Malaysian Monday #65 : Malaysia Kitchen Australia event.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hi everyone, Monday again huh?

As you’ve probably noticed, the blog-pantry has been rather bare of late. Not quite sure where my baking/cooking mojo has gone, I didn’t even attempt anything remotely Malaysian over the weekend. Luckily, I still have something yummy for you today.

It’s the Malaysia Kitchen food market event that was mentioned in my previous Malaysian Monday post. Over three days last week (Wed night to Friday night), a little laneway behind the State Theatre, in the Sydney CBD, was transformed into an “eat street” serving up tasty Malaysian fare. The event was part of an initiative created by the Malaysian External Trade Development Commission (MATRADE ), which aims to promote and raise awareness of Malaysian cuisine.

Actually, the event started with a media launch on Tuesday night, involving the fooderati of Sydney.  Only glamourous foodies need apply (I’m sure my invitation to that event got lost in the mail  *wink*. :P).

If you want to sticky beak and find out what happened during the launch, you can check out this You Tube clip. Some prominent Malaysians (and ex-Malaysians) can be spotted in the crowd, including chef Cheong Liew, and Chef Wan. Blogger chocolatesuze also makes an appearance (what’d I tell you? Glamourous).

The food looked great didn’t it? Lucky little me, I actually got a chance to sample some of the tastiness, thanks to an invitation from Ogilvy PR 360 to drop by on one of the nights the event was open to the public. Even the threat of imminent rain and lack of a baby-sitter didn’t stop me from making my way to a Thursday night tasting.

There are either a lot of Sydneysiders interested in Malaysian cuisine, or a lot of homesick expats out there wanting to indulge their cravings. Probably  a little bit of both, because the queues throughout the event were really, really long and quite a few people had to be turned away.

Why the sad face little MC Junior?

Oh, I see. there's a very long queue!

Luckily, my invitation wasn’t a figment of an overactive imagination and after I wrangled the two kids past the bemused door-guardian man, we were let in, only to join another queue inside. Again, my luck held and we ended up being part of the first sitting.

Ah, light at the end of the tunnel.

Soon, dishes of food started appearing before us. On the Thursday night, we were treated to taster plates of Char Kway Teow (fried flat rice noodles) from Kuali , Nasi Kunyit and Beef Rendang (Tumeric rice and dry beef curry) from Kaki Lima, Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice) from Jackie M. and Satay and Roti (Meat skewers and flatbread) from Mamak.

Have some char kway teow and cheer up.

Or maybe some Nasi kunyit, om nom nom.

But leave all the rendang for Mummy ok. Because I said so.

Tucking into familiar flavours on that warm and muggy evening in a narrow laneway with paint peeling off the walls, while listening to an eclectic selection of Malaysian music, I felt temporarily transported to the country of my birth. Even MC Senior remarked on how Malaysian it all felt.

Look, you can have some Nasi Lemak. (We were served portions for sharing amongst the three of us)

The food was definitely authentic, and mostly delicious. My favourite was the Nasi Kunyit and Rendang. However, due to the sheer volume of food being prepared and plated, all the dishes arrived on the cool side, which suited some food better than others. For example, the noodles had started to clump together a little, which made it hard to enjoy. I’d been chatting to the couple next to me throughout the sitting, acting as a bit of a culinary interpreter, and I noticed that the man couldn’t quite bring himself to finish the roti canai, even after dousing it in sauce. Which is a shame as I knew that these roti came from Mamak, and when you have it piping hot at the restaurant, roti is a thing of beauty :)

And roti.

Still, the tickets to the event cost $10 (drinks were extra) and I think I would have been satisfied with the variety, flavour and size of the four taster plates if I had actually paid my own way. I think the event did succeed in promoting new food unfamiliar to non-Malaysians. My dining companions were quite taken with the the acar (pickled vegetables ) found on the plates of Nasi Lemak. Even though they had travelled through Malaysia a few years ago, they hadn’t encountered the condiment before.

I was disappointed though that unlike the feast at the launch party, there were no desserts or Malaysian drinks on offer. Teh tarik or teh-o-ais limau would have been very welcome. MC Senior was a little sad too, wailing “but dessert is the best part of the meal!!” (go girl). All was well after I promised her an ice-cream at the Queen Victoria Building across the road :).

We did leave the event feeling very satisfied (and slightly nostalgic), the night was lots of fun and Sydney really needs more of these sorts of dos. Unfortunately I don’t think we have enough laneways big enough to accommodate the crowds. Perhaps a market stall/ hawker stall event like Malaysiafest might be a better way to go? Please invite me along to the next one?

If you’re not in Sydney, you can visit the Malaysia Kitchen website to find out what’s happening in your part of the world. The menu bar lists Malaysian restaurants around the globe, so if you’re interested in trying Malaysian food, why not check to see if there’s a restaurant where you live?

If that fails, you could always try cooking a Malaysian meal at home, then post it on your blog and join our Muhibbah Malaysian Monday event. This time around (#8), the round-up will be hosted by Suresh of 3 Hungry Tummies . Please send your entries to sureshchong(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Have a great start to the week :)


Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Lovely event. Food is great and the atmosphere is fantastic.

Anh said...

i heard about this awesome event and was sad to miss it (eventhough I was in KL at the time :D).

Chocolatesuze said...

HAHAHAHA OH GAWWWWWD! I was hoping my interview would never see light of day haha I sound tanked and a little too eager rofl but it was a great event and loved all the food!

maameemoomoo - a ½ food blog said...

Looks like Malaysian food in Down Under is so popular now! How wonderful :)

Back in 1999, Malaysian food was almost non-existent!

Juliana said...

What a fun event...from the pictures, I can tell you that you must have a great time :-) Have a great week ahead Shaz!

JT @ areyouhungary said...

So great that you and the kids went for a taste of Malaysia, even if there was no teh tarik or teh ais limau (they are MY two favourite drinks to order while out makkan-ing in Malaysia!) least Sydney had a go at offering Malaysian style humidity last week too!!

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

Looks like a fun and delicious event!

p3chandan said...

All my favourite food! What a lovely event showcasing our Malaysian food and hospitality. Thanks for sharing it with us!

grace said...

a line that long would put a frown on my face too, but it would promptly vanish upon my first bite of that grub!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Oh this looks like such good fun, I love any excuse to totally stuff myself silly (though I agree about hating having to wait in line, I would frown too, and kick up a little fuss ;)).
*kisses* HH

Beth said...

Sounds like a wonderful celebration. If only I lived close enough to Sydney to enjoy a fun festival like that! I loved the photo of your girls -- so cute!

shaz said...

We sure had lots of fun, thanks for your lovely comments everyone

Karen said...

This looks so fun, Shaz! Thanks for sharing with us. Lots of delicious food that brings back fond memories of trips to Malaysia. Mention roti canai to my husband and he will go wild. I've never tried making them at home, they seem a bit difficult. Any advise?

Hungry Dog said...

How fun! Love the look of those orange lanterns...

MaryMoh said...

What a coincident! I have just posted about Malaysian food and food fare in London. I think it's a good way to promote Malaysian food and culture. The roti canai over at your place definitely looks more authentic than what I got at London.

shaz said...

Karen - unfortunately my advice would be to had to the freezer section of your local Asian supermarket :) I have yet to conquer roti canai but I think I need to set my self the challenge eh ?

Thanks HD and Mary.

adriene said...

they were doing Msian Kitchen on food vans around Manhattan when theva and i were in nyc last nov.