A Lesson on Malaysian Cuisine

OR: Malaysian Food Week at Island Shangrila’s Cafe TOO

What is Malaysian cuisine all about? If you were wondering, then you’ve come to the perfect entry – read on!

Selamat petang!

Today was yet another food-focused day with my lunch hour spent at Island Shangrila’s Cafe TOO for the kick-off ceremony of “Malaysian Food Week.” I have to admit, I’m guilty of not having tried any Malaysian food in Hong Kong yet – but I more than made up for it in today’s buffet lunch where I had over 5 platefuls of pure Malay goodness.


Pomelo Salad, Malay-style. Instead of Bon Apetit, we said “Selamat menjamu selera!” (Please treat your appetite)

Starting today (4th September) until the 14th of September, cafe TOO will be featuring delightful tropical fare from Malaysia especially prepared by guest chefs from Shangrila Kuala Lumpur:


One of the guest chefs from Shangrila KL making roti, decked in their custom-made aprons from MATRADE (Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation)

It was a really wonderful experience exploring the Malaysian section of the buffet with the chefs preparing the food in front of you. They were all so very friendly and warm (and chatty too!) – which added that extra authenticity and enjoyment for me. I lingered at the buffet table just asking questions about particular dishes, which they cheerily entertained, and before I knew it my plate was piled high with different Malaysian specialties:

Kerabu Udang Soon : Prawns salad glass noodle

Acar Timun: Pickled Cucumber with Spices

Acar Timun: Pickled Cucumber with Spices


Kerabu Ikan: Fish Salad Malay Style


Prawn crackers, a Southeast Asian cousins snack! Krupuk or kerupuk in Indonesia; keropok in Malaysia; and kropek in the Philippines 😉


Ayam Percik: Chicken in spicy coconut. This was soooo good. I doused my rice with the sauce.


Gulai Ikan. No description on the label but I’m pretty sure this means fish & veggies, because “gulay” is vegetables in Tagalog and Ikan means fish, if I remember correctly


Kambing Bamia: Lamb in Tomato and Coriander Gravy. Like the Filipino “Kalderetang Kambing” but spicier and sans the pineapple?


Sayur Munir Goreng: Stir fried mix vegetable


Rendang Daging: Braised beef with spices and grated dried coconut. This is one of the most famous Malaysian/Indonesian dishes. Incredibly savoury and juicy-soft when made well, only rice can add to the perfection of this dish


Sotong Masak Hitam: Stir-fried Squid with Spicy Soya Sauce


Nasi Minyak : Ghee Rice

There was really an overwhelming variety of options I couldn’t even leave the Malaysian food section to try the other cuisines on offer, except for maybe a sneaky dose of pumpkin soup (it was the best I’ve ever tried in Hong Kong), Caesar’s Salad, and some char siu (pork BBQ). What with all the food I was eating, I took the Laksa section for granted:



I thought to myself that I have Malaymama and Katong Laksa Prawn Mee just across the road from my office in Sheung Wan anyway if I ever get a laksa craving. To be honest, though, I don’t think I can handle the spice!

Finally, I moved on to the dessert section. I never give this part of the meal a pass, ever:


Bubur Kacang Hijau : Sweet Green Bean Stew in Coconut Sauce. I’m usually the chocolates-and-cakes dessert person, but for me this was the best dessert today. The sweet green bean (or monggo in Tagalog) reminded me of my childhood as I grew up with this ingredient. It doesn’t look the prettiest, but it was the yummiest – light and refreshing although it was served warm. Natural goodness.


Lompat tikam (pandan cake) and Buah Tanjung (Shaped and colored yellow water drops – a kind of cake made ​​with eggs and flour mixed in water disira sugar – http://manlypat.blogspot.hk/2012/07/buah-tanjung.html)


Kueh Lapis – I always come across this in Singapore from the chain Bengawan Solo. A favourite souvenir.


I didn’t catch the label but it’s a rice cake with coconut shavings. A Southeast Asian thing, this is again very familiar to me, but in other varieties and names.


The Ais kacang factory: you have to mix these ingredients together to make your own version of the dessert. It is a combination of shaved ice and attap chee (palm seed), red beans, sweet corn, grass jelly and cubes of agar agar, topped with evaporated milk, condensed milk, or coconut milk with optional red rose syrup and sarsi syrup on top, served in a tall glass or bowl. Similar desserts are halo-halo in the Philippines, Es campur in Indonesia, and Cendol in Thailand and Singapore.

Phew! That was quite the mouthful! I hope you learned something about Malaysian cuisine as I did, and if you haven’t tried it yet, do widen your culinary horizons and sample the tropical fare at Cafe TOO or at any Malaysian establishment in the city!

For more information on Island Shangrila’s Malaysian Food Week, click here.

Terima kasih!




About the Malaysia Kitchen Programme (MKP)

Malaysia Kitchen Programme (MKP) is a global initiative entrusted to the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) that aims to strengthen the brand image of Malaysia through its cuisine and enhance the opportunities in trade for Malaysian products and services.

MATRADE has carried out the MKP at key food events in various global markets including London, New York, Australia, and China.

This year, in collaboration with Cafe TOO of Island Shangri-La Hotel, MATRADE is organizing Malaysia Food Week from September 4–14 2013. The 11-day event promotes a range of Malaysia food products used in the preparation of Malaysian traditional and authentic dishes.

For 2012, Malaysia is the 10th largest trading partner and 7th largest source of imports for Hong Kong. For processed food and beverages, Malaysia exports USD253 million worth of products and is the 17th largest exporter into Hong Kong.

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