Agriculture is not static. It is a process that unfolds over time and interlaces with both the ecosystem it is based and the society it is located. Social, cultural, political, and economic forces can have enduring effects. To be truly sustainable and adaptable to changes, the field must be capable of continually evolving while preserving the human and natural resources that it draws from. In Malaysia, the entire food chain from producers down to consumers has come together to chart the future of agriculture here. These are the emerging developments to keep an eye on.
Penang has firmly staked its place in the global food map, attracting hundreds of thousands of arrivals hungry for a taste of the state’s multitudinous and distinctive cuisines. Penang delicacies are trending, with the potential to reach the ubiquity of international fare the likes of Japanese and Thai. For that to happen, the momentum needs to be maintained in continuing to promote local dishes, educate people about local flavours, and share local ingredients.
An early Sarawak market visit with chef from Four Points by Sheraton Hotel Kuching.
The Malaysian cuisine is unique due to the combination of exotic spices and local ingredients used, this is especially true when it comes to Malay and Indian cuisines where fresh red chilies are a pivotal ingredient in forming the fundamental taste profiles.
Appreciating wild and exotic type mushrooms is an age-old gastronomical tradition in Europe, where dozens of varieties have been made available to the consumers; people know precisely what they are looking for. In the land of continental cooking, culinary connoisseurs prize mushrooms based on their rarity and chefs love pairing mushrooms to foods according to their characteristic flavour. In Malaysia, over the past ten years or so, we have seen different types of mushroom being cultivated by commercially by different experts. However, the oyster mushroom, with a long standing-history of being part of the Malaysian cuisine, is a widely grown variety in the country.
Imagine a narrow cobblestone alleyway bustling with life. Street vendors selling fresh, vibrantly-hued local produce at every corner. Haggling housewives amongst fishmongers and grocers, having a good laugh, sharing recipes, tossing bright red tomatoes into rattan-woven shopping baskets. In an ideal world, so charming a scene would be commonplace. The need for brightly-lit, air-conditioned hypermarts decimated, such local farmers’ markets would then surely thrive. That is, however, strictly-speaking in an ideal world. Hypermarkets are, in reality, a necessity. Yet there is no disputing the benefits of buying and eating locally.