The prevailing entries for the 2018 Fay Khoo Award for Meals and Drink Writing couldn’t be further completely different from each completely different.
Cheah Quickly Seng’s The Banker’s Dinner sits us down for a meal at that beloved native icon, the Mamak stall, while Dipika Mukherjee’s Paet Puja: How Malaysian-Bengalis Worship The Abdomen transports us proper right into a whirlwind of tradition, historic previous, and meals.
The winners have been launched on the George City Literary Competition in Penang in November 2018, with Cheah prevailing the Private Narrative class and Dipika, the Reportage class.
That is the second version of the Fay Khoo Award, which develop into arrange in tribute to the memory of the creator, meals critic, writer, and TV/radio persona Fay Khoo. It goals to encourage and develop excellence in food and drinks writing and understand new voices from ASEAN. (The 0.33 version has issued a name for entries; see particulars underneath.)
“Writing has consistently been a curiosity. Nonetheless, this was the first time I made up my mind to throw my hat into the ring and take part in a correct contest,” says Cheah, 33, who works in enterprise finance in Kuala Lumpur.
“I develop into actually amazed additionally to be shortlisted, not to mention win. It’s the primary time that I’ve acquired recognition for my writing; that’s certainly an thrilling enjoyment.”
We caught up with every winner shortly after the announcement to find what they mirror onconsideration on meals and drinks writing.
For Cheah, it’s far important the writing conveys the feelings one research while having a meal.
It’s going with out asserting that his triumphing submission on having a meal at a Mamak stall after a protracted day’s work is impressed by way of his observations at some stage in his frequent journeys there. The truth is, most of the writing was accomplished while he became correct contained in the thick of things, amid the overdue-night time chatter and clatter of dishes.
“It made it simpler to achieve idea and references, now not to say a geared as much as provide of meals if starvation pangs struck at the same time as I used to be writing.
“I had an satisfying time crafting this piece! I hope readers may be capable to expertise and understand with the story, in addition to develop to understand the splendor within the mundane,” he says.
Whereas Cheah writes for pleasure, Mukherjee is a posted author with a number of titles to her identify.
The preliminary idea for her entry became a bit on ikan Bilis (anchovies) and the way she discovered to have the benefit of the most effective very overdue in existence, as she had grown up in a Brahmin household whereby “smelly meals,” inclusive of garlic and onions, had been notion disgusting.
However that idea was discarded in favor of Pujobari meals and the reference to deeper Bengali religious traditions.
“The subject material pressured itself onto the online web page! Pujari in Port Dickson looms massive over the Malaysian-Bengali recognition, and this essay took over that on ikan payments and wrote itself.
“I cherished scripting this piece as a result of it added alive reminiscences of bonding and laughter over a beloved delicacies,” she says.
Mukherjee has written roughly Pujobari traditions and the sense of community amongst Bengalis in her fiction earlier than, drastically in her debut novel, Ode To Damaged Issues.
“I want that Malaysians will study extra about Bengali delicacies and our spiritual traditions by utilizing studying Paet Puja: How Bengalis Worship The Abdomen.
“We’re a small community and often burdened with the extra seen Sikh group, and our delicacies continues to be largely unknown. Bengali delicacies is each subtle and addictive … it’s important to strive it to know what I imply!” she says.