Treasured family recipes and traditional homespun specialities emerge as the main inspirations behind most hotels’ buka puasa buffet spreads.
THE hand that rocks the cradle is also unwittingly ruling most hotel kitchens throughout this Ramadan as a large number of hotel chefs look to their mothers and grandmothers for inspiration, cooking up cherished homespun recipes for the nightly buka puasa (breaking of fast) buffet.
One World Hotel Petaling Jaya and Empire Hotel in Subang Jaya are banking on the perennial delicacies of family matriarchs to pull in the crowds whilst the JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur is showcasing culinary delights from grandmother’s kitchen.
Matriarchs’ recipes rule
General manager Ho Hoy Sum of One World Hotel anticipates a slight increase in attendance for its buka puasa buffet at Cinnamon Coffee House (03-7681 1157) this year. He is upbeat that the hotel’s “Warisan Bonda” themed spread will draw more than 400 guests nightly.
Ho says: “Our buka puasa buffet is priced at RM118++ per adult with a 50% discount given to child diners.
“Our buffet spread, possibly the largest in Petaling Jaya, offers a wide variety and features our chefs’ homely Malay recipes as well as Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Western and Japanese dishes. In addition, we have live cooking stations and hawker stalls, so there’s something to please everyone.”
Also banking on heritage recipes belonging to family matriarchs is the Kitchen Art Brasserie (03-5565 1228) team at Empire Hotel.
According to chef Hazif Ramli, their famous Sup Gear Box or cow’s bone marrow soup and weekly rotational menu featuring regional Malay dishes will draw 53% more patrons this buka puasa period compared to 2011.
“Although our buffet costs RM86++ per person this year compared to last year’s RM75++, we’re confident that the response will be better,” he says.
“Aside from nightly ghazal performances and lucky draws, patrons will also receive a complimentary takeaway Chicken Cornish. Fashion shows by Style-icious Boutique will be held in the Emperor Ballroom every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8pm onwards.”
JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur (03-2715 9000) is banking on grandma’s time-honoured dishes and uncommon Malay specialities such as Tongkeng Ayam Goreng Bercili (stir-fried bishop’s nose with chilli), Daging Salai Masak Lemak (grilled beef in coconut milk and spices), and Kupang Masak Rampai (mussels cooked with ground spice paste) to evoke the nostalgia of breaking fast in one’s hometown.
The hotel’s public relations manager Oliver Ellerton highlights that two venues have been set up specially for the breaking of fast: The Conference Centre and the hotel’s poolside.
“The first venue’s Ramadan buffet costs RM60++ per person, and it’s RM70++ per person at the poolside,” says Ellerton.
“Our culinary team is intent on preserving the local culinary heritage so we have recreated a typical Malay village set-up with traditional food stalls to serve more than 100 of the best dishes from various states.
“Those who prefer to dine al fresco will find our poolside transformed into an outdoor kampung with rustic stalls serving every Malay dish under the stars.”
Feast like a king
Meanwhile, an imperial feast fit for a king awaits at Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur (03-2717 9900) thanks to its Santapan de Raja buka puasa buffet which is priced at RM108++ per person.
“Over 100 royal Malay delicacies from nine states in Malaysia will be laid out at our Jakim halal-certified Essence restaurant,” says director of food and beverage Greg Hjorth.
“Our main attraction includes the famous Nasi Briyani and Whole Roast Lamb from Johor. Every guest will also receive golden chocolate eggs in the organza giveaways bags.”
The hotel is giving a 30% discount for reservations made on the first and last week of Ramadan.
“For every 10 paying guests, the 11th guest dines for free throughout Ramadan at Essence,” Hjorth adds.
Not to be outdone, The Westin Kuala Lumpur (03-2773 8338) is also offering groups of 10 guests and above a special price of RM88++ per person when they break fast in the Malaya function room.
Hotel manager Benjamin Zahn points out that an early bird discount of 20% is given to diners who reserve their seats two weeks in advance whilst those diners booking a week in advance will enjoy a 10% discount off the regular price of RM108++ per person.
He explains, “We’re charging less for our Iftar buffet at The Living Room this year as we want to give guests more value for money. One of our unique selling points is we serve Zam Zam water during Iftar to complement our exciting theme of ‘25 Days, 130 Chefs, 210 Spices, 800 Dishes, 1,200 Ingredients and Thousands of Memories’.
“Our dining ambience will be based on the mystical 1,001 Arabian nights theme where the shisha lounge by the Splash poolside will proffer a selection of shisha (waterpipe for smoking flavoured tobacco) and Arabic sweets at the poolside at RM15++ per person.”
Diners are definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting which hotel to patronise this Ramadan.