Words: Linnea Welker Photos: Monica Tindall
Denmark, a beautiful country, consistently rates at the top of the ‘happiest country in the world’ lists. Known for Lego toys and the home of Hans Christian Anderson, it has become a major destination for foodies from around the world. The capital, Copenhagen, has the most Michelin stars in Scandinavia and northern Europe and is the home of Noma, which has been named the ‘world’s best restaurant’ on four different occasions.
Now, Denmark is looking abroad. The Danish Minister of Environment and Food recently came to Malaysia with chefs from the National Culinary Team to pair their skills with Malaysian chef Azim Amran in a live cooking event where they prepared dishes with the Minister and Danish Ambassador. Held on a Friday afternoon at the Danish Ambassador’s home, the event featured dishes that bridged the foods and cooking styles from the two countries for a fabulous result.
Upon arrival at the ambassador’s lovely home, one could feel the energy of the event. Servers hurriedly met the needs of guests while they perused the numerous food displays encircling the rooms. Carlsberg, one of the two main beer brands in Denmark, was providing cold beer and Orana supplemented the beverage offering with refreshing non-alcoholic drinks.
The first dish to be prepared by the international team of chefs was a lovely savory cream plate paired with a bit of green salad. Seasoned to perfection with pieces of mussels, this dish offered a depth of taste that was incredible. We tried to twist the chef’s arm in handing over his secret recipe and he promised to email it to us… we’re still waiting.
The next dish to be prepared was a spicy Malaysian influenced recipe combining local and Danish ingredients. Beautiful local vegetables were sauteed in a light broth with a fish sauce base. The signature ‘heat’ of Malaysian cuisine was the perfect finish to this colorful and delicious dish.
While sampling the prepared foods, one also gained an education in food exported from Denmark. Various dairy products such as butter, cheese, and yogurts, as well as, butter cookies, and chocolates that were prepared with ingredients from the Danish company AAK were available for tasting.
Jams, juices, and, of course, even more cheeses were on display. It was interesting to learn how many Danish products are already available internationally, such as the Emborg brand of cheese, Apetino feta cheese, and Aria products. Also, the latest introduction of lactose-free cream cheese is a welcome addition to the Malaysian market.
Another popular export from Denmark is fish and fish spreads from the cold Norwegian waters. We learned from our gracious host Astrid, the wife of the Ambassador, that these can be eaten alone as a traditional Danish snack or prepared into something much more elaborate.
This event served to be as educational as it was delicious. The Ambassador and his wife were consummate hosts to the crowd of restaurant and hotel executives and chefs who attended to learn more about how Danish and Malaysian cuisine can share products and ideas. We left after a delicious culinary journey with a new curiosity about Danish dishes and pleased that the ingredients are available locally.