SHARJAH (United Arab Emirates) – Food lovers at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) were treated to the famous Malaysian dish, Laksa, as Malaysian chef, Sherson Lian shared his expertise in making it at the cookery corner.
Through his demonstration, Lian, the well-known host of the ‘5 Rencah 5 Rasa’ cooking show, engaged the audience with interesting titbits about the dish and how each of the 14 states in Malaysia has its own version of the world famous Laksa.
When the visitors were served a sampling of the Laksa, they were seen sipping its gravy and noodles and seemed to like and enjoy the precious Malaysian delicacy very much.
Sharing on his first experience of cooking in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lian said it was challenging as he had a hard time finding the best ingredients, such as pure coconut milk, rice noodle and belacan (shrimp paste) in the local market.
However, he said it was a pleasure and an honor to be at the 40th edition of SIBF to share a part of Malaysia’s culture and food with the lovely people in the UAE.
“I was told that there is no issue with finding the ingredients here but when I came, some of the ingredients were different. Although we couldn’t get all the ingredients, I still managed to share the taste of Laksa with them.
“This is one of the things I love about the work that I do, to be able to go out and advocate on Malaysian food and culture as well as sharing our food with the world,” he told Bernama.
On why he chose Laksa from many other Malaysian dishes, Lian said the Laksa recipe represented the taste of Malaysian food as traditional herbs were used and had so many things in one bowl just like multiracial Malaysia.
Apart from that, Lian said he wanted to introduce a dish that is uncommon to people in the UAE as they have many quality dishes in the Emirates.
“I was thinking I wanted to do a rice dish or a noodle dish, but I said to myself, these guys (Emiratis) are very good at their rice, the quality of rice they have, I rather show something a bit more uncommon to them, so that they also can have a new food experience.
“So I chose Laksa because it is our pride and joy. Every state in our country has their own version of Laksa and it can be a national dish, it is very fascinating and from what I saw, they literally sitting there and absorbing what I said because it is a new one and when they tasted it, they seemed to enjoy and love it,” he said.
Asked on how he started to learn cooking, Lian said he was growing up spending his time peeling onions and garlic because his mother was running a small cafe in Kuala Lumpur and she often enlisted his assistance to prepare traditional pastes at home.
It slowly formed his interest in cooking and made him the celebrity chef and television host he is today.
“I did not enjoy it at first, but spending enough time doing something I didn’t like then I found a way to slowly like it. Cooking grew on to me, the older I grew I started to make up my mind up to pursue cooking for a living and after that, I started to pay more attention when my mom was cooking,” he said.
Lian is one of the 11 celebrity chefs from all over the world who demonstrated their culinary skills at SIBF, which is currently ongoing at the Expo Centre Sharjah. It ends on Nov 13.