Do you know that Norway is the second largest seafood exporter in the world, and the equivalent of 37 million meals fetched from Norwegian waters are consumed worldwide each day? I learnt this during the Norwegian Seafood Gala Dinner that is being held at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur last two weeks.
Indeed the quality of Norwegian seafood cannot be overlooked or overstated as they have some of the best salmon, cod and shellfish in the world. We were greeted by a viking ship ice carving that is carrying various Norwegian sea produce such as salmon, trout, cod, haddock, shrimp, king crab, snow crab, mussels and langoustines.
The event started with an opening remark by our host, Her Excellency Gunn Jorid Roset, Norway’s Ambassador to Malaysia. The dinner is orchestrated by renowned Norwegian chef Frank Naesheim and his team of culinary professionals from Norway, Malaysia and Singapore.
The fantastic produce were being presented in a wide range of cooking styles, including Norwegian and Asian. We made a beeline for the food, but had no idea where to start because the spread was huge. Just the varieties for salmon alone is impressive – apart from the usual smoked salmon, sashimi and nigiri; there were hot/cold smoked salmon with gochujang, sambal, apricot, cocktail sauce, wasabi cream, turmeric & garlic and etc; salmon tartar, gravlax tartar, miso pepper salmon, lemon pepper salmon, red curry salmon, masala salmon and more! I think I had my one year dose of omega 3, no complaints because we are talking about Norwegian seafood here.
This annual gastronomic event also showcases top notch chefs from top notch restaurants such as Fat Duck, Snorre Food, Renaa and etc. This year, we had chefs Frank Naesheim, Markus Dybwad, Anderson Ho, Kenneth Loke, William Ng, Matthew Leong and James Han who contributed their culinary skill to the table. We were really excited to try out their unique creations.
Banh Mi with Hot Smoked Salmon
Blue Mussels, smoke mayonnaise and leeks
Norwegian Red King Crab with buttermilk, crumble, salted egg and curry leaves
Pulled Salmon Mantou with ginger and scallion salsa
Salmon Poke Bowl with soba noodles
Scallop Tart – scallop roe emulsion, horseradish cream, oxalis wood sorrel
Crispy Norwegian Salmon Fish Skin, tomyum emulsion, salmon roe and cress
Kudos to the chefs for preparing all these gourmet dishes ala minute. It is no easy feat especially when you have 700 guests at one go. Some of my favourites were:
Norwegian cold water shrimp congee with quail egg, scallion and sesame oil – a good punch of shrimp flavour inside out as the chef prepared the velvety and smooth congee with shrimp shells and topped with more cold water shrimp.
Scallop Tart – love the light and airy scallop roe emulsion and the tangy, lemony flavour of oxalis wood sorrel.
Norwegian Red King Crab with buttermilk, crumble, salted egg and curry leaves – I can’t imagine putting all these ingredients together, but this combination is a real flavour-bomb!
Blue Mussels, smoke mayonnaise and leeks – we loved how the smoky flavor paired with the mussels’ natural briny flavour, so good!
Thank you so much for having us at the gala dinner. It was indeed an eye opening experience for us. Now we know why chefs all over the world are choosing Norwegian fish – not just for quality but also for its sustainable production.