A taste of home for Malaysian pilgrims in Holy Land

One of the three kitchens where food for the Malaysian pilgrims are prepared

MAKKAH – Malaysian haj pilgrims in the Holy Land are in for a scrumptious treat as Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) has prepared a menu consisting of 28 types of Malaysian dishes including daging gulai kawah, ayam percik and sotong masak sambal to be enjoyed with rice topped with fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the current haj season.

The Malaysian Haj Delegation head Datuk Seri Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman said every year, TH would make early planning in terms of the dishes to be served to the pilgrims and would maintain the standards set by the Malaysian Ministry of Health and the Saudi government.

Advertisement

“There are 28 types of dishes, which means the pilgrims will not be served the same food for two weeks,” he said adding that pilgrims are served different types of dishes for lunch and dinner.

He told this to reporters after visiting the kitchens where food for the Malaysian pilgrims is prepared namely Retaj Kitchen, Makkah Kitchen and Al Wafa Kitchen.

The kitchens that are located in Makkah are led by two professional chefs from Malaysia and the dishes are prepared using pre-mix spices or instant seasonings created from the research and development activities conducted by TH’s catering operations unit.

Syed Saleh said the chefs managed to maintain the same taste in every meal using the spices, even though they have to cook in large amounts and within a stipulated time frame.

“We also make sure that the kitchens follow strict procedures of hygiene, food safety, preparations that comply with the standards …different teams are monitoring the food preparation procedures including the TH Travel & Services catering team, a medical delegation under the Public Health Unit and TH External Services Unit.

“In addition, Saudi Arabia also has units that monitor food preparations, a unit of the Makkah Municipality, before we operate,” he said, adding that the Saudi government imposes strict conditions, especially in terms of hygiene.

For patients and staff at the Syisyah Treatment Centre, a hospital operated by TH, Syed Saleh said, the food was prepared by a chef there, adding that meals for patients who are under observation will be monitored by doctors.

He stressed that every meal for the pilgrims emphasised health care that meet their nutritional needs so that they can worship comfortably and healthily in the Holy Land.

Meanwhile, Chef Mohd Kamarulzaman Mad Rodi and Chef Mohd Effendi Jamaluddin said they would use fresh ingredients and vegetables sourced from local traders that they later keep in high-tech storage.

The said hygiene was of priority to prevent unwanted incidents, adding that the ingredients and cooking utensils, as well as the kitchens, would be cleaned thoroughly.

Several pilgrims met by Bernama at the Abraj Al Janadriah hotel expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious Malaysian dishes.

Norshuktiani Marzuki, 45, said she enjoyed every meal, adding that sometimes she felt like eating food prepared to celebrate a feast.

Badriah Mad Zin, 60, commended TH for arranging meals for the pilgrims because she has never missed any, adding that the meals were prepared to satisfy every palate.