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Malaysian cuisine with chef Norman Musa - Leiden Pop up

By October 09, 2017

Many of you will be unfamiliar with Malaysian cuisine. Malaysia is a mix of different cultures and this is reflected in its food with influences from Indian, Chinese, Portuguese, Thai, British and even Dutch cuisines. It's food is a definite nod to its past as a trade colony and it seems to take the best of all its culinary influences and adds a taste of its own.

It also shares close culinary ties with Indonesia and many dishes such as satay, rendang, nasi lemak and sambal are shared between both cuisines. There is a commonality of ingredients with Malay, Thai and Indonesian food, ingredients such as lemongrass, galangal, coriander, pandan leaf and coconut milk feature highly in various dishes.

Browsing through the likes of Amazon you don't find very much in the way of focused books on Malaysian cuisine and Norman Musa is out to change that. He has published several books on the subject, most recently Amazing Malaysian which even had a foreword from highly acclaimed chef Ken Hom. Norman is a chef of Malaysian origin, born and raised in Malaysia, he emigrated to the UK to study Quantity surveying. It was during a foray into restaurant design in Manchester that brought him back into the food business again (his parents ran a restaurant in Malaysia).

His focus is now on promoting Malaysian food through pop-ups, courses and supper clubs in Europe (including a course at LeithsSchool of Food and Wine, my alma mater in London) He also has three television shows under his belt and runs a fine dining restaurant in Malaysia. During his supper club in Leiden I had the chance to sample his food during the 8 course dinner at the Gaanderij. The supper Club was done in collaboration with Caroline Wimmers of Marketing for Foodies.

We got to sample such dishes as Asian fusion salad, prawn and laksa bisque, pulled duck rendang, crispy salmon with curried mash, squid sambal, chicken nyonya and finished with yoghurt ice cream and teh tarik shot, peanut cookies, onde-onde buah melaka and choc brownies. The dinner certainly showed the influences of the many cuisines that have made Malaysian food what is is today, a truly fusion cuisine. 

Norman will be back again with another pop up in Rotterdam on the 1st and 2nd of December

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