Turmeric to the fore at Gastronomy Week

|     Aziz Idris     |

TURMERIC (kunyit) commonly found in Bruneian dishes is an ingredient highlighted as part of the special menu for this year’s Brunei Gastronomy Week.

This was announced by Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong, who is also the Chairman of Brunei Tourism Board during the launch of Brunei Gastronomy Week 2019 at Setia Pahlawan Hall yesterday.

The minister added that the featured ingredient is in line with the objectives of the annual event to create an awareness on local cuisines, while encouraging local hoteliers and eateries to serve and improve Bruneian dishes that provide unique gastronomic experiences to visitors within or outside Brunei.

A total of 10 hotels and restaurants including the national carrier Royal Brunei Airlines and culinary students from Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) including Anjung Saujana Restaurant and The Horizons Seafood Restaurant of Royal Brunei Catering, Eco Ponies Garden, Radisson Hotel, The Rizqun International Hotel, Sumbiling Eco Village, The Brunei Hotel, The Empire Hotel & Country Club, and The Longhouse Training Restaurant, School of Hospitality and Tourism of IBTE Sultan Saiful Rijal Campus are participating in the Gastronomy Week.

The event is held in conjunction with the 35th National Day celebration whereby the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism has collaborated with several hotels and restaurants including Royal Brunei and the Association of Travel Agents to further promote the turmeric-based dishes.

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong takes a look at the spread of dishes at the event. – AZIZ IDRIS

Members of the public are encouraged to experience the Brunei Gastronomy Week starting from February 23 to March 10 to try the signature dishes such as the De-constructed Laksa by Radisson Hotel, Trio Duck served with turmeric sauce by Anjung Saujana Restaurant or the Udang Sambal Kunyit by the Longhouse Training Restaurant.

Participant shared their experience with members of the media on the challenges creating mouth-watering dishes using turmeric.

Executive Sous Chef at The Rizqun International Hotel Rizal Othman said he encouraged his team to think outside the box and create a dish based on turmeric without losing the Bruneian identity.

He also said that the most important part in food creation must be the taste accompanied by its presentation. “We need to find the right balance between these two elements,” he added.

Head Chef at The Brunei Hotel Samuel Sak described the character of turmeric being bitter in taste which is a challenge to cook and find the right balance when it comes to creating western-infused dishes.

“We try to create a dish based on the given ingredient and make it familiar to local taste but combine with western influence for presentation. Making it taste good while looking good is already a challenge.”

Head of School of Hospitality and Tourism Mohd Kamarul Izzudin bin Haji Kamaluddin said participating in Brunei Gastronomy Week has been a valuable lesson for his culinary students.

“We take this not as a challenge but a learning process for our students to explore the wide range of potential dishes with a tumeric as a base ingredient”.

The day also saw the presentation of awards for Brunei Gastronomy to the winners of 2018 by the minister. The winners are The Rizqun International Hotel for the Best Taste and Best Wholesomeness; The Empire Hotel & Country Club won the Best Presentation; Most Creative went to Radisson Hotel; the Most Innovative was won by The Brunei Hotel.

The minister also presented certificates of participation to representatives of participating agencies.

Guests during the launch sampled some of the dishes yesterday.

Senior officials from the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, foreign dignitaries, travel agencies as well as local restaurants and hoteliers were also present.