Disclosure: Jackie and friend dined at the Flavours of Malaysia, Food Festival as guests of The Grace Hotel and Malaysian Kitchen Australia.
First of all, I just want to say how excited I am to be blogging about the Flavours of Malaysia, brought to you by Tourism Malaysia and The Grace Hotel, part of CRAVE Sydney International Food Festival in Sydney.
Malaysian cuisine is a melting pot of different cultures, the many regions of the country, spices and ingredients used makes it a truly a unique and amazing flavour. Yes, I am biased. I was blessed to be borne in that country and had the opportunity to live and eat there till my adulthood. Coming to Australia and years of living overseas has made me missed home, friends and families even more and more each year. I am lucky that I can fly home whenever I get homesick.
How does one describe Malaysian food to a visitor or a newcomer to the taste? To understand the flavours of Malaysia, you would have learned from your History lessons in school, that Malaysia was colonized by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. Then came the Asian immigrants from all over Asia. It's ideal location, Peninsular Malaya, made it a good trading post for many things, one in particular, being the spice trade. It brought in all those beautiful aromatic spices, that you can now find in any Malaysian cuisine. And so it began, the flavours that were influenced from multi-ethnic groups. Our melting pot consists of Eurasians, Chinese, Indians, Peranakan (Chinese and Malay), Mamak (Indian Muslims) etc. just to name a few. And we sure know how to put on a big feast ;)
The chefs for this event, Flavour of Malaysia, was specially flown in from The Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. This event will showcase some of Malaysia's finest and much loved recipes ranging from famous hawker foods to authentic Nyonya dishes and more from the Northern region of Malaysia. This buffet is great opportunity for all to savour all those delightful favourite dishes among Malaysians. It is truly a gastronomic feast!
Ask any Malaysian and they will tell you that you don't say no to Malaysian food, let alone a Malaysian Buffet. I dream of Malaysian buffets every night. (True story, I really do.) I change my pillowcases often from the drooling alone. So for me, this invite was a great opportunity to get my Malaysian cravings fixed, plus to share this experience with you, my readers, about the Malaysian food campaign during the month of October for CRAVE.
Many of my regular readers will know that I live in country New South Wales, and sadly, I have to say that there are no Malaysian restaurants in the regional area. To get my fix, aside from my cooking Malay food myself, I would have to travel to the nearest cities such as Sydney, Melbourne or even Canberra.
And who doesn't love Malaysian food? Have you seen the line outside Mamak in Sydney? How about all those Malaysian restaurants in Sydney? JackieM in Concord, CintaRia, Nonya; they are always full with happy customers eating away. I'm so envious of Sydneysiders, as they have all these yumminess, right outside their doorstep.
Here are some mouth watering photos to give you an idea of what was at the buffet. If you are interested in more photos, click on this link My Flickr
I started off my lunch with an old favourite, Rose Bandung. I used to buy this at road stalls back home in my schooldays after school. It's basically rose syrup mixed with icy cold milk. Very tasty and sweet. I enjoyed the roti jala and roti canai, everyone's favourite for breakfast or snacks in Malaysia.
Look at my plate of salad. I had the Squid Sambal, Achar, Pasembur and I tossed my own Rojak as well. Who's a clever gal?
Mixed veges; sauteed okra and eggplants on the left and Daging Masak Hitam, which basically translates to beef cooked in dark soy, heavily spiced of course, with cardamon, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and fennel and most likely to have chillies and brown sugar as well. Sort of like your Chinese Black Beef Pepper but Malay style.
This is what I had for lunch. I had the chicken rendang, mamak goreng ( noodles), chicken satays and roti jala. I love satays and could have happily live on satays alone. The was sambal prawns as well, I was a little dissapointed that there was no stinky beans (petai) with the sambal prawns. Gotta love those sambal udang with petai beans. Example on the book cover below, green petai beans.
This is my favourite snack. You grab all the fruits and mixed and tossed it with shrimp paste and topped it off with peanut crunch and sesame seeds. Crunchy and yummy. Another Penang favorites of mine. Various fruits can be used;
Jambu air, not sure of the English translation.
These are various types of sambal sauces, aka love of my life. I could drink these. Can you tell I am from Kedah state? We sure can handle our hot chillies.
To cool your burning tongue, you can try this dessert; Ais Campur. Basically, it means to add everything to shaven ice. Also on the buffet are various nyonya kuihs like ondeh ondeh, kuih talam, kuih bingka, kuih lapis. Kuih lapis a favourite childhood teatime snack of mine. I like to eat mine by peeling them a layer at a time by layers. How do you eat yours?
It was definitely a delicious lunch, I was amazed that I could walk back after all that food. It certainly was good to meet up with foodie friends and enjoying this wonderful spread. I could have taken many more photos of the main dishes but it wouldn't be fair to the other diners trying to get to the wonderful dishes.
Many thanks to Grace Hotel Sydney and Malaysian Kitchen Australia for this opportunity.
Grace Brasserie at the Grace Hotel
Level 2, 77 York Street, Sydney
Flavours of Malaysia
Dates: October 5-21, 2012
Times: Lunch Monday-Friday and Sunday 12pm-2pm
Dinner Friday and Saturday 6pm-9pm
Cost: Lunch Monday to Friday $38, Lunch on Sunday $48, Dinner $48
Bookings: +61 (02) 9272 6636