Following the tradition of flying in VIP chefs from around the world to introduce and publicize the cuisine of their country, the Malaysian Friendship and Trade Center and Malaysia Tourism is marking the former British colony's half century of independence with the Malaysia Truly Asia promotion at the Sunworld Dynasty Hotel's Le Parc Cafe, which runs through Sept. 2.
"Celebrations for Independence Day include a non-military parade and ... cultural activities," said A.B. Aminuddin, director of the Malaysian Friendship and Trade Center.
Aminuddin says though there isn't any particular dish to celebrate Independence Day, chefs will cook up fare representative of each of Malaysia's states' culinary uniqueness. National pride in Malaysia, Aminuddin says, extends to meal times, which feature a diverse range of influences. The country's population is predominately ethnic Malay with substantial Chinese and Indian minorities.
Murugan Balakrishnan, one of the chefs flown in for the celebrations, specializes in Indian cuisine and cooks for the king of Malaysia and the prime minister whenever they stay at the hotel where he is based on the island of Penang.
Balakrishnan said the last time he served the king, he "prepared ... nan bread, some tandoori chicken, prawn curry and biryani rice." The curry and biryani rice can be found at Sunworld's buffet dinner.
Award-winning chef, Andy Leong Siew Fye, like Balakrishnan is a member of the Chefs Association of Malaysia, Penang Chapter, and specializes in modern cuisine.
Known as Merdeka Day, Malaysia celebrates Independence Day on Friday. To mark the occasion Tourism Malaysia has declared 2007 Visit Malaysia Year. Malaysian Airlines have, in addition to the chefs, flown in musicians and ethnic dancers to give performances.
From Monday to Friday, the buffet lunch is NT$560, afternoon tea is NT$480 and buffet dinner is NT$680. Weekend lunch is NT$650, afternoon tea is NT$480 and dinner is NT$750. All prices are subject to a 10 percent service charge. During this promotion, three people can eat for the price of two. For more details call (02) 2715-0077, X3310 and 3311. The Sunworld Dynasty Hotel is located at 100 Dunhua N Rd, Taipei (台北市敦化北路100號). Le Parc Cafe opens daily from 11:30am to 2pm and 6pm to 9:30pm.