The Weekly was invited to "A Taste of Malaysian Christmas" last Friday evening at the Anaheim Hilton. The event was hosted by MATRADE (The Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation), whose aim is to promote Malaysian goods—particularly its food products—for export.
This was only the second year for the party and the first time it was held in Orange County. Last year it was at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, but from what I saw from a video of previous year's dinner, this year's soirée was just as lavish.
The evening began with cooking stations manned by Hilton staff searing and serving hors d'oeuvres (meat on sticks, egg rolls and crab cakes) and tropical drinks. In addition, there was a sampling of honey ginger tofu by Orange Coast College culinary student, Narita Manguray. Hers was the winning recipe for the contest the organization put on for the event. Ms. Manguray was there preparing it live and serving the dish to the guests herself.
Afterwards, the festivities moved on to a ballroom, whereupon the Consul General of Malaysia, H. E. Raja Saifful Ridzuwan, applauded MATRADE's efforts. He said this year saw a 45% increase of exports of Malaysian goods to the US from the year before. Then City of Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem, Lucille Kring, spoke. She thanked the group for the invitation and also, speaking to the exporters in attendance, touted Anaheim as an ideal place to do business.
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Then it was down to the dinner and entertainment. There were six Malaysian-inspired courses cooked by the Hilton kitchen (crispy tofu salad, butternut squash soup with Malaysian curry, steak with rendang sauce, chicken with green curry, salmon with a Malaysian Nyonya sauce, and jackfruit panna cotta for dessert). A Malaysian troupe performed traditional dances. Singer Christine Love sang Christmas songs. And a band made up of children with instruments did a recital, which included an adorable cover of The Lumineer's "Ho Hey".
At the evening's close, Ms. Manguray was presented with an oversized check for $800 for her winning dish. We congratulate her and thank MATRADE for the invitation to a night of wonderful food and culture.