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ZENDE RESTAURANT,
Seri Pacific Hotel,
Jalan Putra, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-4049 4351/ 4352
Business hours: 6.30am to 1am, daily.
Halal.

INSTEAD of driving 300km to Johor, authentic Johor food is coming your way at Seri Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

Celebrating Citrawarna Malaysia 2016, the hotel with Tourism Johor is organising an elaborate Johor Food and Cultural Festival.

Zende Restaurant will bring the southern state cuisine from May 18 to 27.

The best part of this is that Tourism Johor is bringing a team of chefs, all the way from Johor, to work closely with the hotel’s kitchen crew, focusing on serving the state’s favourites.

Leading the team is head chef Kusha Haron from Johor Baru, who said she was proud to be Johorean and was able to cook authentic Johor food.

“The food I chose for this spread is rare to find, these days. Also, most people find the process of making these dishes tedious.

“For example, the Bahulu Lapis Johor uses kaffir lime skin, which is bitter and needs to be boiled with sugar and kept for two years,” said Kusha.

Kusha Haron (left) with her team from Johor will work closely with Seri Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur's kitchen team for the Johor Food & Cultural Festival.
Kusha Haron (left) with her team from Johor will work closely with Seri Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur’s kitchen team for the Johor Food & Cultural Festival.

She said her family recipes were passed on from her great-grandmother.

One of the highlights is the Sotong Masak Hitam.

“This is a rare dish. We fry ginger, garlic, onion and lemongrass first to release the aroma and add the squid to release the ink.

“I then add tamarind. You need to taste the squid when it is cooking to make sure the texture is just right,” she said.

It was definitely one of my favourites and it was easy to eat without being overly chewy.

A favourite on the promotion is the Sotong Masak Hitam.

A favourite on the promotion is the Sotong Masak Hitam.

Nasi Kuzi Ayam was another favourite and it was the fragrance that caught my attention.

Kusha said the ingredients used included jintan manis, jintan putih, coriander and cloves which were sauteed in oil, before adding basmati rice and evaporated milk.

The rice was truly appetising and worth a second or third helping.

The Nasi Kuzi Ayam is a must-try at the Johor Food & Cultural Festival.

The Nasi Kuzi Ayam is a must-try at the Johor Food & Cultural Festival.

Another must-try is the Sayur Rampai Masak Lemak with sweet potatoes.

Kusha said she used herbs such as daun semangkuk and puding belacan.

“It has coconut milk, anchovies, black pepper, onions, garlic and ginger,” she said.

A special beverage which will be featured only at this festival is the Beyh Royale.

It was the welcome drink for guests at the Grand Palace in Johor during the reign of Sultan Abu Bakar Daeng Ibrahim from 1833 to 1895.

Other dishes include Nasi Kambing Beyh Royale, nasi briyani ayam, nasi ambeng, ikan cencaru and Tetel Lembu Masak Gulai Daum Kesum.

There will also be traditional desserts such as bubur som-som, kuih kole kacang, tembosa daging, pulut kepal and kuih lopes.

Bahulu Lapis Johor is a colourful edition to end the Johor food spread.

Bahulu Lapis Johor is a colourful edition to end the Johor food spread.

The buffet is priced at RM88 nett per person for lunch and dinner.

Lunch is from 12.30pm to 3pm and dinner is from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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