The Finest taste of Malaysia has been brought to Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel. Currently, many of us are heading to the Renaissance to enjoy the Malaysian Food Festival in Powai. The hotel is temporarily housing Chefs Ridzuan and Rhap from Malaysia who hold a rich gourmet experience. Chef Ridzuan holds his expertise in Malay and western dishes, and Chef Rhap is a lady who is known for being a food adventurer is an expert of Asian (Halal) and Malay dishes. While Chef Ridzuan is skilled in handling buffet cold kitchen dishes, Chef Rhap is more skillful in handling buffet hot kitchen dishes.
A quick interview with the chefs:
How would you describe authentic Malaysian food?
People often ask me what Malaysian food is like, and I’ve found that it’s not as easy to describe as I would have thought. I usually have to explain that Malaysia largely consists of the Malays, Chinese and Indians – and we each have our own types of food. This is an overgeneralization, but I find that Malays are fond of using coconut milk in their food, the Chinese deep fry as many foods as possible, whilst the Indians love ghee. But as I said, this is me being generalised, and there is obviously more to each cuisine that what I have mentioned above.
But of course, it’s not just these foods that make up the Malaysian food culture. There is a little (or big) something called hawker food. Hawker food is basically food you get from roadside stalls, and are usually fairly inexpensive.
Have you altered any recipes to suit the India palate?
Malaysian Indian cuisine of the ethnic Indians in Malaysia is similar to its roots in India, especially South India although there are many notable foods with influences from North India too.so the spices remains the same but some special ingredients like lemongrass, kaffir lime etc. makes the difference.
How long is yours and Chef Ridzuan’s stay in India? And what do you plan to accomplish within this time?
We are here till the dates of the promotion that is from November 14th – 24th, 2013. This is a great opportunity for us to showcase the Malay cuisines to the Indian guests and to learn a thing or two about Indian food culture and the people. This is also our first visit to the city of Mumbai, so we are excited to also see and explore in our free time and take back fond memories of its people and the place.
Is there anything you specifically like about Indian cuisine?
Chef Rhap: Indian food is very dynamic, robust, flavorsome. I especially like the vegetarian Indian food. There is a variety of fresh vegetables in India, and they all are prepared in unique and varying styles. It’s fascinating to see such variety within the Indian food from region to region.
Chef Ridzuan: I really enjoy Indian food. I like the spice and tanginess used in most curries. I also enjoy the vast assortment of fresh bread (roti, naans etc) that compliment the curries. I have tried out the famous street food specialties such as bhel, paani puri and found it extremely fascinating and pleasantly unusual to our taste buds. I have a sweet tooth so really like the Indian sweet dishes as well. We tried the food at the Indian restaurant – Nawab Saheb and thoroughly enjoyed the kebabs and curries there.
Why should anyone come to the Malaysian Food Festival at Renaissance?
The festival has a very interactive Zing to it, chefs are always around to help you and customize food as per the guest desire. There are a lot of vegetarian options for the locals and eventually nothing but a genuinely authentic Malaysian food.
What’s your favorite from the buffet you’ve spread for us all?
Chef Rhap: My personal favorite would be the dessert (especially pandan crepes with coconut and jagerry) which brings a meal to a sweet ending with smile on a delighted guest. That’s what make me satisfy as a chef.
Chef Ridzuan: My favourite dish is LAMB KERUTUP. I am very fond of lamb. The use of coconut milk with all the spices infused give it a distinctive taste and aroma. It’s full of flavor, heart and a complete dish by itself.
What’s the one recipe we should taste and why?
The vegetarian tom yum soup it is very home style recipe. It has its own unique and very Asian taste to it not very spicy or tangy but a subtle version.