The Malaysian Dining Experience

In Malaysia, eating is our favourite past time- there are no two ways about it. Everyone worth his salt would be able to enthusiastically describe where you can have the best dish of any kind and even the best time to go and get it.

Curiously enough- Malaysians do not generally follow strict rules as to what type of food should be eaten when.

For example- if at breakfast one feels like having an elaborate feast of either nasi lemak, nasi dagang, mee goreng, roti canai with curry sauce, lontong, soto, congee, nasi ayam etc., then one does- without any fellow Malaysian batting an eyelid.

Before you can say “elevenses”- Lunch hour could start as early as 11:30 for some and you would see the lunchtime crowd stopping by the stalls/restaurants as early as this.

At around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, if you start feeling peckish and in need of some sugary boost, the abundant food stalls and eating establishments will gladly serve you plenty of kuih (Malay or Nyonya traditional sweets, savouries and cakes), keropok lekor, murtabak, cendol etc. The choice is unashamedly endless!

Dinner usually kicks in at around 6:30 in the evening and will go on until late. And yes- we have late night suppers too! This usually involves more hawker style street food like char kuey teow, satay, sup tulang, sup ekor and many more. Such is our love affair with good food, it is not unusual to see thriving food courts full of Malaysians happily eating and socialising at 2am like the night is still young…

The Dapur Story

I am not a professional cook. Everything I know about cooking is learnt from my mother and grandmother, using recipes passed down in our family for generations. In some cases recipes were tweaked and adapted to suit the fresh, seasonal ingredients that were available at the time.

To this day I love the art of cooking, learning about food and the entire process of mastering age-old recipes using creativity and innovation, especially when certain key ingredients aren’t always easily available here in London. It is truly the most rewarding feeling when I know I’ve given a traditional dish the justice it deserves in terms of taste, sight and smell; especially when tweaking ingredients was the order of the day!

I love watching cookery programmes on TV – the domestic Goddess herself Nigella Lawson, Ina Garten of the Barefoot Contessa, Jamie Oliver, Yotam Ottolenghi, Phil Howard to name but a few- all inspire me to pursue my dream of doing something that I absolutely love and enjoy- cooking. I see the joy that these immensely talented people bring to others through their food, and that strikes a chord with me – I love entertaining!

Cooking for family and friends brings an elevated level of satisfaction when you know that everyone at the party had enjoyed their food tremendously! All you need to see is the happy, smiling faces and the looks of content all around after the last morsel of food was consumed.

THAT is the testament that we at Dapur are now after. Happy, contented faces and the plates wiped off clean. True Malay cuisine is not refined or – dare I say it – pretentious or aggrandised; it is wholesome, hearty and nourishing home cooked food, one that you could only truly enjoy when it is made with love and care.

Dapur is the Malay word for kitchen. We invite you into ours for the relaxed atmosphere, unique charm and hospitality; and most importantly for the true taste of the cuisine of my forebears.

Sharizah Hashim
Founder, Dapur