In collaboration with Jabatan Warisan Negara (JWN), OpenHouse is revisiting a series of near-extinct recipes for the month of Ramadhan.
With Ramadhan around the corner, it’s always great to see your favourite restaurants and hotels curate their take by incorporating heritage in their menus. One in particular that stood out amongst others, and it’s OpenHouse’s collaboration with the Jabatan Warisan Negara. To keep these traditions alive, JWN has documented over 200 recipes to explore from the Warisan Hampir Pupus book, and this time, OpenHouse is reintroducing them on the new Warisan menu for the Holy month of Ramadhan.
The restaurant will include a portion of these recipes in the menu for diners to taste, as a more elevated Malaysian cuisine with a fine-dining experience. As OpenHouse collaborates with a collective of smallholder farmers from Sabah and Sarawak, some of the ingredients used in these recipes are actually sourced from the Orang Asli.
Thankfully, we got to have a sneak peek of what to expect if you’re looking for a quirky twist to your Iftar meals.
The day started with a series of appetisers; first up on the menu was a warm yet delicious bowl of Fisherman’s soup, translated as Sup Nelayan, which originated from the Portuguese society of Melaka. The second dish of the Kerabu Pucuk Mengkudu with Ketupat Sotong Berlemak was a beautiful sight to see on a plate. If you must know, the Ketupat Sotong Berlemak was appointed in 2018 as a national heritage food. In my opinion, this was a unique dish for me due to the bittersweet taste of the Kerabu Pucuk and Ketupat Pulut combined.
As a palate cleanser, before moving on to our main dishes was the Ais Kepal Ulam Raja, which surprised me the most. I would’ve never imagined turning Ulam (traditional salad) into an ice ball, which turned out to be the most refreshing dish I’ve ever tasted. The best way to enjoy this dessert is by having it in one bite, only if you can. This is when you can taste the blend of sweetness and fresh zest of the cracker and the cooling Ulam.
The main dishes of Gulai Tempoyak Ikan Patin, Rendang Tok Daging Rusa and Sambal Tumis Udang Umbut Kantan was appointed in 2019 as a national heritage food, with the latter included in the Warisan Hampir Pupus book. While these dishes were so familiar to home, a nostalgic memory came to mind of the hero dishes we grew up loving passed down through generations. The delicious main dishes were served with three options of rice to choose from the high lands of Borneo; Rumie, Keladi and Sia. I found this dish to be a mixture of all the flavours we’re familiar with in Malay cuisine with the aromatic spice, spiciness and richness from the coconut milk (santan).
The desserts were a win-win situation for me. Not only do they look ethereal on a serving plate, but it was the perfect balance of sweet and flavourful within one bite. You’ve got the Hati Sukma, Pengat Nangka Masak and Pulut Tai-Tai. I enjoyed learning about our heritage and discovering what recipes were well-known, way back when. If you’re open to exploring the rich culture of Malaysia and its incredible cuisine, then I would suggest heading over.