SEATTLE, April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Citing American consumers' growing demand for Malaysian food imports, the epicenter of the world's first spice trade, Malaysia, has designated an official culinary emissary. The Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) has appointed acclaimed cookbook author, teaching Chef and spice expert, Christina Arokiasamy, as Malaysia's Food Ambassador to the U.S. for the Malaysia Kitchen Program. The Malaysia Kitchen Program (MKP) mission is to raise awareness of Malaysia's unique flavors via its food products and Malaysian restaurants in the United States.
Significant growth in the Asian grocery category—which experienced a 10.2 percent sales increase from 2010-2012 according to a recent Mintel report—confirms that U.S. consumers' taste for Malaysian imports is on the rise. A recent study conducted by the Malaysia Kitchen Program (MKP) shows that more than 9 in 10 women aged 25-54 are likely to be willing to try a new food this year. The National Restaurant Association also listed Malaysian cuisine as number three on their list of top flavor trends for 2014. Interest and purchasing in the category are both expected to grow.
As Malaysia's Food Ambassador to the U.S., Arokiasamy says, "Malaysian cuisine is ready to make its mark in the U.S. Its exotic blend of flavors is a taste born of the spice trade, rich in tradition and on-trend with consumer appetites globally. I'm excited to introduce people to the traditional flavors of my home country —anyone can master Malaysian cooking at home with the new, all-natural products we are bringing to American supermarkets."
Many of the "new products" feature convenient preparation methods that specifically cater to the needs of the time-starved home cook. The Asian Meals line of prepared sauces includes a Malaysian Lemongrass Coconut Curry, Peanut Sauce for Satay and a Black Pepper Sauce that, with the simple addition of chicken or beef, makes authentic Malaysian dishes easy and accessible. Other flavorful, healthy and all-natural products include Lingham's Chili Sauces, Brahim's Curry Paste, Nona Ginger Teas and Chili Sauce, VIAS Fresh Spice Rubs and Aromatics, BOH Plantation tea, and an incredible range of ready-to-cook pilaf products from Sharifah.
With these natural and delicious food products, an American cook is now able to prepare Malaysia's favorite dishes in a cinch. These products are layered with flavorful combinations of star anise, cinnamon, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, Sarawak black pepper, cumin and fresh chilies just to name a few.
While many of the foods found throughout Asia use fresh spices such as turmeric, chilies, cumin, coriander and cardamom, Malaysian cuisine uniquely combines them with fresh aromatics such as galangal, lemongrass, ginger, tamarind and curry leaves to create a deeply-layered, complex flavor without the spicy heat of other Southeast Asian cuisines.
As the newly appointed Malaysian Food Ambassador to the United States, Ms. Arokiasamy's role is to introduce these wonderful new flavors and products, along with their health benefits and creative uses, to American homes. She says, "As the geographic center of the 15th century spice trade, Malaysia became a unique melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Nonya cooking styles. Malaysian food combines the best of these flavors into a single, unforgettable cuisine."
Christina Arokiasamy, born and raised in Malaysia, is a spice expert from a family of five generations of spice merchants. She brings with her world class culinary expertise as an ex-Chef of various Four Seasons Resorts throughout Southeast Asia. Christina's cookbook The Spice Merchant's Daughter was listed as top ten cookbooks in the USA by NPR in 2008. Her book is part recollection of that time in her childhood when the spices of Southeast Asia dominated her life and partly a cookbook that takes readers for a tour of those flavors. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.
About Malaysia Kitchen for the World Program:
Malaysia Kitchen for the World (MKP), a program under Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), is the gateway to making Malaysian products and cuisine accessible to everyone by providing information and all-natural food products that come straight from the source. For more information about the Malaysia Kitchen Program USA, visit the website at http://malaysiakitchen.us.
SOURCE Malaysia Kitchen for the World Program