Malaysian students cooked up a storm in a heated competition with the winning team turning halal plant-based meat from Taiwan into delectable Malaysian rendang.
The Taiwanese Halal Food & Plant-based Meat Cooking Contest was held for the first time during the Taiwan Expo 2022 in Malaysia to promote Taiwan’s halal ingredients here. The event was organized by the Taiwan Halal Center and the Bureau of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Taiwan. Ten culinary arts students from the Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) showed off their skills in this electrifying competition using high-quality halal ingredients specially flown in from Taiwan for the event. It was a meaningful event that highlighted the possibilities for international halal food interactions.
The organisers were honoured to welcome international celebrity chef Mohd Johari Edrus (Chef Jo) as the judge for the competition. While Mr. James Chang, Director of Economic Division of the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Malaysia, was invited to present the awards to the winners. The event that was held at Sunway Velocity Mall drew a large crowd eager to witness the delightful culinary creations.
Global Ingredients, Hometown Taste
For the competition, the contestants were given 90 minutes to create two dishes each, and the five teams were required to use the 11 designated Taiwanese halal ingredients in their creations. The ingredients include plant-based meat from companies such as No Meating, Land Young Foods, GoldenCrops (Sungift) and VegeFarm C as well as seafood sauce and fish floss from HuikunFirm, wasabi pepper salt from Sung Ghing, sweet potato fries from K.K. Orchard, brown sugar from Hei Tang Dau, and Udon from Sanuki Co.
This was the first time that many of the contestants had worked with Taiwanese halal ingredients and they expressed their delight at the opportunity to experiment with the high-quality halal food from Taiwan and the popular plant-based meat that has taken the world by storm in recent years. For them, winning or losing was secondary, and having this unique experience was the most important part of this competition.
The five teams unleashed their creativity to come up with many outstanding dishes. Some whipped up dishes inspired by Sabah’s traditional food, and some combined spaghetti and western pastries with Malay dishes to create amazing appetizers and main dishes. Others cleverly incorporated plant-based meat and tofu to create mouth-watering Malaysian-styled food. It was a riot of modernity, tradition, nostalgia, and boldness that fully captures the essence of the featured ingredients!
The winners of the competition are Maxlan Edrien Marom and Mohammad Firdaus bin Buraera from Sabah. The winning duo put on the chef toque embroidered with the Taiwan Halal Center’s logo and received the prize of RM1,000, certificates, and a set of Taiwanese cookery and knives.
The duo was excited and surprised to take home the top spot in their first-ever competition. What makes them even happier is successfully recreating their hometown dishes’ taste with Taiwanese halal ingredients, especially the halal plant-based meat dish that fully captured the flavours they were aiming for.
Bridging Malaysia and Taiwan Through Culture
According to Mr. James Chang, the advocacy by many global celebrities and media to embrace a more sustainable diet and protect animals has led to the widespread adoption of plant-based meat in recent times. Although the trend seems new, Taiwan has in fact long been a leader in plant-based meat production and has accumulated plenty of technical expertise in the field. Through this halal cooking competition, Malaysian Muslims are able to see the different culinary possibilities of Taiwanese halal ingredients and hopefully increase their appreciation of Taiwanese halal food.
Chang was also full of praise for the dedication and skills of the contestants. He added that it was truly heart-warming seeing the group of energetic and creative young chefs working on Taiwan’s high-quality halal ingredients to create these exquisite dishes.
Chef Jo also praised the variety of halal ingredients used in the competition. He believes that cooking is the best way for people to share their culture, and through the competition, one not only sees the passion of these budding cooking talents but the contestants themselves were presented the with the opportunity to learn more about the characteristics of these Taiwanese ingredients and turn them into creative Malaysian dishes.
As the competition unfolds on stage, the audience was treated to the delicious goodness of Taiwanese halal products as the organizers handed out samples of popular Taiwanese beverages including the hugely popular Shih Chen 3:15pm’s milk tea, Hua Shi Jian’s Naturalism tea sachet, and Biozyme enzyme drink.
To find out more about Taiwan’s halal ingredients, kindly contact the Taiwan Trade Center in Kuala Lumpur at 03-2031 2388 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org