I’ve been to a lot of food destinations around the world, but somehow I skipped Malaysia for reasons unknown. It just never struck a chord in me as a vibrant culinary city, until I was introduced to KL Big Kitchen a few weeks ago. If you’ve been to World Street Food Congress in Singapore, then this is at the similar scale of grandeur but focusing on specialties from all over Malaysia.
The three days I spent at KL Big Kitchen was nothing short of wonderful. Pampered by Malaysia Airlines’ spacious business class, I arrived fresh for an eye opening culinary experience. A crash course of Malaysia’s best food from Penang to Sarawak, and from Johor to Negeri Sembilan. I’ll do my best to share with you some of the most memorable highlights here. Let’s go!
1. Orgasmic food. Tantalizing food. And some more delicious food.
There’s a benefit of being Indonesian. Coming from the same root, almost all of the Malaysian delicacies fit my palate really well. In one extreme, some are very much alike. Their Apom Balik for instance is basically Martabak Manis. In the other extreme, some are very much different with distinctive flavors that I never taste anywhere. The trio that I believe I’ll miss the most are Tempoyak Daun, Roti Jala Durian, and Nasi Kerabu.
I have to make a special note on the latter one as it was one superb dish. Originally from Kelantan and Terengganu area, Nasi Kerabu gets its bluish color from Kembang Telang flower. I also found it pleasing not just to the taste bud, but also to the nose. The use of kecombrang and several other aromatic leaves gave a well rounded burst of flavor. Exactly my kind of food.
2. Cooking class with Chef Norman Musa & Malaysia Airlines flight attendant.
Truth to be told, although I know how to deliver basic meals, I’m no expert in the kitchen. And for a guy who almost burn his kitchen twice, being able to make the Scotch Eggs was quite an accomplishment. Me and Sabreena did make a few mistakes, but we managed to cover it (literally) and ended up with one of the best results according to Chef Norman. Will this be served on flight? Maybe not, but the one below will most definitely be.
3. Cooking Demo with Her Royal Highness Tengku Puan Pahang
Yes, the princess herself cooked for us her special recipe : Nasi Kuning and Opor Ayam Kacang that will also be available on board in Malaysia Airlines flight with other 7 royal menus.
At first I thought she would be very formal bearing the title “Princess”, but as it turned out, she was very personable and down to earth. During the half hour of cooking there were burst after burst of laughter as she threw jokes here and there. The most hilarious for me was when she said “Now the secret recipe. The Malaysian cheese …” and then she pulled out belacan. You rock Princess Pahang! No wonder the Malaysians love you so much.
4. Meeting friends & awesome Chefs
Meet Irsyad of 8TV. We did an episode of Best In The World together in Bandung some time ago. It was great bumping into you again, man. And on the right is the guy that needs no introduction, the one and only Chef Wan.
5. Cooking Demo with Isadora Chai
This was another cooking demo with Chef Isadora Chai, the owner of Bistro a Table and also a panelist judge for San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant 2015.
6. Malaysia Airlines Satay In The Sky Competition
I love challenges and so does Thanis, my Brunei blogger friend. We tried out MAS’ signature satay and had some fun taking pictures with it. Hopefully our pictures could win us a trip to London. Fingers crossed. But aside from that, I was quite surprised that their satay were indulgently satisfying. Thick and big chunk of meat with flavorful nut sauce. No wonder, they were voted as Skytrax Best Airline Signature Dish.
7. Closing Dinner with KL Mayor
Last but not least, we closed the three days event beautifully with 4-course meals from Ritz Carlton and classical music playing on the background. I was lucky to be seated with Chef Izyan Hani, the winner of Masterchef Malaysia Season 2. It was pretty predictable what happened in the following hour and a half: endless conversation on food!
So much happened in three days that I simply cannot condense them all in one post. Stay tuned for more post, but in the meantime clock in KL Big Kitchen in your culinary calendar. They will be back next year with more good stuff and I hope to see you there, foodies!