SWEET, Savoury and Sour… these are the distinctive taste of Laksa that makes it a favourite dish amongst Malaysians, and soon will be making its way to restaurants internationally, as Chef Anthony Bourdain will be adding Laksa to his menu, when he opens his upcoming restaurant in New York.
During a press conference at Parkroyal Hotel to promote the 5th Langkawi International Laksa Festival (LILAC) 2016, celebrity Chef Joe, said: “LILAC is Laksa, and Laksa is Langkawi.” There are no countries that serves Laksa like Malaysia, that’s why the terminology is getting popular amongst foreign chefs who are adding it to their menu,
“In the eyes of the world, Laksa is a special dish and we are proud to host this event in Langkawi, as the noodles are made of rice, and Kedah is the rice bowl of the nation,” added Joe, who was previously the chief juror at MasterChef Malaysia for five seasons.
This year, the carnival, with the theme “I love Laksa” will be held from May 27 to 29 May at Laman Padi, Chenang, Langkawi. About 30,000 people are expected to attend the carnival, featuring 15 Laksa vendors from various states throughout the country, and four South East Asian countries Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and South Korea. Its interesting to see what these foreign Laksa chefs have to offer.
Laksa vendors who are good will be offered a spot, and past record shows they can triple their earnings during the weekend. There will also be live cooking demonstration and cooking contest etc. where you can pick up great recipes. Besides Laksa, other traditional dishes are also available including cendol, nasi dagang, nasi kerabu and local cakes.
During the conference, LADA Deputy CEO Dato’ Rozaina Radzi said the number of local and international tourist arrivals has been steadily increasing over the years. “This year, the aim is to gather 32,000 people to attend this event, which is to increase another 7% from past year’s arrival,” she said.
Besides enjoying Laksa, there will also be cooking demonstrations by Chef Joe (MasterChef), and other local celebrities like Dato’ Dr Fazley of MasterChef Celebrity Chef, Sheila Rusly of Celebrity Chef and Sarah Benjamin of Celebrity Chef/Asian Food Channel (AFC) Talent Chef. Other fun activities include Laksa cooking contest, art performances, a special appearance by Upin & Ipin and Teh Tarik King Malaysia Mr. Fakir to enlighten the atmosphere. There are also competitions with total prizes worth RM50,000 to be won. The programmes usually run from 10am to 6pm.
LILAC which is usually held at end of May is gaining popularity as an international food festival in Malaysia. Organized by LADA (Langkawi Development Authority), one of its goals is to encourage more international homegrown events to be organised on the island and boost Langkawi’s tourism industry.
LADA Deputy CEO Dato’ Rozaina Radzi said the aim of having LILAC in Langkawi is to share the significant taste of local food available here compared to other states in Malaysia. “The theme for this year is `I Love Laksa’ which engages our 5 senses to highlight the variety of authentic Laksa as well as delicious and scrumptious traditional desserts from different states in Malaysia and Asia.”
She added the chosen venue is Laman Padi (or Rice Garden) where the rice museum of Langkawi is located. It covers a vast area and is home to several paddy fields and research centre related to rice harvesting.
Rozaina said the campaign is in line with Discover Kedah Year 2016 with the focus to boost domestic tourism in Langkawi, and promote the island as an affordable family getaway and one of UNESCO Global Geopark — with distinct 550 million-year old rock formation, and 1 billion-year-old dropstones.”
“This is the 5th year we are organizing LILAC, and the response has been overwhelming. Langkawi is a GEO park with natural habitat, forest, and beautiful beaches. Come visit on the weekend of May 27 to 29, and enjoy the good food,” added Rozaina.
Laksa is a rice noodle invented several centuries ago, which is now popular throughout Malaysia from Kuala Perlis, Sarawak, to Penang, etc. usually prepared with a mix of ingredients including fish, cucumber, onions, vegetables, boiled eggs, and chilis.
Depending on the state of origin, the Laksa gravy varies (light or thick, with a mix of lemon). For example, Sarawak Laksa usually has watery soup, while Johorean Laksa comes with thick gravy while Penang Laksa is rich and spicy.
Chef Joe who is famous for his Laksa creation like Laksa Gulung, Laksa Goreng and Laksa Belangkas said they plan to extend the carnival nationwide to look for the best Laksa and give it the LILAC stamp of approval, to create more awareness and promote the authentic dish.
Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) was established by the Federal government to plan, promote and implement the development of Langkawi. LADA was officially established on March 15,1990 under the Langkawi Development Authority Act 1990 (Act 423) and placed under the authority of the Ministry of Finance.
Besides LILAC, LADA is also organising Mai Langkawi campaign, involving a series of 11 roadshow around Malaysia from now until November, offering a selection of new and exciting tourism products like Langkawi Skyglide and Langkawi Skyrex. There are also special discounts of 20% to 50% on selected accommodation and tourism products such as Dayang Bay Hotel, Hotel Bahagia, 3D Arts Museum, Underwater World, and Langkawi Skycab etc.
For more details, visit the website: www.lada.gov.my or contact them directly at Tourism Division, LADA Tel: 04-9600600, Fax: 04-9661034. Email: email@example.com (Mai Langkawi), and firstname.lastname@example.org (LILAC 2016).