Tourism ministry's media night a Malaysian cultural and gastronomical celebration

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing (centre) presenting an award to Star Media Group Berhad’s Senior News Editor Philip Golingai while Deputy Minister Khairul Firdaus Akhbar Khan (right) looks on. -STAR/LOW BOON TAT

PETALING JAYA: As the saying goes, seeing is believing.

For the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry's media appreciation night, however, it was a case of "tasting is believing" for the dish of bak kut teh, which received much attention lately after it was listed as a national heritage dish.

Over a thousand guests, including ministry officials, media practitioners and guests at the dinner were feted with "chi kut teh" - the chicken version of the dish, a herbal soup typically made with pork bones.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing had announced on Feb 23, that bak kut teh would be officially listed as one of Malaysia's national heritage dishes.

On Feb 24, Heritage Commissioner Mohamad Muda Bahadin listed 10 dishes as national heritage foods in a government gazette which included bak kut teh.

Other dishes were mee kolok and nasi ambeng; traditional desserts like burasak, dodol kukus tahi minyak, kuih lapis, kuih karas and uthappam, as well as appetisers such as jeruk tuhau and katira, a drink.

These food items were gazetted as heritage dishes under subsection 49(1) of the National Heritage Act 2005.

Apart from the dish, the night began with a grand presentation of the national breakfast, including the famous nasi lemak, roti canai and teh tarik, much to the delight of the guests.

Keeping on the momentum was a series of Broadway Malaysia Madani performances, featuring the energetic silat performance infused with a twist of street dance, followed by a captivating lion dance performance on stilts by the Khuan Loke Lion Dance Association.

Accompanied by the rhythmic Indian and Bornean percussion performance, the night continued with guests enjoying themselves to a feast of the senses filled with good food and great moments.

In his speech, Deputy Minister Khairul Firdaus Akhbar Khan expressed gratitude for the media's coverage of the tourism industry at the dinner, themed Celebrating Heritage Preserving History on Friday night (March 8).

Additionally, he shared his experience working with Tiong, acknowledging that after three months of collaboration, he gained a better understanding of Tiong's work style and diligence.

"He is a dedicated minister, personally involved, hardworking, always striving for smooth progress, and hoping for the flourishing of the tourism industry," he said.

He pledged that the ministry would ensure effective promotion and efforts to support the tourism industry.

The event also witnessed Tiong presenting appreciation plaques to the media, with Star Media Group Berhad’s Senior News Editor Philip Golingai being among the recipients of this acknowledgement.

Homegrown star singer-cum-director Tan Kheng Seong, popularly known as Ah Niu, surprised the crowd with several Malaysian numbers, such “yong ma lai xi ya de tian qi lai shuo ai ni “(Saying I love you with Malaysia's weather), Kau Ilhamku and his famous song "Mamak stall", which got many of the guests groovy.

All guests also had a chance during the lucky draw, walking away with prizes such as mobile phones, laptops, televisions, and flight tickets.

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