Malaysian cuisine combines an exciting range of flavors and culinary styles, in a fusion of Middle Eastern, Chinese and Indian influences. Known as a meeting place of both Eastern and Western cultures, Malaysia offers a diverse culinary melting pot. For those who would like to learn more about Malaysian cooking, the country offers some exceptional cooking classes and workshops.
Perhaps the most famous cooking school in Malaysia is LaZat Malaysian Home Cooking Class. Meaning "delicious" in the Malaysian language, LaZat offers an authentic taste of Malaysian traditional dishes in hands-on classes held Tuesday to Saturday mornings. All classes are in English, taught by Malaysian women who have lived overseas. The classes are even taught in a Malaysian home, not a school or office building, about 25 minutes from Kuala Lumpur. The home is equipped with individual cooking stations, demonstration tables and an herb garden.
Students cook from six different menus, and the informal and fun atmosphere of the school lends itself easily to making new friends and enjoying together the delicious creations at the end of each class. Instruction includes detailed explanations of ingredients, cooking methods, how-to steps and meticulously compiled recipes handed down through generations.
For five-star, luxury culinary instruction, the exquisite Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur offers its own cooking school called the Art of Cooking. Classes are led by Pacifica Bar & Grill Head Chef Dirk Haltenholf, and students are divided into small teams of three to five for more personal attention. The goal of the classes is for students to be able to re-create the renowned Pacifica restaurant's signature recipes at home.
The Mandarin Oriental even offers a junior cooking class for kids, held on the last Saturday of every month. The young students each receive an apron, towel and personalized chef's jacket as they learn to prepare a three-course meal at color-coded workstations. Students taste-test their results with Chef Dirk, and trophies are awarded for Best Starter, Best Main Course and Best Dessert.
Foodies 'N Friends
Another highly recommended culinary school in Malaysia is the catering, event and cooking school company of Foodies 'n Friends. With the belief that food is the basis for culture and society, Foodies 'n Friends offers not only cooking instruction but an atmosphere in which food is a means of cultural exchange. Run by food and restaurant writer and experienced cook Hannah Abisheganaden, Foodies 'n Friends provides an ongoing schedule of gourmet cooking classes and workshops, as well as in-home private "cook-ins" and culinary travel tours both in and out of Malaysia.
At Restaurant Rebung, you can take cooking classes from well-known Malaysian celebrity chefs Ismail and Florence Tan. The classes concentrate on authentic Asian and ethnic Malaysian cuisines, with an emphasis on the entire process of cooking. Each class begins with a morning trip to the local market, followed by a return to the restaurant for instruction and, of course, eating the results. Their bubbly and fun classes are always in demand.
The Malaysian Culinary Experience
Malaysians are passionate about food, and the combinations of influences and ingredients used in Malaysian cooking is sure to make classes at any of these venues a fun and delicious endeavor.
- Photo Credit Photo courtesy of LaZat Malaysian Home Cooking Class