#22: Spicy Science

Ah, spiciness! Many cuisines of the world wouldn't be complete without the aroma and heat of the chili pepper. But really, what is it about spiciness that makes it so saliva-inducing, so flavourful, so head-scratchingly addictive? In this two-part episode, we first learn about the science behind spiciness from Dr. Chong Li Choo, a lecturer and culinology programme director from Taylor's University. Then, we hear from JinnyboyTV's Jin Lim & Brandon Ho about Hot Guys, their latest YouTube series where they eat the spiciest food around Malaysia.

(Photo credit: The Paleo Diet)

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#21: Vibing Over Vegan Ice Cream

Veganism has been shaking up the food world in recent years. From nut butters to açaí bowls to the all-too-common avo toast, we've been seeing more and more vegan foods in our daily meals. So this week, we speak to Ishpal Bajaj, co-founder of Kind Kones, one the most successful vegan brands in Malaysia. He talks about the beginnings of Kind Kones, how his vegan ice creams are made, and we touch on the divisive topic of veganism.

(Photo credit: Kind Kones (Shot and styled by the dynamic duo—Calvin Goh and Trisha Toh)

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#20: Bananas About Bananas

The humble banana is Malaysia's second most consumed fruit, topped only by coconuts, and yes, we have it more than durians! And while the world banana market might be dominated by one variety of banana—the Cavendish—over here in Malaysia, we're blessed with over 100 different cultivars.This week, Siti Aiysyah Tumin,a researcher from the Khazanah Rsearch Institute, talks about her published study of the Malaysian banana industry, divulges some surprising findings, and shares her favourite banana cultivars with us.

(Photo credit: this random Pinterest board)

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#19: Barbecue

Barbecue might be a cuisine and lifestyle tied to the American South, but here in Malaysia, we have a booming barbecue scene too. Nazri Jameson from Beard Brothers’ BBQ—one of the recent breakout stars of the KL barbecue scene—speaks to us about his start, the tribulations of BBQ in Malaysia, and how he perfected his beef brisket. 

(Photo credit: The Star, www.star2.com)

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SPECIAL EPISODE: Maddening Beers

Here’s a previously unreleased episode of an interview I recorded awhile back. It’s a chat with Kennhyn Ang, one of the beer evangelist in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia. Despite our strict brewing laws (Malaysia has only 3 licensed brewers) he’s managed to make some truly local beers. We talk about the Malaysian beer scene, his beer story, and his crazy cocktail of beers. (Laksa beer, anyone?)

The episode didn’t make it on air on BFM, mainly due to the strict alcohol sensitivity and laws we’re bound to here in Malaysia. So we’ve had to strip it down to its bare-bones version, sans the usual Breaking Bread music and edits. But still, Kennhyn’s enthusiasm for beer more than makes up for it. Honestly.

(Photo credit: Malaysian Tatler)

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#18: Malaysian Caviar

Just when you think Malaysia has few atas foods or ingredients, in swoops Malaysian caviar! Yes, tucked away in a little farm in Tanjung Malim, Perak, is Malaysia's very first caviar farm, and possibly the world's first 'tropical' caviar! AJ Lim and Shaun Kenneth Simon from T'Lur Caviar speak to us about caviar farming, debate the shifting trends of the caviar industry, and teaches us how to taste caviar!

(Photo credit: www.malaymail.com)

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#17: Malaysian Ingredients, But Not As You Know Them

As Malaysians, we might be familiar with our chillies and rendangs, know the aromas of our ulams and seloms, and be able to tell apart halias and kunyits. But how about buah kepayang, temu pauh, and cendawan kukur? The ingredients of our land are so wild and varied, but we've barely scratched the surface of them all in our everyday Malaysian food.

So on the show, Andrew Wong from Open House restaurant shares some of the little-known local ingredients and sambals he's serving at his restaurant, and we discuss the evolution of Malaysian dining too.

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#16: Ramadan Bazaar

We're nearing the end of the Ramadan period, and over the past month, there have been bazaars popping up in the evenings all across the country. So in this two-part episode, we explore a few classic bazaar dishes with Haniff Baharudin from the I Love KL show, and speak to Nik & Stephanie from Mean Mince, who recently set up their very first burger stall at the TTDI Ramadan bazaar, to learn more about the bazaar experience.

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#15: Tau Foo Fa

The soy bean is a versatile crop that holds mighty importance in Malaysia and many parts of Asia. We use it to make tofu, soy milk, tempeh, miso, and a variety of silky, funky foods.

So this week, we talk to Carmen and Joe Lau, siblings and owners of Dáo, a dessert shop in Subang Jaya that focuses on the soy bean. We discuss soy desserts, talk about the differences in soy milk in KL and their hometown of Ipoh, and how they tread the fine line between modern and traditional tau foo fah.

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#14: Matcha

While matcha, or green tea, is a common flavour in many modern desserts and drinks, most of the commercial matcha available actually taste worlds apart from the true, artisanal matchas of Japan. Long steeped in rituals and traditions, these Japanese teas can be rich, nutty and overflowing with umami.

Lucky for us in Malaysia, we have Syun Hattori and Izzat Iskandar, who are trying to educate and awaken us to these better, bolder matchas. We speak to them about their business—Niko Neko Matcha, and learn all about the identity and tradition behind this tea.

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#13: Soy Sauce

Soy sauce plays a major part in our cooking, whether it's in soy braises, seasoning for stir-fries, or even just as a condiment for the half-boiled eggs us Malaysians have for breakfast. But little has been said about the lengthy, laborious process behind it.

So to shed light on this humble sauce, Shirley Chia from Musees Soy Sauce shares about the intricacies of making soy sauce, her family's soy business, and how she's taking it into a modern, more artisanal direction.

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#12: What Is Authentic Food, Really?

Ah, authenticity… It’s a tricky, sensitive topic in the world of food today. Southern food—with all its cultural ties to African-American communities—is being whitewashed, Asian food is being modernised and fusionised to suit Western palates (though they can definitely turn out to be greater than the sum of its parts), and it seems no one is safe from criticism about authenticity, not even Gordon Ramsay.

Though the conversation on authentic food is less disparaging here in Malaysia, it’s still an intriguing, if not immediately important, topic to tackle. So I talked to Dr. Eric Olmedo, a sociologist and food anthropologist, about whether some of the famous foods in Malaysian cuisine are truly, authentically ‘Malaysian’.

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#11: White Rabbit Ice Cream

The nostalgic-Asian-flavour-in-ice-cream trend in real, because White Rabbit ice cream just hit Malaysia!!! And surprise, surprise, ice cream veterans Inside Scoop were the first ones to jump on the bandwagon. So I just had to bring them in for a chat.

We talk white rabbit candy, food crazes, and even got to taste the ice cream on the show! The verdict? I had my doubts for sure, but, surprisingly, it had not a hint of that childhood candy cloy, and instead was just pure milky, creamy ecstasy! I give it a perfect score—5/7. 😉

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#010: Malaysian Chocolate

Ahh chocolate… I’m a sucker for chocolate, so much so that I miiight even consider myself a chocolate snob. Cadbury and Hershey’s? Uh, no thank you. (Please excuse my boujee-ness. 😅)

So I was super excited to get Ning onto the show, to talk about chocolate, the growing Malaysian cocoa industry, and how he’s working with indigenous tribes of the Malaysian rainforest to produce single-origin chocolate. (I also got given a chocolate bar, hehe. Perks of the job, eh?)

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#009: Heirloom Rice

As Asians, we eat a lot of rice. It’s a staple in our diet, yet we pay very little attention to it, often coupling it with stronger flavours and intense sauces, with the rice serving more as a vehicle for these flavours. But really, there can be so much flavour to the rice itself.

This is especially true when it comes to heirloom rice varieties, as I found out from Lilian Chen and Melisa Lim. They’re co-founders of the Langit Collective, a social enterprise championing rice farmers in East Malaysia, and honestly I learnt so much about rice farming, and the challenges many East Malaysian farmers face.

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