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Food festival brings Malaysian cuisine to Karachi

October 07, 2018

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A MALAYSIAN troupe performs a traditional dance on Friday evening.—White Star
A MALAYSIAN troupe performs a traditional dance on Friday evening.—White Star

KARACHI: All the senses were tantalised at a local hotel on Friday night with the Malaysian Food Festival kicking off with a variety of local cuisines for food connoisseurs, and dance performances by a Malaysian troupe, allowing a glimpse into the country’s diverse and traditional culture and cuisine. The nine-day festival is being organised by the Consulate General of Malaysia, in cooperation with Tourism Malaysia, and in attendance were dignitaries, members of the business community as well as diplomats.

Mr Khairul Nazran Abd Rahman, Consul General of Malaysia, at the launch welcomed all the guests and said that there is no better way to improve relations than by coming together and sharing food. “Malaysia and Pakistan are great friends and we have been collaborating in bilateral and multilateral ways, which are not confined merely to political and economic spheres.”

Malaysia, he said, was placing a lot of importance on tourism. “In 2017 we received 53,000 Pakistani tourists and according to our research an overwhelming amount of their budget they spent on food and beverages. This speaks volumes on how much Pakistanis love Malaysian cuisine.”

From entrees, appetisers and desserts, the spread at the festival offered a wide variety and incorporated local Malaysian spices; all dishes were made particularly in palm oil.

One of the most popular dishes on the night was Mee Goreng Mamak which is stir-fry noodles; there was plenty of rice and even Nasi Impit (compressed rice) to go with satay. Different types of protein were incorporated including chicken and beef; Rendang Daging, arguably one of the most famous beef recipes in Malaysia, was hungrily devoured. Seafood was also used in different dishes.

The chef in-charge spoke to Dawn about how Malaysian cuisine is very similar to Pakistani cuisine as it uses similar ingredients — many of the herbs and spices used include red chilli powder, fennel powder, cardamom, turmeric, coriander, and cumin. “Malaysian food uses palm oil and coconut milk which is different to Pakistani cuisine. There is a lot of use of boiled and sautéed vegetables, and [we] have a lot of hand-made noodles. Thus I think Malaysian food is very healthy and once you have it you will remember it for life.”

Advisor Murtaza Wahab, representing the chief minister of Sindh, was present at the opening and congratulated the organisers for successfully pulling off the Malaysian Food Festival. “Unfortunately the CM was unable to make it due to his prior commitments but he sends his best wishes. There is a strong connection between the stomach and the heart and such events establish stronger relations between Pakistan and Malaysia. I assure you our best cooperation in promoting Malaysian culture in the province of Sindh.”

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2018