Chef Norman Musa unveils new products to help put Malaysian food on the map

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chef, Milk

Norman Musa is hoping to get better recognition for Malaysian food in the UK by launching a range of products using Malaysian spices and ingredients
Norman Musa is hoping to get better recognition for Malaysian food in the UK by launching a range of products using Malaysian spices and ingredients
Ning restaurants co-owner and executive chef Norman Musa is aiming to introduce more of the trade and home cooks to Malaysian food with the launch of three new product lines designed for foodservice and retail.

Musa, who splits his time between his restaurants in Manchester and York, will be at this year's Speciality & Fine Food Fair demonstrating a range of products, from ice cream to curry powder, which he hopes will help put Malaysian food firmly on the map in the UK.

Although the chef has two busy restaurants and has run a fully-booked series of supper clubs in London, he says the number of Malaysian restaurants in the UK falls way behind those from other Asian countries like India, China and Thailand.

He said: “For the last couple of years I’ve been working so hard to get Malaysian food out there at food festivals and other events. There has been real interest and people really get excited about it, but many still aren’t sure what Malaysian food is. Its presence here definitely isn’t as strong as Chinese or Thai.”

Musa said many Malaysian restaurateurs had tried to open restaurants in the UK in recent years, but had failed because they had not assessed the market correctly.

“You have to be very careful about setting up a restaurant in the UK,” he said. “People here can find our food too heavy and the spices over-powering, so you need to adapt it for the market and approach it in a different way.

“I almost lost all my customers at my Manchester restaurant because I wasn’t listening to what they wanted, but I managed to simplify things and now Ning is one of the busiest restaurants in Manchester.”

Malaysian-inspired range

The chef’s ice cream and sorbet range, which will launch into foodservice, before being rolled out to retail includes Pandan, Durian and Teh Tarik (Malaysian sweet tea) flavour ice creams and Rose Syrup with Coconut Water & Basil Seeds and Roasted Pineapple with Cinnamon sorbets. 

The new ice cream and sorbet range will be on show at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair at London’s Olympia from 8 to 10 September alongside some ground spice mixes for meat and fish dishes and a range of handmade chocolate bars under the Spice Islands theme which includes the flavours Milk Chocolate with Pandan, Dark Chocolate with Star Anise, Milk Chocolate with Nutmeg and Dark Chocolate with Coffee & Cinnamon. 

"I'd like people to take samples home in their bags and go and cook some Malaysian dishes like Nasi Lemak or Rendang," he said. 

Fine Food Forum

Musa will also be presenting live at the show's Fine Food Forum on 9 September at 2.45pm.

Other chefs demonstrating at the Fine Food Forum over the three days of the show include Ben Spalding, The Pig Hotel head chef James Golding, The Wolseley head chef Lawrence Keogh, Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi and Craft Guild of Chefs national chairman Christopher Basten. 

More than 600 artisan producers will be present at the show which also plays host this year to the Speciality Chocolate Fair. 

For more information about the show and to register to attend visit www.specialityandfinefoodfairs.co.uk.

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