By Mudassir Raja
The love and desire for one’s native cuisine is very natural and instinctive. Different expatriate communities enjoy the opportunity to taste a wide range of cuisines in Doha. However, they at the same time, look for their own food to mark special occasions as well.
Nothing is better than having a community gathering particularly to enjoy the native cuisine and food. Malaysian Association of Qatar (MAQ) is a community group that has regularly been organising food fiestas for the Malaysian expatriates in Qatar.
MAQ recently organised Pasar Malam or Food Bazaar for the Malaysian expatriates living in Qatar. Though there are not many Malaysians living in Qatar when it comes to their numbers, but they all came together under one roof at the Malaysian embassy compound to enjoy the food and the ambience.
The event featured many food stalls offering a variety of Malaysian cuisine, sweets and beverages along with other recreational activities. There was also a lucky draw offering lots of prizes and vouchers. The people enjoyed Malaysian music during the pleasant evening.
Some Malaysians had also invited their friends and families to taste and enjoy the native food. There were different noted dishes offered at the fiesta, including Satay, a dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce; Nasi Lemak, the national dish of Malaysia and a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf popular in Singapore, Brunei and Southern Thailand; Nasi Ayam, a dish of poached chicken and seasoned rice, served with chilli sauce and garnishes; and Kuih Gelang, famous Malaysian sweet.
Talking to Community, Maizatul Lins, Vice President of MAQ, said, “We regularly organise the fiesta with the support of our embassy. The programme was initiated by MAQ with the idea of having a socialising and networking get-together where our compatriots can enjoy the authentic Malaysian cuisine. With the passage of time, the food bazaar has become a real success for us.”
She added, “We (Malaysian expatriates) are not too many in Qatar. We are just around 5,000. Our people are always busy with their work. We thought to have a special gathering providing an opportunity to the families to meet and socialise with each other. The activity has also helped small entrepreneurs and some house wives to cook authentic cuisine and sell it to those who love it. Now, all Malaysians in Qatar know that they can get all kinds of food they like at one place.”
Lina further said, “The food fiesta also provides us an opportunity to introduce our cuisine to people from other countries in Doha. Every time, many Malaysians bring their friends from other countries to the gathering and they enjoy the food.
“We also trying in making the gathering more attractive by arranging singing events, lucky draws and free vouchers,” the MAQ representative said.
Mohammad Redzuan Nordin, President of MAQ, said, “I am glad to see Malaysians coming from different walks of life and other expatriates from different countries at one place to enjoy our authentic food, sweets and drinks. Expatriates from Singapore, Holland, US, Sri Lanka and the Philippines visited the food stalls. A Malaysian couple from Oman also attended the fiesta. The couple happened to be in Doha to attend the Ooredoo Marathon. The couple was happy to meet friends and especially taste Nasi Lemak. They were happy to see the Malaysians’ gathering. They said that they did not have such gatherings in Muscat and promised that they would come to Doha again.”
Sharing the history of MAQ, he said, “MAQ is a bridge for the Malaysian expatriates and their families. The association was established on April 14, 2000. The primary purpose is to unite all the Malaysian living in Qatar and celebrate the major religious and national occasion together.”
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