The Malaysian master chef Norman Musa was in the Netherlands for three days. He held a Malaysian Supper Club in the authentic bistro restaurant De Gaanderij in Leiden. This was organised by Caroline Wimmers from Marketing for Foodies. Visitors could come to enjoy an 8 course dinner with delicious Malaysian tapas style dishes. Together with a few other food bloggers I attended this event.
Even though I have Malaysian roots, I have little knowledge of the Malaysian cuisine. During the years, I’ve got to know more and more Malaysian dishes, like the times I have visited Nyonya Malaysia in Amsterdam and Kampong Express in Rotterdam. These are the few good Malaysian restaurants we have in the Netherlands. In my other blog article you can read more about it. Recently I also saw the Malaysian celebrity chef Dato’ Ismail Ahmad cook and now I have the chance to meet the award winning Malaysian chef Norman Musa and taste his dishes.
When we arrived, we got the chance to take a sneak peak in the kitchen. Norman got help from the head chef of the restaurant and from the chefs Alexander Wong and Marnix Benschop. They are the owners of Nixy & Lexy Chinese Breakfast, a breakfast pop-up restaurant on the West-Kruiskade in Rotterdam.
Together with the dinner we got a tea pairing. The tea is from the little tea and coffee shop Klaverblad in Leiden. They let us taste five different teas which went from very light till very strong. They were carefully chosen by the owner of Klaverblad to suit the dishes that were served at the moment. We tried the following teas:
- Lung Ching, green tea from China;
- Halmari, Assam tea from India;
- Lemon Green, green sencha tea from Japan;
- Bancha Houjicha, roasted green tea from Japan;
- Lapsang Souchong, smoked tea from China.
The last one was really strong in both smell and taste. You really have to like this type of tea. I really liked the Lemon Green, because it had such a fresh and light flavour to it.
Let’s talk about the dinner! I attended the dinner on the last day and I heard that the portions were too big and some dishes were too spicy. So we got smaller portions and less spicy ones. We started with an aperitif. So there are actually 9 courses instead of 8!
The aperitif is an exotic Malaysian black rice canape. The black rice was served with pomegranate, starfruit and a cracker on a salad leaf. The rice was still a bit hard, but I liked the combination of flavours together.
The first course was a seared scallop with a crispy asian fusion salad and ‘koppert’ cress. The scallop has a soft structure, but the flavour is a little bit fishy. I do like the combination with the salad.
The second course is a prawn and laksa bisque (which means seafood soup). This is a soup with only the laksa broth made of prawn prepared with lemongrass. There is no noodles or seafood inside. It is served with a slice of bread with black and white sesame seed. The laksa soup was very spicy! But we got a slice of lemon with it and if you put it in the soup, it makes the taste much better and lighter. It was also nice and creamy.
The third course was pulled duck rendang served on a homemade soft bun with crispy salad and dressing. This was also very spicy, so I couldn’t taste the meat fully, but I could taste the soft structure of the pulled duck, which fits well on a soft bun.
The fourth course is crispy salmon with mashed potato in curry. I really love salmon and the mixture of the crispy structure of salmon with soft structure of mashed potato is really delicious!
The fifth course is nasi lemak with squid sambal. Omg, the squid was really spicy! I did like the soft texture of the squid, so I ate it in little pieces without a lot of sambal on it. The cucumber and rice were very refreshing and helped against the spiciness of the squid.
The sixth course is curry chicken with white and black glutinous rice. I like glutinous rice very much and the chicken had a very soft structure. It was a little spicy, so the combination of both fitted well.
The last two courses were desserts. As the seventh course is yoghurt ice cream with passionfruit and strawberry. I loved the yoghurt ice cream, but the passion fruit in this dish was too sour. So it was a bit too overwhelming.
The eight course consisted of different Malaysian favourites, like the sweet Teh Tarik tea which I really love. And onde-onde, a glutinous rice flour ball with palm sugar inside and grated coconut on the outside. Also one of my favourite Asian snack. My mother makes this one a lot. We also had homemade peanut cookies and chocolate brownie. It was a nice mixture of snacks to end the dinner.
The Malaysian Supper Club gave a good introduction of the richness of the Malaysian food culture. For visitors who has never tried the Malaysian food before, it would be nice if there was more an explanation of the dishes, like the origin of the dishes. I enjoyed the dinner together with fellow foodies Helena from IndoRotterdammert, Marloes from Allergie platform, Wendy from Mevr. Yan, Louise from KeukenAtelier and Thérèse from Kitchen Exile.
If you are curious about chef Norman Musa’s cooking, then I have good news for you! He is coming back to the Netherlands again for another Malaysian Supper Club. This one will be held on the 1st and 2nd of December in Rotterdam. Keep an eye on his website and facebook page for the exact location and prices.
Norman is born in Penang, Malaysia and since 1994 he lives in the UK. He used to have his own restaurant there, restaurant Ning, which is closed in 2010. Now he travels to different places in the UK and Europe to give cooking demonstrations or cooking classes with the purpose of promoting the Malaysian cuisine all over the world. He also wrote three cooking books and he is currently working on a new one.