What’s On at Malaysia’s 2022 Kita Food Festival

Organizers have planned an exciting lineup of chef collaborations, TED-like talks, and master classes.

Belacan Wing is a signature dish at the Penang restaurant Gen, a participating venue in the 2022 Kita Food Festival. (Photo courtesy of Gen)

Gourmands planning a trip to Malaysia should mark their calendars for the second edition of the Kita Food Festival. Co-founded last year by several figures including Darren Teoh, head chef of trailblazing Kuala Lumpur eatery Dewakan, the annual event spotlights the country’s emergence on the global restaurant scene while championing its culinary heritage and ethical producers. The 2022 Kita Food Festival will be held on four weekends across three destinations over the coming months, and bring together a crop of notable guest chefs based in South and Southeast Asia.

Langkawi will be the setting of Kita’s launch weekend, scheduled for September 23–25 at legendary jungle-chic luxury resort The Datai Langkawi. Teoh and chef Prateek Sadhu, previously of the famed Mumbai restaurant Masque, will team up with The Datai’s chef de cuisine Chai Chun Boon in a six-hand dinner. Each chef will cook two dishes from their respective cultures. The following night, a fine-dining degustation is set to showcase Sadhu’s unique take on Indian cuisine, and on the 25th, Teoh will lead eight guests on a tour through the resort’s permaculture gardens, harvesting leaves, flowers, buds, and roots to be used in a hands-on cooking class.

The Datai Langkawi’s senior chef de cuisine Chai Chun Boon. (Photo: The Datai Langkawi)

Left to right: Gen’s chef Johnson Wong; a dish of “Bird’s Nest” at the same restaurant. (Photos: Gen)

Kita Food Festival will reconvene in Penang from October 14–16, with UNESCO-listed George Town becoming the center of the action. Expect collabs involving local talents like Johnson Wong, who helms modern Malaysian restaurant Gen, and French venue Au Jardin’s chef-proprietor Kim Hock Su; the latter will be paired up with Aitor Jeronimo Orive of Singapore’s one-Michelin-starred Basque Kitchen by Aitor for a special dinner. Art, cocktails, and live music await at George Town’s hybrid gallery-café-bar ChinaHouse, where teams of chefs will serve a selection of hot and cold mezze made from locally sourced ingredients in a casual celebration dubbed “The Great Mezze.”

Kita will then move to Kuala Lumpur over the last two weekends in November (from the 19th to the 28th). The jam-packed schedule includes a series of pop-up dinners at some of the city’s foremost restaurants, among them Dewakan, avant-garde Akar Dining, and seafood-centric Hide. Singapore-based chefs Rishi Naleendra from two-Michelin-starred Cloudstreet and Ivan Brehm from one-Michelin-starred Nouri are flying in for the event, as are Eelke Plasmeijer and Ray Adriansyah of Bali’s Locavore and Jordy Navarra of lauded Manila venue Toyo Eatery. All these chefs will be turning out innovative dishes from their respective grilling stations during the “Big Sunday Barbecue” at Tiffin at the Yard, a colonial-era railway depot turned food hall.

And that’s not all — Kita is selling tickets for expert-led master classes and workshops on varied subjects including wines of the ancient world and home fermentation techniques. Newly added this year are a series of TED-style talks and panel discussions collectively named “Kita Conversations,” offering up-to-date insights from innovators and business leaders in the culinary world.

Find out more on kitafoodfestival.com.

Dewakan’s serabai with oyster emulsion, fish serunding, and marigold flowers. (Photo: Dewakan)

Left to right: Aged duck with white beetroot tarte tatin served at Cloudstreet; the restaurant’s chef Rishi Naleendra. (Photos: Cloudstreet)

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