Malaysia’s multiculturalism is unrivaled throughout Southeast Asia – and is reflected in its cuisine. Roving foodie Merrilees Parker begins her journey on the Malaysian peninsula with the native Orang Asli
people of Kelantan
. They teach her how to hunt with a blowpipe and cook dinner in a bamboo trunk. She then heads off to the stunning Islamic East coast to cook a rich curry using freshly caught mackerel. She finds strange and delicious fruits in the markets and – after Friday prayers - shares in the sweet and savory delights cooked on the streets.
In the ancient spice capital of Melaka
, Merrilees cooks up a storm with fiery Laksa
soup in the style of the Nyonya
, then visits a Portuguese settlement and wolfs down Devil’s Curry
. In the Cameron Highlands
, 5,000 feet above sea level, there is a notable English influence. Merrilees picks tea on the Boh Plantation
and samples Mrs. Chong’s famous scones with homemade strawberry jam.
The island of Penang
is Merilees' next stop. Here she joins a street vendor, stir-frying Char Kway Teow
on a hand cranked charcoal barrow. Next, she joins 10,000 Chinese pilgrims for the Vegetarian Feast of the Nine Emperor Gods
. In Little India
, the smaller festival of Dussehra
means more vegetarian food to be tasted, but this time with an Indian flavor. Having sampled spicy betel
leaves and sweet pulled tea
, she tries her hand at making the delicate fried bread known as lacy roti
Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur
, is one of the fastest growing cities in Southeast Asia and fortunately Malay culture is not being lost in the rush to modernize. Merrilees meets two chefs who use traditional Malay techniques in a modern fine dining style that is set to rival the great cuisines of the world.
Finally, on the paradise island of Langkawi
, Merilees joins the Ramadan
celebrations with a feast of delicious sweetmeats before learning how to make beef rendang
in the jungle home of the charismatic chef, Shukri Shafie.Click here for recipes and more information about this show.