BANGKOK – The Malaysian diaspora in Thailand gathered here for their all-time favourite dish, Nasi Lemak, in conjunction with the first ‘Jaguh Nasi Lemak Challenge’.
About 130 Malaysians residing in Bangkok and nearby provinces joined the Nasi Lemak ‘feast’ organised by Kelab Malaysia Bangkok and supported by the Malaysian Embassy, here, on Saturday.
The Nasi Lemak, consisting of rice cooked in coconut milk with pandan leaf, and served with chilli sambal, crispy fried anchovies, peanuts, boiled egg and slices of cucumber is considered Malaysia’s national dish as it is a staple loved by all.
Nasi Lemak fans got the chance to savour 21 different sets of the dish prepared by Malaysian home-based chefs who participated in the Nasi Lemak cooking competition held at Eastin Hotel Makkasan Bangkok.
The judges were Malaysian ambassador to Thailand Datuk Jojie Samuel, Malaysian celebrity chef Walter Lee and chef Scott Da Silva from Makan-Makan, a Malaysian restaurant, here.
Also present were deputy chief of mission at the Malaysian Embassy in Bangkok, Suzilah Mohd Sidek; Kelab Malaysia Thailand president, Datuk Bobby Tai and general manager of Eastin Hotel Makkasan Bangkok, Pauline Chua.
Jojie said: The ‘Jaguh Nasi Lemak Challenge’ is another initiative to promote Malaysian cuisine in Thailand.
“I am glad Malaysians living here, despite from different races, religions and cultures, have come together for this event. It is a good platform that binds us together,” he said.
The competition initiated by Dr Silva Kumar, a Malaysian living in Thailand, aimed to bring all Malaysian home-based chefs to serve Malaysians who miss their all-time favourite dish.
“Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and travel restriction, many Malaysians are stuck in Thailand and they miss Nasi Lemak. Those who have become home-based chefs started to sell Nasi Lemak via social media,” Silva Kumar told Bernama.
He said the committee received overwhelming response as many Singaporeans and other foreigners were also interested to join and compete in the challenge.
“However, I had to confine it to Malaysians as the venue space is limited,” he said.
Chef Walter Lee, who is also known as Chef Kani, said the ‘Jaguh Nasi Lemak Challenge’ could be a springboard for a Nasi Lemak international competition in the near future.
“This will put Malaysian cuisine on the world gourmet map,” said the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS) certified judge.
The judges had a hard time selecting the winners, saying it was a “tremendously fierce competition, so it wasn’t easy to decide”.
Husna Nadzri beat 20 other participants to emerge as the ‘Jaguh Nasi Lemak Challenge’, taking home 3,000 baht (RM395) in cash, a 14,000 baht (RM1,840) tailor-made suit package and accommodation voucher. Rosnidar Ibrahim was the first runner-up and Noor Baizura Mohamad Mokhtar, second runner-up.
Rosnidar and Noor Baizura won 3,000 baht (RM400) and 1,000 baht (RM131) respectively and accommodation voucher.