in promoting The Malaysian Food & Fruits Week and their excellent service!
Note: The Spiced Chickpea teamed up with Tourism Malaysia for this sponsored article.