Malaysian food afficionados will be excited to know that the Asian Food Channel (AFC) will be premiering a brand new series “Discover Perak!” on Monday, 22 August 2011 at 8pm on Astro channel 703.

View Perak, Malaysia, in a whole new light this August with Discover Perak! Join the beautiful and charismatic host, Xandria Ooi, as she travels with long-time friend and chef, Julie Song through the majestic landscape, searching for fun activities and tantilising food! Enjoy as the girls meet extraordinary characters and learn about the amazing traditional cuisine that Perak has to offer.


As a Perakian… or rather a “Ipohite”, being born and bred in Ipoh, I am particularly excited about this new program. The production of Discover Perak! is fully supported by the State Government via Institut Darul Ridzuan (IDR), the brainchild of the present Menteri Besar of Perak. The establishment of IDR as the think-tank to the Perak State Government helps to realise the potential and generate greater awareness for Perak as well as to accomplish its objective to make Perak become a developed state in Malaysia.

At a special media preview at Ibunda Malay Fine-dining restaurant recently, I got to meet the people behind this brand new travel & food program. Despite enduring a 2-hour traffic jam getting to Ibunda, I was fortunate to catch the whole event which started with short welcome speeches by Mr Steven Murphy from AFC and En Aminuddin Hashim, CEO of IDR.

2 men
Left: Mr Steven Murphy; Right: En Aminuddin Hashim

Then the lovely Xandria Ooi took the mike and told us why she so totally loved being the host of Discover Perak!. “I’m greatly honoured and proud to be able to showcase what Malaysia, and most importantly Perak, has to offer on a larger scale, to viewers in Asia!” – that summarizes her sentiment.

xandria collage

Together with Xandria in the program is Chef Julie Song – a true Perakian ambassador who has been enticing travellers to Perak with her award-winning restaurant, Indulgence since 1996. The vivacious self-made chef then proceeded to demonstrate a salad dish – Tropicana, which is essentially a mango, prawns and pomelo salad.

cooking collage

group foto

the chef

Tropicana proved to be deliciously refreshing with its blend of tangy, sweetish and slightly spicy flavours coming from the mangoes, papaya slices, fresh coriander leaves, juicy pomelo wedges and poached prawns. There was a huge platter of this on the Buka Puasa buffet made specially by Chef Julie for us! She also brought along the popular Perak dish – Rendang Tok, from Mak Din in Ipoh, just for us… and this yummy dish was disappearing very fast and Chef Julie had to “stop the traffic” a bit just so that I could get a taste of this special rendang – what a darling she is! She also made a special dessert – Chocolate Hazelnut Cigars, which, very sadly, I didn’t get to taste because by the time I went to get some, there was nothing left on the serving dish except a few floral decorations! I should have taken some when I was snapping a photo of this delectable dessert!

choc hazelnut cigars

Food in general at Ibunda was very good. I didn’t manage to take any photos of the main dishes but here’re some photos of the appetizers and desserts…

food collage

We were treated to a preview of “Discover Perak!” after dinner and from what I saw, well, all I can say is… I can’t wait for the show to start!

Remember to tune in to AFC Channel 703 on Astro next Monday, 22 August 2011 at 8pm for our very own Malaysian Travel & Food Experience unveiled across Asia!