KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians need to safeguard their food heritage before other countries capitalise on it, said an official promoting the government initiative “Malaysia, the Truly Asian Kitchen” abroad.
Singaporeans, for instance, have promoted teh tarik and chilli crabs as among their main food attractions, said Mohd Rosly Selamat, chief operating officer of Pempena Sdn Bhd which is wholly owned by Tourism Malaysia.
“Malaysians, for instance, should make satay known to the world before other countries claim it as theirs,” he said at the launch of the one-day Malaysia Truly Asia Cuisine Showcase, held in conjunction with the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF) from tomorrow till Nov 30.
At the showcase, the most creative menus and signature dishes will be announced and will be presented with Awards of Excellence at the MIGF Grand Finale Dinner on Dec 3. One chef will also be crowned “The Most Innovative Chef of the Malaysia Truly Asia Showcase 2007”.
Rosly said the showcase would be one of the signature events promoting Malaysian gastronomy.
“There are lots of opportunities and potential for Malaysian food,” he said.
In London, a plate of char koay teow with lobster tail costs £25 (RM170).
In Japan and South Korea, Nyonya food is in high demand, while Taiwan is planning to open five Hainanese restaurants and is looking for Malaysian chefs who can cook Hainanese chicken rice.
For the Malaysia Kitchen project, the Malaysian Restaurant will begin operations in Perth, Australia, sometime this month making up five fine-dining restaurants so far, he said.
Under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, RM200mil has been allocated for Malaysia Kitchen, with RM60mil more for promotional efforts, he said.
The purpose of the showcase is to present a range of Malaysian dishes that appeals to global gourmands and supports the government’s Malaysia Kitchen project, according to Rosly.
The Malaysia International Gourmet Festival, of which The Star is the media partner, had been listed as one of the top 50 events in the Visit Malaysia Year programme, he added.
There were 400 Malaysian fine-dining restaurants in the world and the Government hoped to increase this to 3,000 in 2010, he said.
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