SINGAPORE: The Malaysian High Commission in Singapore took full advantage of the Aidilfitri celebrations to promote the country's traditional food and culture.

Through the Malaysian Culture and Traditional Cuisine Promotion Programme launched today, the high commission served a variety of dishes such as chicken and beef rendang, satay, lemang, nasi impit, roti canai, teh tarik as well as pastries such as kole kacang to more than 200 guests at Rumah Malaysia here.

Malaysia's High Commissioner to Singapore, Datuk Dr. Azfar Mohamad Mustafar (pix), said the programme is in line with Malaysia's desire to list the country's traditional foods as Intangible Cultural Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

“The programme introduced this year is part of our promotion towards getting UNESCO recognition.

“The traditional foods prepared by the staff of the commission, as well as the chefs brought from Malaysia, are dishes enjoyed by all layers of the diverse society in Malaysia, and we hope that programmes like these can promote our food on the international stage,“ he told Bernama.

Previously, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture announced that it had submitted the nomination for Malaysian Breakfast Culture to UNESCO last March, including highlighting breakfast food culture that is customary to the people of Malaysia such as nasi lemak, roti canai, and teh tarik.

Meanwhile, the Chairwoman of the Foreign Ministry Women's Association (Representation) of Singapore, Datin Che Norhayati Soib, who was instrumental in the programme, said she personally cooked the main dishes like rendang to ensure the quality of the food served is guaranteed.

“For this programme, we used 30 kilogrammes of beef and had to cook two rounds until 3 o’clock this morning because the quantity prepared was large, and we just finished cooking.

“We also personally grilled the lemang, from five in the morning until yesterday evening to ensure everything served is fresh,“ said Che Norhayati, who is also the wife of the Malaysian High Commissioner.

Che Norhayati said this year she also prepared dishes sent by the Malaysian High Commission to prominent figures in Singapore including Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

“This year, Datuk (Azfar) chose to send traditional foods like rendang and lemang in tiered vessels to more than 40 prominent figures, unlike previous years when we sent festive hampers,“ she said.

Meanwhile, one of the guests, Sophie Shaikh, President of the Singapore-Pakistan Association, said as someone who loves to cook, she was delighted to be invited to the programme.

“Today I had the roti canai, it was really nice and fluffy. I’m actually quite familiar with Malaysian food and I myself can cook rendang. I find Malaysian food very tasty, even my children all love them,“ she said.