Malaysia Kitchen @ GFWS (Part 1: Adam Liaw Cooking Demo)

Over the weekend, I went to the Good Food and Wine Show (GFWS) in Melbourne which has indeed become an annual event that cannot be missed. Not only is it right up my alley, you know, being a foodie and all.. it was also a great opportunity for me to catch up with my fellow foodie mates and meet celebrity chefs. Of course, there’s the food sampling. Not only do you get to sample one of the most diverse range of food and wine you will ever find under one roof, you also get to learn new things and taste new food and see new kitchen products.
One of the new additions to the GFWS this year is Malaysia Kitchen.

Malaysia Kitchen aims to promote Malaysian cuisine in Australia, and the stall B30 features cooking demonstrations and tasting by various participating Malaysian restaurants from Melbourne. I am personally very excited for this new addition at the show. I can’t help but feel proud to be Malaysian whenever I see non-Malaysians enjoy our food! Food is after all our pride and joy. We really do pride ourselves as a colorful country with a diverse culture and amazing flavors in our food!

One thing I love most about Malaysia Kitchen’s stall is that it wasn’t promoting any products for sale – it was purely to share knowledge of Malaysian food and give away free samples and great food tasting sessions!
My adventure began on Friday afternoon during my lunch break. Adam Liaw (MasterChef Australia Season 2 Winner) who is also a Malaysian did a cooking demonstration featuring two local Malaysian dishes aka “Ayam Kapitan” and “Seafood Char Kuay Teow”.
I thought Adam did quite a good job at representing Malaysian cooking. Although I must admit the entertainment for the day was partially contributed by the “crazy” and almost “stalker-ish” antics of the photographer…
We all had quite a giggle at this photographer’s cheeky behaviour. He was constantly in Adam’s face and had the curiousity of a cat. It was quite funny and entertaining to observe 🙂

Oh let’s not deviate too far from the cooking itself. Adam took just over an hour to prepare two dishes. One which turned out great – and the other not so great due to various reasons I will explain in a minute.

The dish that turned out great was of course the Ayam Kapitan, which is a Nyonya styled Chicken dish that is sort of like a curry, but not really. Adam used wonderful flavors in this dish – ginger, galangal, turmeric, chilli, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, belachan (dried shrimp paste) and candlenuts and coconut cream for the thick and creamy consistency.

He chopped up a whole chicken into smaller pieces, the way most Malaysian chicken dishes are cooked as we Malaysians love the texture of chicken and flavors retained by leaving in the bone. Also, we Malaysians are not afraid to indulge in some chicken skin!

Adam’s second dish, the Seafood Char Kuay Teow, did not go so well. To be fair on him, he did see it coming but pushed on and did his best anyway. The way I see it, it was poor planning from the organiser’s side of things as Adam had to deal with these “complications”:
  • Cooking Char Kuay Teow requires a really hot, gas heat. Adam had to make do using an electric stove which takes forever to heat up and is never hot enough.
  • The wok was brand new and unseasoned. The best form of Malaysian cooking is using a good, well seasoned wok.
  • Cooking Char Kuay Teow requires, not surprisingly, Kuay Teow noodles – which are wide, flat rice noodles. The noodles supplied was flimsy Pad Thai noodles in a packet. It was doomed to fail. I know from first hand experience of trying to cook CKT using Pad Thai noodles that it is very, very easy for it to turn soggy and break before you’re even close to finishing cooking the dish.
  • Adam needed fresh prawns for the best results with this dish. He was given cooked prawns to work with.
  • Another important element of this dish is the crunchiness of bean shoots to finish it off just before serving. Adam was NOT given bean shoots. I feel sorry for that Char Kuay Teow, lol.
So basically, Adam did the best he could given the circumstances. For your viewing pleasure, he is a video of Adam Liaw showing us how NOT to cook a Char Kuay Teow.
Afterwards, Adam was kind enough to stick around for photos for the crazy photographer (lol) and his fans. Here are some paparazzi photos:

And guess who decided to make an appearance! Poh Ling Yeow, MasterChef Season 1 Runner Up who now has her own cooking show on ABC, her own cookbook and overall one of the more successful post MasterChef contestant!

Poh had a big laugh because crazy photographer told them both to “touch heads” LOL.

She wore a cute outfit on the day and was the loveliest, sweetest most humble person ever. We love you Poh 🙂
….. To Be Continued

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