A Taste of Malaysia in LA
So apparently there was some big survey taken by the National Restaurant Association in which they declared that Malaysian cuisine is one of the top three trending flavors of 2014. My stomach could have told you that! I’ve been very grateful that I’ve gotten to experience many unique cuisines and travel to a lot of places. One of those places has Malaysia. I have close friends and family from Singapore and Malaysia so I’ve been obsessed and enamored with the cuisine from an early age. Living in LA has been wonderful because it’s been relatively easy to get ahold of various authentic Asian cuisines. My search for authentic Malaysian food, however has come to an absolute stand still. I don’t know if people just don’t know enough to appreciate good Malaysian food or if there’s just not enough demand for it. I used to go to a Malaysian Auntie who made fresh Kaya Coconut Jam and bottled up that goodness so I could hand carry them to my sister in Boston. Unfortunately she has since closed her business. Luckily for me, my sanity, and my stomach, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a Malaysian food tasting by the amazing Chef Christina Arokiasamy.
The best part of the meal was that it was interactive. We got to learn about the history of Malaysian food and its unique qualities. The best part is that Malaysia Kitchen Program is trying to really put Malaysian food on the map in the United States by making it more accessible. So what did Chef Christina make?
This was her Wok-tossed Chili Sesame Prawns with Curry Leaves that was served with steamed white rice. Each dish used a product that could be found in local markets. This used Lingham’s Chili Sauce; Vias Spice Purée.Chef Christina's signature Beef Rendang Sliders. I love beef rendang! It's Braised beef sirloin cooked in Coconut Lemongrass Sauce, served on an All-American Bun. The product they used for this that can be found in local supermarkets is Brahim’s Rendang Sauce and Asian Meals Malaysian Lemongrass Coconut Curry Sauce!The was Chef Christina's refreshing Mango “Kerabu” aka Malaysian Mango Salad: Mango, Jicama, Red Cabbage Slaw with Malaysian Chili-Lime Dressing. Lingham’s Chili Sauce was used to create this dish. I can't wait to try making this myself! Roti Canai was next on our our dinner menu. Roti is hand-tossed griddled Malaysian bread and it was dipped in Malaysian Coconut Curry with Potatoes. The roti was so delicious and fluffy. I was so happy to find out that I could purchase the roti from the market and just throw it on the stove! Make sure to pick up some Raya Malaysia Roti Paratha and Baba’s Curry Powder on your next grocery run! I know I will!I was already extremely stuffed at this point. Chef Christina made me chuckle when she said that when Malaysians are eating one meal, they're usually thinking about their next meal. So I had to keep on keeping on by eating Chicken & Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce. Product Spotlight:Asian Meals Satay Sauce At this point, I really wish I wore stretchy pants for the occasion, but how can I say no to Sambal Shrimp? Nonya-style Shrimp and Asparagus sautéed in Sambal Belachan – served with steamed white rice. Product Spotlight: Tean’s Gourmet Sambal Tumis; Sharifah’s Sambal Tumis.
Next up was the Ayam Masak Merah, which is Braised Chicken and Tomato in Tamarind Sauce. Product Spotlight: Brahim’s Spicy Tomato Sauce.I was waiting all night to try Chef Christina's Laksa. There are 2 main types of Malaysian Laksa aka Spiced coconut noodle curry with Shrimp, Fishball, Eggplant, and Bean Sprouts, served with a Lime Wedge and Sambal. I really love Penang Laksa, but any Laksa is my friend! This is the must-eat Malaysian dish! Product Spotlight: Dolly Laksa Paste. You mean I can buy a the laksa paste and potentially make this at home?If you had to ask me what is the must-order Malaysian dessert, I would say it would be Chendol. Chendol is Shaved Ice with Pandan Jelly and Palm Nectar). This is my must have on a hot day. If you're ever at a hawker stand in Malaysia or Singapore, these portions are huge. I can eat 2 Chendols myself! That's how good they are! Product Spotlight: S&P Santan Instant Coconut Cream Powder.And then the intense meal ended with my absolute favorite: Kaya Toast! Kaya is slow-churned Coconut and Pandan Jam that is usually slathered on buttered toast. Seriously, Kaya is the answer to everything. Sprinkle a runny egg, add some Maggi sauce, and you can live off that the rest of your life! Product Spotlight: Agromas Kaya.
The Malaysia Kitchen Program is trying to really put Malaysian food on the map in the United States by making Malaysian cuisine more accessible and I could not be happier! Their products are all-natural, easy-to-make, and authentic in taste. I loved how Chef Christina was told us exactly what products to buy to recreate her delicious dishes at home. I can buy a packet of my favorite Malay dishes and easily make them home. Many of these products are new to the U.S., and will be available in over 400 national stores such as Whole Foods and Cost Plus World Market.
To find out more about what kind of Malaysian products are coming to you soon, click here! I did want to mention that this Taste of Malaysia event was held at the newly opened Papparich and is officially backed by their parent company. Their food is definitely worth trying. A big thank you to Chef Christina Arokiasamy, Malaysia Kitchen, Wagstaff Worldwide, and Papparich for their hospitality and for inviting for this delicious freshly made dinner and letting me know about these fantastic products to hold me over until my new trip to Malaysia!
Papparich is located at 721 South Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005.