A few weeks back I was invited to attend the Malaysia Kitchen BBQ Madness taking place in Parramatta, where a bunch of prestigious chefs were to do cooking presentations and introduce traditional Malaysian dishes to the audience, as part of the SIFF / Crave Festival.
With names like Florence Tan (a celebrity chef from Kuala Lumpur, who I had seen in a Rick Stein‘s Far Eastern Odyssey series), Adam Liaw and Alvin Quah, both from Masterchef Season 2, it promised to be a great event!
The only chef I didn’t know was Wanitha Tanasingam, the Malaysia Kitchen Ambassador, and I was really glad I got to see her as she turned out to be a fantastic host, very funny and lively!
I made my way at the Church Street Mall in Parramatta a bit after 9am to find that the cooking presentation of Wanitha had already started. I was happy to see a few familiar faces in the presence of my fellow bloggers (Thang, Sara and Josh, Jacq and later Karen ..). Even Billy from A Table for Two & Masterchef 3 turned up later that day, causing quite a stir amongst the fans out there!
Wanitha was a larger than life personality and Thang helped me catch the numerous double-entendre she said during the presentation, involving words like “spreading”, “beating”, “hoots” and “roots”!
She first cooked Sotong Bakar (BBQ Calamari), then Ayam Panggan (Grilled Chicken).
Sara and Lorraine Wearne were on stage with her and they seemed to be having a lot of fun together! Sara was telling me she attended a class a few days earlier with Wanitha and she introduced herself as the goddess of love!
Then it was Florence Tan‘s turn to be on stage. She told us she felt nervous to cook after Wanitha, who she found such a good and entertaining speaker, but it turned out Florence was on fire too!
Florence & the Giant Lemongrass
Florence said she’d never been photographed as much as these last few days, and it looked like she wasn’t completely displeased with the attention!
In the end, I found Florence so entertaining that I didn’t pay enough attention to the food! I still managed to grab myself a bit of Otak Otak, which was very yummy, but missed out on the following Grilled Tofu Salad… you had to be quick! I was starting to get hungry though… it was time for some serious lunch action and we started making our way to the canteen space in the Town Hall forecourt.
It was pretty busy and we were lucky to find a few free seats, had we waited any longer it would have proved a lot more difficult!
I started with some lovely Chicken Satay skewers from Albee’s Kitchen.
For my second dish, I hesitated a long time between Roti Canai and Sambal prawns and sticky rice in banana leaves to try something I don’t eat often, but in the end I really felt like a Laksa and chose the chicken one, while Thang had the prawn Laksa.
The soup was really nice, just spicy enough and really fragrant and comforting, mmmh…
I wish I could have tasted more dishes, especially Jackie M.’s Char Kway Teow and the Roti Canai, but it was almost time to go back to the amphitheatre to see Adam Liaw and I couldn’t face another 5-10 minutes of queuing (I’m not a very patient person!)
Josh got hold of a bowl of Ais Kacang, a Malaysian dessert composed of: red beans, glass jelly and peanuts covered in shaved ice and sweet rose syrup. I didn’t taste but Josh seemed pretty happy with it!
Adam Liaw had started demonstrating how to make Satay sauce and avoid the traps causing the early departure of Marion from Masterchef 2 on that fateful elimination day.
He also prepared Char Kway Teow (Fried wide flat rice noodles with squid and prawns, bean sprouts, herbs…), which looked deliciously charred and caramelized.
Then Alvin Quah came into play and cooked Ikan Bakar (grilled BBQ fish in banana leaf) and Tamarind Fried Prawns, but unfortunately I couldn’t stay much longer and didn’t get to taste his dishes, but I had a great time and it made me want to discover more of what Malaysian food has to offer!
The French Wench attended Malaysia Kitchen BBQ Madness courtesy of Ogilvy360 Digital Influence Sydney and Malaysia Kitchen.