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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rediscovering Plants in Malay Cuisine & Culture - WS


Almost a hundred participants gathered at Fort Canning Park on a Saturday afternoon to rediscover and sample the rich Malay culture through a guided tour of its sprawling 2-hectare Spice Garden.

Split into 4 groups, we got up close and personal to plants that play an important role in both the cuisine and culture of the Malays.


We were introduced to plants commonly featured in Malay cuisine, tradition and ceremonies. The walk was very tiring for me as it involved some climbing up and down steps and slope. Due to lack of regular exercise, I was not as fit as some of the elderly participants. :P

The fascinating tour lasted more than 2 hours.

The guide explaining the uses of the plants.

We were told the early Malays led a semi-nomadic way of life. In the early days, there was a scarcity of food. They sourced around their surroundings, looking for edible plants. They found many ways to prepare and cook them. Most of them have medicinal values.

These old wisdom were passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth. Although known to be laced with superstitions and sometimes containing very little logic and science, these beliefs and practices have assimilated in the Malay culture and traditions and some are still practising them until this day.

This leaf tastes sour!

We got to taste some of the leaves plucked from the edible plants and trees. It's amazing how we thought some of the plants were weeds can be eaten! We learn some interesting ways to use these plants. I'll write about it in my next posts.

Thanks to NParks for this interesting tour of Spice Garden.

Note : Jemput is a term often used by Malays to invite guests into their home, start of a meal or just about any activities.






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