Are you hungry? Eat up at the Kuala Lumpur Big Kitchen Festival in Dataran Merdeka!
Inspired by Malaysia's ubiquitous love affair with food and seeking to bolster KL's reputation as the gastronomic centre of Southeast Asia, Visit KL by Kuala Lumpur City Hall in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture presents: the first-ever Kuala Lumpur Big Kitchen Festival!
Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib placing the spoon to mark the launch of the Festival
"The Kuala Lumpur Big Kitchen Festival 2015, taglined 'Bringing You the Gastronomic Experience', is the ideal platform to introduce Kuala Lumpur as the 'melting pot' of South East Asia," said the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib.
"Featuring chefs from Malaysia and overseas, the Festival is very much in line with our tourism master plan to develop Kuala Lumpur into a top gastronomic destination in the region," he continued.
Dataran Merdeka will be the venue for the inaugural KL Big Kitchen Festival
The three-day event will see culinary experts and enthusiastic epicureans descend upon Dataran Merdeka as it transforms into a food haven, bringing together some of the best offerings from the country’s 13 states and beyond.
With a single entry ticket, participants will gain access to eight quarters featuring over 60 food counters of state delicacies, street food, traditional sweets, heritage cuisine, fine dining, communal dining (dulang), food trucks and a Mayor's Courtyard experience, where you leave your appetite in the hands of very capable chefs as they prepare top-of-the-line cuisine in a mystery menu for a tantalising surprise.
Keep an eye out for the pop-up stalls dotted around the complex, including the FAMA (Federal Agricultural and Marketing Authority) market that specialises in Malaysian fruits and fruit juices, as well as the 'on-the-go' stalls selling the secret ingredients to Malaysian flavours - spices and purees.
Snack on local tidbits like kerepek (crackers), coconut candy and dodol (local toffee) at the tuck shops, or join the masters there at work on their pangkin (pallets) as you learn how to make heritage delicacies like kuih bangkit (tapioca cookies) and kuih bahulu (sponge cakes) in a truly hands-on experience.
It's all about promoting and embracing the importance of food to the Malaysian cultural identity. All transactions will be made with Kupang, a special token named after a traditional form of Malay currency used in the peninsula. You can purchase Kupang in denominations of half, one and five Kupang at the ticketing booth near the main entrance and exchange that for food items of your choice.
Want a chance to earn an extra Kupang? Bring your own food containers and help the Festival organisers cut down on waste in an effort to maintain their eco-friendly approach, and they will reward you with a one Kupang refund! Recycling bins will be provided throughout the compound, and the eight food zones will be using both biodegradable packaging and recyclable bags.
Chef Norman Musa showing how to plate up his signature Beef Rendang Wellington
Leading the charge of the celebrity chefs is Festival Curator Chef Norman Musa, an award-winning chef based in the UK who was appointed KL Food Ambassador in November 2014.
"I'm really excited to be here as I'm passionate about introducing Malaysian food to the world," said Chef Norman.
Don't miss the chance to catch the pros in action live with names like Chef Wan, Chef Dato' Ismail Ahmad, Chef Isadora Chai, Chef Martin Yan and more set to present cooking demonstrations and interactive cooking workshops for aspiring gourmands.
It's not all just fun and games though - you can enrich your appreciation for food from different standpoints by attending talks from experts that cover a variety of food-related subjects, ranging from comparisions between the 'national cuisines' of Malaysia and Indonesia down to the health benefits and medicinal uses of ginger. Come early as seats may be limited!
Ever wished you could be on a Masterchef episode? Now you can with the Big Kitchen Big Race, which sees 12 teams race to the famous Chow Kit fresh market, decipher clues and overcome obstacles to puzzle out the missing ingredient from incomplete recipes.
Otherwise, use your culinary creativity to create history by joining the KL Signature Mocktail Competition and the KL Signature Dish Competition, both of which intend to crown a unique KL offering to associate with the city. The winners of each competition will receive cash prizes, a trophy from the Mayor and gifts from the festival sponsors, which include Malaysia Airlines, Gas PETRONAS, Electrolux, Berjaya University College of Hospitality, Majestic Hotel and Silka Hotels.
It promises to be a truly feast-ive occasion – and everyone’s invited. Jom makan!
KL Big Kitchen Festival
When Dataran Merdeka
Where 4pm-11pm (29 May), 5pm-11pm (30, 31 May)
Admission RM10 (adult), RM8 (concession), RM5 (child)
Tel 03 2698 0332