The Ayus Wellness Experience (AWE) – Nature as Therapy
During our recent stay at Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa, we had a chance meeting with Dr Gerry Bodeker, co-founder and science director of Ayus Wellness. They just happened to be launching a new program at the property, The Ayus Wellness Experience (AWE), and its healthy menu caught my attention. Of course, I asked if we could try it!
The vegetarian menu is hand-crafted, artisanal and science-based. A few minutes with Gerry and we could quickly tell that every single ingredient in the recipes were chosen with a specific purpose in mind. The benefits of each are based on more than local wisdom alone, but have also been researched at a university level, confirming what tradition has assumed for generations.
Here’s a quick look at some of the highlights of the menu meticulously prepared and presented by Chef Salim of Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa.
Shots – The Ayus Wellness Experience (AWE)
Dr Gerry believes that every day should begin with a shot, a Pegaga Shot that is. “Step aside wheatgrass,” he beams while sharing the documented benefits of this brain tonic. Research says this local leaf increases the length of dendrites and speed of synaptic firing. When taken orally, it increases skin cell and collagen production; no wonder ladies of the forest have been swearing by it for years! It’s not just pegaga juice in this shot, however, there’s also turmeric root juice (an anti-inflammatory agent), black pepper (to activate the stomach’s enzymes so the turmeric can be absorbed), ginger juice (to aid digestion) and coconut milk, which gives it a slightly thick consistency. There’s more, but Dr Gerry is not revealing the full secret; you’ll have to come to try it for yourself and see if you can detect it for yourself.
My veggie-loving tendencies often keep me in the salad section of menus and The Ayus Wellness Experience (AWE) compilation is no different. Both the jicama and papaya salads are fresh and flavourful, each beautifully garnished with edible flowers and more of those magical pegaga leaves. The first, (Senkuang) features jicama, red peppers, green mango and Thai basil in a Cayenne, lime and honey dressing. The pale root vegetable is diced finely and given colour with the fruits and an attractive topping of eggplant flowers. The second, Betik Muda Salad, is another prettily plated dish offering an orange tower of strips of papaya tossed together with crushed peanuts, coriander, chilli and a katsuri lime dressing.
Both the pumpkin, Buah Labu Kelapa, and the mushroom, Cendawan Kelapa, soups are deliciously creamy and topped with scoops of coconut foam. The local vegetables give a mouth-filling taste and the coconut foam on top is addictive.
Red Barrio rice or quinoa are suggested sides for the mains, and the two principle plates that we try are saucy little numbers worthy of mopping up every last drop. Local villagers provide the just-harvested bamboo shoots for the Rebang Masak Lemak. They’re coated in gorgeous turmeric, and coconut milk sauce that is well-balanced in profile yet mild enough to allow the natural goodness of the shoots to shine through. Tumisan Sayuran is another dish golden in colour resembling a curry with its yellow hue. It’s vibrant with eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, glass noodles, tempeh and wild fern. The red rice companion is well used making sure not a single lick of the rich sauce escapes us.
Desserts – The Ayus Wellness Experience (AWE)
Wellness is not about limiting yourself right? It’s just about making better choices. Some would even argue that dessert brings mental health. If you agree, you’ll be happy to know a full dessert menu is part of The Ayus Wellness Experience (AWE). Sago Gula Melaka sees the flavours of coconut and palm sugar holding onto the base of chilled sago pearls. It’s a sweet, gratifying ending to a delicious and nutritious meal.