The Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) announced yesterday the “Malaysia Kitchen for the World 2010” campaign to promote Malaysian restaurants and cuisine in the New York City metropolitan area. The campaign kicked off with a multi-course luncheon attended by over 115 guests on March 8, 2010 at the International Culinary Center (ICC) in New York City. Guests such as famed Malaysian designer Yeohlee Teng, renowned Chef Anita Lo and Chef Pichet Ong, as well as members of the press enjoyed cooking demonstrations by U.S. chefs preparing Malaysian favorites.
“We are delighted to promote Malaysian cuisine and restaurants in the New York metro area with such an appealing, comprehensive program,” said Consul General of Malaysia, Mr. Zamruni Khalid, speaking on behalf of Malaysian Ambassador to the U.S., Dato’ Sri Dr. Jamaludin Jarjis. “We are offering an opportunity to experience and discover our country’s rich culinary heritage. We believe this program will create excitement to savor Malaysian cuisine and introduce America to the cultural diversity that is unique to Malaysia.” At the luncheon, the Ambassador also launched the Malaysia Kitchen New York website which is www.malaysiakitchennyc.com.
Guests, which also included Malaysian restaurant owners in the New York metropolitan area, were served with a wide array of classic Malaysian dishes including Roti Canai, Chicken Satay, Curry Laksa, and Beef Rendang. The room was decorated to recreate the scene at a classic Malaysian street market, with attendees able to touch and feel some of the essential ingredients used in Malaysian cooking. Members of the media and food bloggers were noted utilizing twitter to communicate their experience while still at the event.
The four-course luncheon was prepared by:
- Chef Zak Pelaccio – The award-winning executive chef/partner at the Fatty Crab restaurants, Chef Pelaccio spent almost a year in Malaysia, cooking at a traditional Malay restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. Chef Pelaccio is a key spokesperson for the campaign in New York.
- Chef Hasni Ghazali – Chef Ghazali opened Connecticut’s first Malaysian restaurant, Bentara, in New Haven in 1995. Along with Bentara, he is co-owner of the Central Steakhouse in New Haven.
- Chef Erik Cheah – Chef Cheah is the executive chef for Penang Cuisine as well as executive chef and co-owner of Rhong Tiam in Manhattan, awarded a prestigious Michelin star in 2010.
- Chef Kathy Wong – Chef Wong is chef/co-owner of Laut restaurant, dubbed by the New York Times as offering “some of the best Malaysian food in Manhattan.”
“Malaysian cuisine is one of the most multi-cultural cuisines in the world reflecting influences from India and the Middle East, the South East Asian Nations, China as well as England and the Netherlands,” stated famed Malaysian designer Yeohlee Teng. “The nyonyas cooked through a sense of smell and that tradition has influenced and lent the dishes their unique flavor that is truly Malaysian.”
“Malaysian Food is well-suited for the American palate. It has a great balance of sweet and spicy,” said world-renowned Chef Anita Lo. “This is comfort food to me. My mother is from Kuala Lumpur and I grew up eating Malaysian food.”
The year-long Malaysia Kitchen for the World campaign relies on an exciting, multi-tiered program of epicurean and cultural events to boost awareness of and interest in Malaysian cuisine and restaurants in New York City and the Tri-State area. It encourages chefs and restaurateurs to open new Malaysian or Malaysian-inspired restaurants and will increase understanding of Malaysia’s cuisine and rich culinary heritage among consumers and trade alike.
“The launch of the Malaysia Kitchen for the World 2010 program is a great opportunity to showcase the amazing flavors of Malaysia,” said Christine Chek, owner of Penang Cuisine. “This program will direct consumers to local Malaysian restaurants throughout the tri-state area.”
Malaysia Kitchen for the World 2010 program includes:
- Website: Located at malaysiakitchennyc.com, the site serves as a hub of information and educational clearing-house on Malaysian restaurants and local campaign events.
- Malaysian Restaurant Week: Participating Malaysian restaurants will offer dining specials for one week, April 12-18.
- Malaysian Week: In June, New Yorkers can discover Malaysia through an ongoing sampling of Malaysian food and cultural events, in a high-traffic, central location.
- Malaysian Food Truck: A traveling truck in Manhattan will offer signature Malaysian dishes from local Malaysian and Malaysian-inspired restaurants.
- Chef Education: Educating chefs and other food influencers is key to raising the profile of Malaysian cuisine. The program will enlist Malaysian chefs to offer educational seminars and cooking classes at top cooking schools in the United States.
- Press Trips: The campaign supports trips to Malaysia for consumer and trade media and interested U.S. chefs to discover its cuisine and culture firsthand. Destinations include Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Melaka.
- Advertising: The program will contain print, online, and broadcast advertising elements.
- Media Relations and Restaurant Reviews: A robust media relations campaign will seek to increase coverage of Malaysian cuisine and culture in lifestyle and trade press and increase the frequency and quality of reviews of Malaysian and Malaysian-inspired restaurants in the U.S.
The Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) is Malaysia’s national trade promotion agency. Established in March 1993 as a statutory agency under the Ministry of International Trade Industry (MITI), MATRADE is responsible for assisting Malaysian companies to succeed in the international market by developing and promoting Malaysia’s exports to the world.
About Malaysia Kitchen for the World
Malaysia Kitchen for the World is a global initiative of the Malaysian government that aims to educate and inform consumers about Malaysian cuisine and Malaysian restaurants throughout the world. The New York campaign seeks to boost interest among American food lovers to try Malaysian cuisine and visit Malaysian restaurants in the New York metropolitan area as well as in other locations in the United States. The program also seeks to facilitate local chefs and restaurateurs to introduce Malaysian cuisine at their establishments. Visit malaysiakitchennyc.com for more information.