The Norwegian Seafood Gala Dinner has grown from a modest beginning 25 years ago to what it is today. At this year’s seafood gala dinner at the Mandarin Oriental recently, long buffet tables laden with all varieties of Norwegian seafood wound their way round the ballroom, delighting more than 700 guests.
An ice carving of a Viking ship was the showpiece, a huge king crab on either side of it, and in front, the prehistoric-looking monkfish, salmon, turbot, langoustines, mackerel and other seafood.
Hosted by Norwegian Ambassador Gunn Jorid Roset, the Norwegian Seafood Gala Dinner 2018 also celebrated 50 years of bilateral relations between Norway and Malaysia, with guest of honour Foreign Affairs Minister Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah.
A Special Recognition Award from Malaysia Norway Business Council was presented by the Minister to Jon Erik Steenslid, director of Norwegian Seafood Council for South-East Asia, who has done sterling work in promoting Norwegian seafood, notably salmon and fjord trout in this part of the world.
As in the past several years the Norwegian Seafood Gala Dinner was orchestrated by Frank Naesheim, who is Head Chef and CEO of Snorre Food Pte Ltd in Singapore. In his culinary team were chefs Geir Skeie, Kenneth Loke, Markus Dybwad and Anderson Ho. They each had a live station delivering their specialties at the dinner.
Of course Norwegian salmon took centre stage, presented in western, Chinese, Malay, Thai, Indian and Japanese styles, with some reflecting current food trends. Hot smoked salmon with Gochujang, Hot smoked salmon with sambal, Fried salmon with spicy Szechuan sauce, Baked whole Norwegian salmon in red curry gravy and of course classics like Whole poached salmon and medallions and Double smoked salmon Alaska style were among some of these dishes on the buffet.
We always look forward to the live stations where guest chefs of standing serve up their culinary creations. It’s Chef Geir Skeie’s first time at the Norwegian Seafood Gala Dinner in Kuala Lumpur. The chef had clinched the top prize at the prestigious Bocuse d’Or in 2009. He has started a hip and successful fast food brand called Pink Fish in Norway, with the focus on Norwegian salmon. The chef is opening Pink Fish in Singapore next year. He also runs three other restaurants in Norway.
At the gala dinner Geir served Raw salmon salad “pink fish” with apple and fennel, as well as a delicious Panfried langoustine with celery in a light langoustine soup.
Chef Markus Dybwad, consultant chef with Snorre Food presented Varanger king crab with red cabbage, chipotle mayo and pickled jalapenos, Steling white halibut with cucumber, black olives, feta and basil lea and a Norwegian mackerel escabeche with anchovies cream. He was formerly junior sous chef at Heston Blumenthal’s 3 Michelin-starred Fat Duck.
I enjoyed Chef Anderson Ho’s Cold water shrimps with ebiko cream and squid ink sago crisp, and his Norwegian king crab with Granny Smith apple and basil. The chef, who’s from Penang, has worked with masterchefs Alain Ducasse, Alain Senderens and Gerard Boyer in Raffles Singapore and is chef advisor and mentor to Singapore’s National Culinary Team.
Kenneth Loke from Johor, was bronze medal winner of Bocuse d’or Asia Pacific 2014. His stellar dishes included Smoked Norwegian mackerel mousse with horseradish, yuba chips and sweet snap peas, Pan seared Norwegian langoustine with hay infused coonut milk, turmeric tapioca puffs and pandan oil, and Slow cooked Norwegian fjord trout and roe with cep brown butter, crispy bulgur, capers and pickled cucumber.
Other dishes that stood out in the buffet included Hyderabadi Jinga briyani, Oven baked cod with green chili paste and tamarind skin, King crab club sandwich with tomates and avocado, Grilled king crab legs with blood orange and butter sauce and Steamed halibut with kalio sauce.
Desserts were laid out outside the ballroom, with a live station serving up different flavours of ice cream – rhubarb, baked apple and honey, cloudberry espuma and semi frozen, and so on. I just had room for the Traditional ring cake, made with almond meal that was so light and yummy, and the Lemon Mousse.