KL Big Kitchen Festival, an initiative under the Kuala Lumpur tourism master plan, was launched in May at Dataran Merdeka. The event lasted three days. I was thrilled to know that it will be an annual affair, and am so excited that I cannot wait to see what they have in store next year!
The sun was bright and punishing on the Sunday morning I was there.
"Phew! Boy, I wished there were drink stalls scattered across the field," as I imagined sipping on a a cold Teh O drink.
I loved the whole festival set-up. It was neat, dreamy with large white tents, and a lot of details going into the design of the area, both indoors and outdoors. There is an air of good clean fun.
|Entrance to KL Big Kitchen and Entry Tickets|
The activities they have planned will excite anyone who loves food. Cooking demos by celebrity chefs and workshops for those preferring a hands-on experience. Check out the programme below.
My favourite corner is the heritage corner. I marveled at the many traditional dishes that are losing presence to the convenience of modern cooking. It made me admire our ancestors - how they toiled to cook a delicious meal for the family. Here I am, armed with electrical appliances that does the work with one press of a button and yet you will still hear me grumble about how much work cooking involves!
I headed to the tent where there seemed to be more life. Yes, it was a surprisingly quiet food festival. Was I 10am too early? It's quite unlike food-loving Malaysians not to flock here at all hours considering the full crowd we had at Floria Putrajaya. Maybe we are more the avid gardener than we thought.
|KL Big Kitchen Festival - Tents and Outdoor Seating Areas|
|KL Big Kitchen Festival - From another angle|
When I realised that the big open tent housed stalls that feature food from each state in Malaysia, I strode to the Sabah stall with pride. Pride which soon deflated at seeing two bleary eyed food assistants slouched on chairs.
My eyes skipped over the plate of 'Hinava', I raised my eyebrows and cursed inwardly at the organisers for appointing people who had no idea how spirited Sabahans were, to man the stall.
A "Bah, try this lah! YeeeEEee..eh!" would have been a great reflection. I'm just being funny!
Whilst I enjoyed my walkabout tremendously, I felt there was room for improvement in the following areas as well - from promoting the event, staffing and food variety.
Promotional efforts. With so many celebrity chefs on board, it seemed ridiculous (to me at least) that the crowd was not on record breaking levels. It was too low key. I cannot help but feel that more should have been done to advertise the festival.
Festival guides. There is a need for festival guides to make the place inviting. They could provide visitors with information on what's happening there and then. I had no idea what was going on in the heritage corner. It was quiet except for a few people. The food trucks were tucked away in mystery land. I felt like I was a spy stepping into a hush secret meeting every time I opened the door to the covered tent.
Food Variety. I shed tears at seeing the fruit stall. Really. I say bring the pasar malam fruit vendors in! And local delicacies? Nothing compared to our vibrant Ramadhan Bazaars.
The Manisan tent had so much possibilities.
Other than the putu bambu stall, I wish I had seen local treats like puteri mandi, badak berendam, kuih dangai, kuih akok and kuih jelurut, just to name a few. Perhaps I was early and the stalls have yet to roar. That said, should they not be ready by opening time? We have so much to offer when it comes to sweet snacks.
|KL Big Kitchen Festival - Inside the Tents|
|KL Big Kitchen Festival - Inside Another Tent|
For me, the best part of the food festival was the cooking demos and workshops. It was well organised and most vibrant. Although I wasn't one of the participants, I felt the energy from their laughter and the chefs' genuine desire to share their knowledge with us. I may have missed the boat this year, but I'll be sure to sign up for the next one!