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Book Reviews

December, 1997

Makan-lah! The true taste of Malaysia
Makan-lah! The true taste of Malaysia, by Carol Selvah Rajah Hardcover Harper Collins ISBN 0-7322-5762-X

If you have an interest in Malaysian food, you will find that this book covers a wide range of the foods found there. Malaysia has a wide and diverse range of people making up the population, along with having a large number of different cultures influencing both the country's politics as well as its eating habits.

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"The culture has been influenced the people of many cultures and their respective cuisines. These have included Thai, Indian, Chinese, British, Dutch and Portuguese colonial. There is also Nonya, the style most often associated with Malaysian cuisine, an intriguing blend of Chinese, Indian and indigenous Malay styles."

I spent some time in Malaysia in the late 1970s and enjoyed the food I found there. While not being particularly adventuresome at the time, I have tried over the years since to find more authentic Malaysian food and I found that it presented an interesting balance of tastes and textures.

This book covers the gamut of cuisines found in Malaysia. At first I found the naming of the ingredients rather hard to follow, however, the glossary at the back of the book takes all the difficulty out of naming the ingredients as well as pointing you where to find them, regardless of whether you are in Australia, the United Kingdom or the United States of America. While the list is not exhaustive, it is enough to get you started.

The book covers a selection of recipes from Soups through to Drinks, Desserts and Cakes. Instructions given are clear and easy to follow, along with hints and tips of things to watch out for and to make it easier for you to achieve the same results as the author.

It also gives some history and background of the various cuisines, the ingredients, where the recipe was first make and a little of the history of the country, it peoples, their festivals and the foods that go with them.

I found it an interesting read as well as a source for a numerous recipes and meals to make and enjoy.

Richard Hryckiewicz

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