Some of you will remember me being in Malaysia last year (especially if you follow me on Instagram) and you may have been wondering why. Well if you didn’t already know, I was there filming an episode for the series ‘A Cook Abroad’, which is currently airing on BBC 2. My episode will be airing on Monday 9th March at 9pm on BBC 2.
When the BBC approached me to do an episode of ‘A Cook Abroad’, it sounded like a dream come true. My biggest inspiration comes from when I go out and meet people, hear their stories, discover their passions and taste their food – and this show is all about that. Straight away it was obvious that the place I wanted to go to was Malaysia. Despite having a reputation for being a French food lover, I actually have a deep passion for all things hot and spicy too (hence the fact I always have a jar of these pickled chillies in my fridge).
My Malaysian heritage meant that instead of being born with a silver spoon in my mouth I was born with a spoon of sambal (a spicy salty chilli paste – synonymous with Malaysian cooking). On my visits to Malaysia as a kid I would quite happily eat a variety of Durian, impressing my relatives. Durian is also known as the King of fruits and seen as a delicacy. You’ve probably heard about (or potentially smelt) it’s very pungent odour. It’s so powerful that it’s illegal to carry on public transport in many South-East Asian countries!
Smelly fruits aside I wanted to make the most of this opportunity to not only eat some fantastic food but also explore what it’s like to live there. The history of Malaysia has created a melting pot population which in turn has made a highly diverse and interesting culture.
Malaysia’s ethnic make up is made out of Malaysian Malays, Malaysian Chinese, Malaysian Indian, Orang Asli (aboriginals) and a few other small ethnic groups. I always find how people interact, especially when they have different cultural references, fascinating. Through my Dad and my visits to Malaysia I very much experienced the Chinese side of Malaysia. I’m no hard hitting journalist but in my own way, I tried to delve into what it means to be Malaysian rather than focusing on one particular ethnic group.
The more I explored Malaysia, ate the mouth-watering food and talked to different people, the more I realised it was going to be impossible to fit everything into a one hour show (I’m sure there will be a barrage of people tweeting why I didn’t eat this or try that ;-). If you fancy watching what I got up to (and more importantly all the amazing food I ate) in Malaysia, make sure to tune in on Monday 9th March at 9pm on BBC 2.
More about A Cook Abroad series on the BBC website.