The 16th Malaysian Food Fair in The Hague was a resounding success. Foodies from all over the Netherlands and beyond came to experience the diversity of Malaysian cuisine. The delicacies included both real classics such as satay, mee goreng and laksa soup as well as lesser known specialities, herbs, drinks and deserts.
The 2 day presentation held on the weekend of 21st to 22nd of May was organised by the Ladies Association of the Embassy of Malaysia in The Hague in cooperation with the local Malaysian community. “The idea of having this event is to promote our country through its food”,the Ambassador of Malaysia to the Netherlands, Mr Ahmad Nazri Yusof, told MALAYSIA INSIGHTS, “We have a very unique food culture because of the cultural diversity in Malaysia. Over time, people from different races developed their own food which derived from many different sources. That in itself is quite unique.”
More than a dozen caterers offered their home made specialities. Some of them have been involved in the fair for many years, such as Mee Pean Cheok from Amsterdam who participated for the 5th time. Being a professional baker and caterer promoting her services under the brand “Taste of Melaka”, she offered delicious cakes and pastries with exotic names such as Angku Kuih, Nyonya Zhang or Pulut Taitai. Pauline at the neighboring booth, on the other hand, gave her debut at the food fair. “I finished all my Sambal”, she said with a smile, “I quickly made a new charge but now its all sold.” Luckily she still had plenty other culinary delights such as a desert made of red beans and coconut milk.
Inaugurated in 2001, the Malaysian Food Fair has become a jour fixe in the annual schedule of the Embassy’s events. “The planning took three weeks.” Zuraini Abdul Ghani, the Cultural Affairs Attachee, pointed out. “The Malaysia Association of the Netherlands support us in serving the drinks and the other stores are by the local Malaysians. The store that I am working with is run by the Malaysian Ladies Association (Perwakilan The Hague).”
With approximately 600 to 1,000 Malaysians living in The Netherlands the community is quite small compared to other Asian diasporas. Therefore it is a bit hard to find authentic Malaysian food. “Unfortunately there is no Malaysian restaurant in The Hague”, Madam Zuraina said, “but that is why many people are very looking forward to our food fair.” On the opening day, some 800 visitors came from all over the country, some even from neighboring countries such as Germany. Many Asian expats living in the Netherlands, from Indonesia, Singapore, China and Japan were also spotted enjoying the delicious Malaysian food. According to Madam Zuraina, “many of our visitors are coming every year.” And given the joyous mood that took place during the weekend event it is certainly not too far-fetched to assume that many of them will return again next year.