The multi-cultural hub that is Malaysia is home to some of the most varied and delicious food one could hope for. The Indian, Chinese and Malay cuisines work both independently and together to create dishes that are packed full of flavour and have an attitude to rival a teenage dropout. Yet Malaysian food in Auckland has, until now, never really enjoyed a high profile. Sure, KK’s in Epsom is always packed to the rafters, and Sri Pinang in Newton is a veteran on the dining scene, but they don’t exactly shout it from the rooftops.
So I’ve been happy to hear a lot about Malaysian food in Auckland (and Wellington, where there are a whopping 20 Malaysian eateries) of late courtesy of the Malaysia Kitchen programme, an external trade initiave from Malaysia promoting their restaurants and food products in NZ. If you were lucky enough to make it to the Taste festival in Victoria Park late last year you might have caught Malaysia Kitchen there (I was too busy having an emergency appencdectomy and refusing hospital food), or more recently at the International Cultural Festival in Mt Roskill, this weekend just gone. I was impressed by everything I ate from the four kitchens involved – especially my all-time fave beef rendang, this one from KK. Galangal-y goodness.
The fetsival was a great insight into the many many cultures that call Auckland home. We know our city is the biggest Polynesian one in the world, but here there were proud displays of food and culture from some of the smaller ethnic groups that have made new homes here – Ethiopian, Somali, Burmese, Finnish even. Music, craft, shadow puppetry, and lots and lots of excellent food.