International Year of Quinoa + Restaurants With Quinoa on the Menu + Grocery Stores that Sell Quinoa in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

international year of quinoa
Quinoa Salad – The Daily Habit

The International
Year of Quinoa

Words by Caning
Photos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)

Growing up in South America I was lucky to travel to and discover many magical places on the continent. From the pristine waters of Los Roques, Venezuela, to the mystical city of Machu Picchu in Peru, all the way down to the icy lands of Tierra del Fuego, my exploration of this region was vast and varied. Of course cuisine is an essential part of any journey and, particularly in the case of Latin American countries, is reason enough to travel in itself. It was in the Andes mountains were I was first introduced to a food that was new to my diet, but has found a place in it ever since. Quinoa, the golden grain of the Incas, was dubbed the “mother grain” by indigenous populations, and since its recent spread to the Western world has gained a similar label as a “superfood.”

Quinoa is the only gluten free vegetable that contains all the essential amino acids, oligo elements and vitamins for life. Among the Andean grains it is the most versatile for consumption. Quinoa can be found in different forms and dimensions, such as: whole grain; flour; flakes; semolina or; instant powder; and can be prepared in multiple ways through both traditional and innovative recipes.

The average protein of a grain of Quinoa is 18 to 22%, which is more than double of any other cereal. It also has a higher mineral content of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium than any other grain. Quinoa has been correlated with a reduction of breast cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease, and too has been said to promote the healthy development of infants, and children. Undoubtedly, Quinoa is a super aliment.

This year 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has declared “The International Year of Quinoa”. Proposed by the government of Bolivia and receiving strong support from many Central and South American countries, such as Ecuador and Chile, the FAO sees the possibility of using the grain as a means of reducing hunger and malnutrition worldwide. The high nutritional value of the crop, as well as its ability to adapt to various climates and harsh environments makes it a promising ally in increasing food production to feed our growing world population.

The Embassies of Ecuador and Chile in Malaysia recently presented a special dinner highlighting the benefits of the grain, and treated guests to a sampling of some dishes made with quinoa. The catering was “para chuparse los dedos” (finger licking good!). Below find some quinoa dishes, alongside some other Ecuadorian and Chilean favourites:
international year of quinoa
Quinoa Salad – with tomato and herbs
chile embassy in kl
Chilean Salmon, Rice and Peas, Meatballs
ecuadorian embassy
Empanadas, Banana and Root Vegetable Chips, Quinoa Porridge
international year of quinoa
Alfajores – Biscuits filled with caramel – a sweet way to end


Where to Find Quinoa in Kuala Lumpur

The Daily Habit 
Fortunately, we don’t need to travel all the way to South America to find this precious grain. Quinoa dishes are now available in KL popping up as the star attraction and side dishes in restaurants in the know around the city. The Daily Habit has been one of the leaders in using this delightful gastronomic ingredient and has a number  ofmouthwatering (and healthy) temptations for diners to try:

the daily habit
Wild Berry Quinoa Parfait with Granola and Yoghurt
the daily habit
Kale, Quinoa, Avocado and Raisin Salad
international year of quinoa
Pear, Quinoa and Ricotta Parfait – A MUST TRY!
daily habit, chi fitness centre
Baked Salmon Parcels with Vegetables, Capers and Quinoa

Grocery Stores
Jaya Grocer

For those who’d love to have a go at preparing quinoa at home, Jaya Grocer stocks four varieties under four different brands. Red, regular, tri-colour and quinoa flour are available from labels Bob’s Red Mill, Country Farm Organics, Radiant and Ma Ma Mi. Stay tuned for future posts where we share some of our personal favourite quinoa recipes and tips and tricks for working with this superfood.


International Year of Quinoa
Different Forms and Brands of Quinoa at Jaya Grocers

Find quinoa dishes and products at these locations in Kuala Lumpur:

The Daily Habit

Chi Fitness Centre
Lot 1-02 BRDB Tower
285 Jalan Maarof, Bangsar
59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+6 03 2202 3219

Jaya Grocer
The Intermark
Jalan Tun Razak
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Parking on Lower Concourse Level

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  1. I love quinoa, and that salmon is also calling my name!

  2. All this make me feel hungry in the morning …….

  3. Healthy! But i have no idea on how to cook quinoa 😡

    • It's quite easy. Drain quinoa on a mesh strainer for about 10 mins, cook on stove with water at 1 portion quinoa 2 portion water for about 20 mins. For better tasting quinoa, add a pinch of salt, a Clove of garlic. . 🙂

  4. Great look at quinoa! Here's hoping that more restaurants in KL will offer it in 2014!

  5. awwww i love the the salmon!!!

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