Selamat Hari Merdeka!
Hari Merdeka (also know as independence day) commemorates the independence of Malaysia from British colonial rule. Tomorrow, 31 Aug 2012 marks our 55th year of independence. It’s a time for celebration, feasting and an occasion to reflect on my roots … even while feasting on local delicacies.
Nothing reflects culture more than food. And for us Malaysians, food is everything. We travel for it, we celebrate it and we identify ourselves with it. Nothing like the twirl of colorful raw fish (yee sang), the lushy fresh vegetables (ulam) and the crispy delicious chapatti all served on the same table. Through each taste savour, you can experience Malaysia’s culinary delights and appreciate the harmony among diversity we enjoy.
On occasions like Merdeka, you will be forgiven for eating more than usual but it will still be good to practice some moderation. While not all of our mouth watering delights are exactly health oriented, we do have a few traditional delicacies that are actually healthy!
Did you know satay can be healthy? It’s grilled for one thing. And often served with cucumbers and onions serve as an antioxidant which counters the carcinogenic effect of charcoal!
Who can forget the famous Chicken Rice? Chicken is a very good source of protein and the steamed rice provides enough carbohydrates to last through the day. Without a doubt, chicken rice is high in calorie, but we can still enjoy this awesome dish by substituting chicken rice with plain rice or by moderating how much we eat.
Chapati is made from wheat! And we all know the great benefits of wheat which is high in energy, low in calories and also great for our digestive system. Often served with lentils curry, dhal, which is a great source for protein!
An Ibanese favorite is Manok Pansoh which consists of chicken and lemongrass cooked in a bamboo log over an open fire. Both bamboo and lemongrass are rich in vitamins and minerals and when cooked with other ingredients such as garlic, onions and ginger it’s simply delicious!
Malaysians are certainly passionate about our food, and we have good reasons for that. The colourful variety on our dinner table is a testament to our proud heritage and shared portion in this nation’s future.
This article is written by Janice Kee Ping Sze, a Staff of Great Eastern Life Malaysia and is published with the author’s permission.
Janice is a Penangite who enjoys jogging along the coastline and feasting on delectable local delights and Asian cuisine.
- Wonton Noodles (Malaysian Wantan Mee) (rasamalaysia.com)