The Norwegian Seafood Gala Dinner has always been magnificent in its showcase of Norway’s bounty from the sea. It was no exception this year as the buffet tables heaving with all kinds of seafood snaked across and around the ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur last Friday (October 11).
The centrepiece of a giant Viking ship ice sculpture said it all with an awesome display of monkfish with a trout in its mouth, turbot, king crab, lobster, halibut, haddock, mackerel, shrimps, clams and scallops.
Norwegian Ambassador to Malaysia Gunn Jorid Roset hosted the dinner which was attended by special guests Liv Lønnum, Norwegian Deputy Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Dr Xavier Jayakumar, Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources and Teresa Kok, Minister of Primary Industries. Ms Lønnum was on a mission to learn more about the Malaysian energy sector, including within the area of renewable energy.
The Ambassador spoke of how the petroleum sector, both in Norway and Malaysia are transitioning into the renewable energy era. “We are in the same process, with the same policies and the same pressure from our young people to be green and sustainable.”
The Norwegian Seafood Gala Dinner has been the gastronomical event of the year in Kuala Lumpur for the past 26 years. Norwegian chef Frank Naesheim, spearheaded the dinner, working together with guest chefs Jimmy Chok, Markus Dybwad and Anderson Ho.
Naesheim, who is head chef and CEO of Snorre Food Pte Ltd in Singapore, has been organising the dinner for 20 years. How different is it this year? “About 70 per cent of it is still the same, but this year we have introduced new seafood like the dogfish, wolfish and tusk (from the cod family) and new flavours,” said Naesheim. So we had a taste of the Ikan Tusk Bakar Sambal Cili Garing, Goan Wolfish Curry, Smoked Dogfish Fillets and Hot Smoked Salmon with Sambal!
The three guest chefs were behind the live stations serving their specialities. Chef Jimmy wowed diners with Norwegian Scallop with young ginger, chilli, sesame oil, soy and lime, and Slow Roasted Norwegian Halibut with Fermented Salted Soy Bean Sauce.
Chef Markus presented a delicious Langoustine, Wild Mushroom, Smoked Dashi and Egg Yolk and a King Crab Waffle with Bonito Flakes and Okonomiyaki Sauce.
Chef Anderson teased our palate with Shelled King Crab Legs with Chilli and Torched Hollandaise Sauce. “You will get the taste of chilli crab in this,” he said. He also delivered a Trout Tartare in Pickled Daikon Roulade, Micro Greens and Yuzu Gel.
Appetisers of smoked and marinated Norwegian salmon, trout, mackerel, haddock and herring, “Wow” Platters of the colourful King Crab Club Sandwich with tomatoes and avocado, the Norwegian Coldwater Shrimp Tower, Whole Poached Salmon and Medallions and Cooked King Crab Legs on ice drew long lines of diners.
Some of the 750 guests were also at the hot carving station helping themselves to Hot Smoked Greenland Halibut with tomato and Pomelo Salsa and Baked Whole Turbot with Smoked Almond Romesco Sauce.
Hot main dishes at the Norwegian Seafood Gala Dinner included Malay, Chinese, Thai, Indian and Western. The Grilled King Crab Legs were a winner, as were Fried Scallops with Salted Egg Yolk, Crab Cake Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise, Salmon Makhanni and Sauteed Cold water Prawns with Cereal and Curry Leaves. Sushi and sashimi were at the Japanese station; there was a Caviar station and a Gravlax Carving Station.
There was a splendid variety of desserts too, from six flavours of ice cream to the Princess Cake with Lingonberry Cream, Ring Cake, Rhubarb Creme Brulee, Norwegian Baked Prune Custard and Norwegian Sweet Soup among others.
A highlight of the dinner was the presentation of the Malaysia Norway Business Council Innovation Award to Scatec Solar. Arnfinn Unum, Scatec Solar country manager, Malaysia, received the award from MNBC chairman Thomas Alexander Sjoberg.
Scatec Solar set up the 197 MW Quantum Solar Park in Malaysia, its first large scale solar project in South East Asia. The company supplies solar power to Tenaga Nasional Berhad.