By Sol Vanzi Timpla't Tikim
MALAY CUISINE TAKES CENTER STAGE 

Historically, political and economic developments influence the shift of
international culinary interest from generation to generation. To illustrate, the western world only became familiar with Chinese cuisine after thousands were recruited from mainland China in the mid-1800s to build the American Trans Pacific railway. After World War II, the world got to know and subsequently fell in love with Japanese food. Vietnamese food only became known after the Vietnam War. Bangkok, which was the R&R (rest and recreation) city for hundreds of thousands of American soldiers fighting in the French Indochina peninsula, influenced their taste buds as well, spreading the gospel of tom yum and fish sauce.

Laksa (photo) --Today, thanks to the overwhelming support of the Malaysian government, Malaysian food is everywhere: on the pages of top international magazines and newspapers as well as in dozens of television programs on mainstream cable TV. Recently, we had the good fortune of tasting and learning firsthand about Malaysian cuisine through the dishes prepared by no less than executive Chinese chef Christopher Chai, who hails from the new Asian food Mecca, Ipoh. The Malaysian dishes were in celebration of “Magical Malaysia,” an ASEAN food festival hosted by the EDSA Shangri-La at Heat.

The star of our lunch was the laksa, of which Manila Bulletin photographer Rudy Liwanag could not have enough. My personal favorite beef rendang was the saucy variety, not the dry version that comes close to being a jerky. At first glance, the dish could be mistaken for a curry dish because of its orange hue; but those who are familiar with Malaysian cuisine know the gravy’s thickness and color come from a blend of dozens of spices and fresh herbs, giving off an aroma that’s unmistakably Malay. Hot and sour soup --To temper the main course’s spiciness, we had gado-gado, a popular Indonesian salad that had vegetables, boiled eggs, and shrimp crackers (Kropek), dressed with a thick peanut sauce, a definite feast for the eyes and the heart. *READ MORE...

ALSO: YOUR SHANGRI-LA STORY; A tropical garden retreat in the heart of the city  

You step into Edsa Shangri-La, Manila, the quintessential luxury hotel in Manila, and your senses are immediately soothed. The hotel’s lush tropical gardens envelope the property with tranquil greenery, creating a peaceful haven of rest. Immersing yourself in the gardens, you sip a cocktail while enjoying the view of the hotel’s free-form swimming pool. More relaxation beckons as you check into CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La. You indulge in an ancient Filipino therapy, the Hilot massage. The therapist is skilled at unlocking the energetic blockages in your body, leaving you with a deep sense of physical and spiritual well-being. You continue on your journey of indulgence as you visit the Bakeshop, famous for its exquisite hand-made chocolates infused with unique tropical flavours. *READ MORE... MEET Culinary connoisseur: Executive Chinese Chef Christopher Chai and embark on adventures of the culinary kind ..........


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Malay Cuisine takes center stage


Laksa (Images by RUDY LIWANAG)

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi September 11, 2014 - Historically, political and economic developments influence the shift of international culinary interest from generation to generation.

To illustrate, the western world only became familiar with Chinese cuisine after thousands were recruited from mainland China in the mid-1800s to build the American Trans Pacific railway. After World War II, the world got to know and subsequently fell in love with Japanese food. Vietnamese food only became known after the Vietnam War.

Bangkok, which was the R&R (rest and recreation) city for hundreds of thousands of American soldiers fighting in the French Indochina peninsula, influenced their taste buds as well, spreading the gospel of tom yum and fish sauce.

Today, thanks to the overwhelming support of the Malaysian government, Malaysian food is everywhere: on the pages of top international magazines and newspapers as well as in dozens of television programs on mainstream cable TV.

Recently, we had the good fortune of tasting and learning firsthand about Malaysian cuisine through the dishes prepared by no less than executive Chinese chef Christopher Chai, who hails from the new Asian food Mecca, Ipoh. The Malaysian dishes were in celebration of “Magical Malaysia,” an ASEAN food festival hosted by the EDSA Shangri-La at Heat.

The star of our lunch was the laksa, of which Manila Bulletin photographer Rudy Liwanag could not have enough.

My personal favorite beef rendang was the saucy variety, not the dry version that comes close to being a jerky.

At first glance, the dish could be mistaken for a curry dish because of its orange hue; but those who are familiar with Malaysian cuisine know the gravy’s thickness and color come from a blend of dozens of spices and fresh herbs, giving off an aroma that’s unmistakably Malay.


Hot and sour soup

To temper the main course’s spiciness, we had gado-gado, a popular Indonesian salad that had vegetables, boiled eggs, and shrimp crackers (Kropek), dressed with a thick peanut sauce, a definite feast for the eyes and the heart.

* Instead of steamed rice, we had crab fat rice (kaning puti na may taba ng talangka), which was not overwhelmingly crabby despite the amount of aligue (crab fat) mixed in.

Singaporean hokkien mee also provided additional carbs by way of blending two kinds of noodles: the thin ones made of rice and fat noodles from wheat.

It resembles what Filipinos call lomihon, stir-fried thin bihon and thick lomi noodles.

Lomihon could have come from Hokkienese (Fookienese) immigrants who made up a majority of the early Chinese population in the Philippines.


Desserts from Malaysia, Singapore, and Philippines

The hot and sour soup was extra thick and loaded with strips of shiitake mushrooms and peeled shrimps, which I slurped between bites of fried vegetable spring rolls that could have represented any country in the ASEAN region.

Another Filipino dish joined the main courses: lapu-lapu in miso, a not-so-sour version of sinigang, with a thicker sauce than our usual soupy rendition.

Our dessert was very ASEAN: a trio of puddings/flans presented with a dark chocolate panel carrying different countries’ flags fashioned from white chocolate.

There was pulut hitam (black rice pudding), nam wan (taro sago), and our very own leche flan (caramelized egg custard).

The ASEAN Food Festival at EDSA Shangri-La ends on Sept. 14.

YOUR SHANGRI-LA STORY; A tropical garden retreat
in the heart of the city



Tower Wing Lobby Lounge

You step into Edsa Shangri-La, Manila, the quintessential luxury hotel in Manila, and your senses are immediately soothed.

The hotel’s lush tropical gardens envelope the property with tranquil greenery, creating a peaceful haven of rest. Immersing yourself in the gardens, you sip a cocktail while enjoying the view of the hotel’s free-form swimming pool.


Tropical gardens in the hotel

More relaxation beckons as you check into CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La. You indulge in an ancient Filipino therapy, the Hilot massage. The therapist is skilled at unlocking the energetic blockages in your body, leaving you with a deep sense of physical and spiritual well-being.

You continue on your journey of indulgence as you visit the Bakeshop, famous for its exquisite hand-made chocolates infused with unique tropical flavours.

* Returning to your room, you draw back the curtains and are rewarded with a view of the stunning sunset. The crimson rays penetrate the landscape and caress your linens with their warm light, leaving you in awe of this beautiful and magnificent sight.

Tomorrow you will head out to explore Manila’s fascinating attractions, such as Intramuros, the Walled City, the National Museum of the Philippines, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and Bonifacio Global City, a vibrant shopping and dining destination.

In the evening, you are content to savour simple pleasures, such as the amazing sunset before you, the sweet melody of classical strings as you enjoy a traditional High Tea and simply relaxing in the bustling urban jungle.

You are cocooned in a serene city oasis. You are at the Edsa Shangri-La, Manila.

Meet Executive Chinese Chef Christopher Chai and embark on adventures of the culinary kind


Culinary connoisseur: Executive Chinese Chef Christopher Chai Chef Christopher's take on Cantonese cuisine is inspired by his culinary experiences around Southeast Asia

Edsa Shangri-La, Manila, offers some of the city’s finest restaurants and bars.

Embark on an epicurean adventure with HEAT’s interactive open-theatre kitchens or sample Cantonese delicacies at Summer Palace. Senju offers refined Japanese dining, while Paparazzi delivers a rich representation of Italian cuisine from different regions.

High Tea, wine buffets and 24-hour gourmet snacking are best enjoyed at the Lobby Lounge, while refreshing tropical cocktails and mouthwatering grilled specialties are served at the Pool Bar.

“We showcase authentic Cantonese cuisine with Southeast Asian influences.” Executive Chinese Chef Christopher Chai

Executive Chinese Chef Christopher Chai has always enjoyed cooking, even as a young boy.

His eagerness to learn new things has moved him to explore countries outside of his hometown of Ipoh, Malaysia.

Seasoned by nearly 20 years of culinary experience, Chef Chai has worked in the Chinese kitchens of five-star hotels, on luxury cruises and in specialty restaurants in Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Prior to joining the culinary team of Edsa Shangri-La, Manila, Chef Chai led the kitchen of Shang Palace at Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta for four years. SOURCE: EDSA SHANGRILA WEBSITE


SOL JOSE VANZI'S CORNER
LIFESTYLE COLUMNIST OF THE MANILA DAILY BULLETIN & PANORAMA
'TIMPLA'T TIKIM'


Sol's profile avatar at Manila Bulletin
Lifestyle/Food

http://www.mb.com.ph/author/sol-vanzi/
Panorama
http://www2.mb.com.ph/a-fil-am-love-story/


1997 Photo: EDITOR -Philippine Headline News Online (PHNO) http://www.newsflash.org/staff/solvanzi.htm


2014 Photo: PHNO Travel & Leisure
http://www.newsflash.org/tlframe.htm


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE