Archives: Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2014 (01-31 October 2014)

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Bunga Emas
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Bunga Emas
The Golden Touch
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After an entire month of feasting on a truly international range of gourmet cuisine in Kuala Lumpur, it was time to return to something closer to both heart and home – and the majestic Bunga Emas, host of the last MIGF Publicity Dinner of the year, was the perfect place to do so.

Grand wooden doors opened onto an intricate kolam (a floor painting made with rice) specially created just the night before, a tribute to the recent Deepavali festival and a forerunner of the celebration of culinary culture and tradition that was soon to come.

Datin Su Wai Fun, Princess Dr Becky M. Leogardo, Michael Mantz and Dato' Kee Hua Chee

 Desmond Wong and Malkit Singh  Robert Gerald Clarke and Lee Clarke


As guests passed through a canopy of hanging gold leaves into the traditional-style setting inspired by Malay village houses, they were greeted by an ingenious fire and ice display in accordance with the ‘Red Hot Chefs’ theme: vibrant cili padi (bird’s eye chilli)–infused mocktails provided the heat, along with small sweet-sour glasses of roselle, while a beautifully carved ice bed beneath kept things cool.

 Cili padi mocktails and glasses of red roselle  Canapes: Otak-otak and chicken percik with mango salsa


“Nothing connects like food,” said MIGF Organising Chairman Dato’ Steve Day, and indeed it was a distinguished group that awaited the night’s fare, including Executive Chairman of Tradewinds Venture, Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad bin Ismail; Founder/Chief Executive Officer of BML Group of Companies, Princess Dr Becky M. Leogardo; Director and Corporate Advisor of KPJ Healthcare Group, Datin Paduka Siti Sa’diah Sheikh Bakir; and Director of Abic SSShima Sdn Bhd, Robert Gerald Clarke.

Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad, Datin Paduka Siti, Nur Afika Shahrudin, Princess Becky and Dato' Steve Day

 Andrea Ahrens and Uwe Ahrens  Sooria Perera and Jeffrey Perera


Though the Red Hot Chef himself – Chef Nizam Samsu – was absent due to an unfortunate accident, his influence from his experience in western banqueting remained starkly present in the live demonstration of his Festival Menu, as Executive Chef Sabri Soid was soon to showcase in his stead.

 Chef Nizam Samsu  Executive Chef Sabri Soid


The emergence of smoking red-green chilli centrepieces signified the start of a feast fit for kings, with restaurant manager Najib Abdullah proclaming the courses one by one as they were presented, just like royal heralds of times long past.

Giving guests the gold class treatment

First in line was a cold appetiser described by Chef Sobri as a ‘Malay tartare’, made of kobe beef, smoked salmon and tuna all marinated in chilli, lemongrass and ginger, then wrapped in betel leaf and set upon a bed of crunchy suhun with pine nut and pomegranate sauce.

Cold Appetiser: Master Kobe with Pine Nut, Pomegranate Sauce

Next in the procession was the warm appetiser of pan seared scallop and foie gras, the former cooked in turmeric before being placed on a bed of avocado and kesum (also known as Vietnamese mint) and lightly blowtorched; the latter sat upon a carrot and mango salad, looking as inviting as it smelled – “just smelling it [makes] you feel hungry”, according to Princess Becky. A purple sweet potato crisp, tiny red ixora flowers and sweet chilli sauce completed the dish.

Warm Appetiser: Pan Seared Foie Gras, Scallop with Avocado and Kesum, Morel Micro Cress, Sweet Chilli Sabayon

The fruity sweetness of the pink raspberry sorbet with honey pineapple was tempered by a pinch of sour assam boi (tamarind) powder, a delicious contrast of flavours that prepared the palate for the soup course.

Honey Pineapple and Raspberry Sorbet

Chef Nizam’s penchant for ‘playing’ with taste and presentation was evident in this dish – cream of red sweet potato. Attractively presented upon a wooden tray of local spices, the sweet potato was sautéed with carrot and onion before being boiled and blended to result in a golden brown broth. The surprise was a spoonful of premium black caviar floating in the soup, which delighted Datin Paduka Siti.

Cream of Red Sweet Potato Soup with Local Basil and Black Caviar Cordon Noir

“Red sweet potato, I think, has never been served in this way – as a soup – and with caviar thrown in! I don’t normally see that. That makes it very unique and special,” she said.

Chef Sabri and team hard at work plating up this unique dish behind the scenes

Paul and Maria, resident performers of the Royale Chulan’s Lanai Lounge, appeared to serenade guests as the surf n’ turf main courses were served. First to appear was a veritable tower of food in a moat of coriander tomato-cumin gravy, comprising a huge chunk of braised short rib atop a dab of yam puree and wearing a crown of baby carrot and broccoli.

Braised Short Rib in Onion, Coriander Tomato-Cumin Gravy and Yam

The exuberant Dr Mahdi Moudini entertained his fellow dinner guests with a few exciting illusions as they waited for their next course, changing a one ringgit note into an American dollar bill and making all manner of objects disappear before the eyes of the cheering audience.

Now you see it, now you don't: Dr Mahdi Moudini performing for Farah Halim and other guests

There certainly was a touch of magic in the air as the ‘surf’ course of golden pomfret stuffed with Alaskan king crab finally arrived, topped with a forkful of karipoley noodles and colourful vegetable garnishes within a singgang broth.

Stuffed Golden Pomfret in Singgang Broth with Alaskan King Crab and Karipoley Noodle

Chef Sabri described the dish as being ‘daring’ due the singgang broth normally being eaten with rice instead of noodles, but that sense of adventure paid off for General Manager of Sales of City-Link Express Holdings Sdn Bhd, Desmond Wong, who said it was “something different” and gave it top marks.

“The taste of cooking must be Malay,” said Chef Nizam of the Festival Menu, and that extended all the way down to the dessert – fermented rice timbale wrapped in banana leaf with blueberry compote, coconut crumble and yoghurt ice cream. Of particular note was the madu tualang – seasonal wild jungle honey – that can only be harvested from the tualang tree.

Fermented Rice Timbale with Blueberry Compote, Coconut Crumble and Yoghurt Ice Cream

Cups of kopi kampung (traditional coffee) and teh misai kucing (Java tea) rounded up the princely spread as Chef Sobri and his team emerged to a royal round of applause.

A very appreciative dinner crowd led by Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad

“It’s very seldom you’ll get [Malay fine dining]. Not many people will have nice fine dining like this. I know when they first opened it was a challenge – and now it’s one of the best,” said Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad in his closing speech – and on that jubilant note, the final Festival Dinner of MIGF 2014 came to a golden end.

Don't wait to try the Malay fine dining at Bunga Emas! The Full Festival Menu is RM180++ per person, while the Light Menu is RM150++ per person, both without wine.