Malaysian Made Mozzarella at Langkawi

 

Words and photos by Ariel Chew, Pizza photo credits: sxc.hu

Many know Langkawi as a land of legends, duty-free shopping and idyllic beach resorts.  But few realise that it is the only place in the country that produces mozzarella cheese from fresh buffalo milk.

That’s right, cheese lovers.  You no longer have to have to travel all the way to Italy to enjoy rich and creamy fresh mozzarella.  You can have it right here at Buffalo Park Langkawi located just a stone’s throw away from the Langkawi International Airport.

The Melting Goodness of Mozzarella

Mozzarella originated from the southern Italian regions of Sicily and Campania.  The word probably originated from the Italian word ‘mozzare’, meaning to cut off, referring to the process of cutting the milk solids after the milk has curdled.  

You can eat it with French baguette and tomatoes sprinkled with pepper and salt.  Or you can have it as a pizza topping the way Malaysians love it.  It transforms the plainest pizza into a yummy gooey and stretchy culinary experience.  To put it simply, a pizza is not really a pizza unless it has mozzarella.

To purists, mozzarella is curd cheese made from buffalo milk.  Buffalo milk is higher in butterfat content, lower in cholesterol and creamier compared to cow’s milk.  Fresh mozzarella is white, soft, moist, and rather bland in taste.  It tastes sour if it is no longer fresh.  Fior di Latte (cow’s milk mozzarella) is almost as white as buffalo’s milk mozzarella, but it is more rubbery in texture.

Because it has a very short short-life, fresh mozzarella can seldom be found the southern region of Italy where it is made.  Even with the advancement of cheese making, refrigeration and transportation technologies, the effort and cost are just too prohibitive to export fresh mozzarella outside Europe.  That is, until Buffalo Park Langkawi came about.

High Milk Yielding Bovines

Buffaloes are synonymous to Langkawi.   With the advent of modern machinery, they have been released from their role as beasts of burden and field ploughing ‘machines’.  But still they thrive on and can be commonly seen grazing in the sprawling green paddy fields of the island, cooling down in muddy watering holes or taking their own sweet time to cross the roads.  These animals fetch a princely sum of RM3,000 to RM5,000 each and are highly valued by their owners.

Still, buffalo milk is quite a novelty in the country.  The water buffaloes commonly seen in the paddy fields of Malaysia are swamp buffaloes which mainly serve as draft animals and a meat source.  They produce only enough milk to feed their young and thus, are unsuitable for milk and cheese production. 

Welcome to Langkawi Buffalo Park

Over 45 acres, it houses over 100 buffaloes

Activities offered at the Buffalo Park Langkawi

During hot weather, the buffaloes get a bath to cool them down before pulling the cart

The milking process – the buffalo is fed to keep it occupied

A close-up look at the milking device

River buffaloes (sapi in Malay) of the Murrah breed from India, however, are premier milking buffaloes (high milk yield with top grade quality milk).  They are jet black in colour with crescent-shaped horns and have a lifespan of up to 17 years.  An adult bull weights 550kg and a cow weights 450kg.  Each costs about RM26,000.

Buffalo Park Langkawi imports the Murrah breed from India as well as local river buffaloes cross-bred with other high milk-yielding breeds.  Established in 4 January 2007, the RM1.25 million agro-tourism project is a brainchild of the then-Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.  Sprawling over 45 acres, it currently houses over 100 Murrah and Swamp buffaloes which are primarily used for milk production.   Milking is done a week after the cow gives birth and the milking continues for the next 7 months. 

The Making of Mozzarella

“Anyone can make their own mozzarella!” says Johari Saad, Liaison Officer of Buffalo Park Langkawi.  The steps look simple enough – provided you have fresh buffalo milk and rennet pellets (for the coagulation of milk) on hand. 

The fresh buffalo milk is first pasteurised at temperatures between 72 to 90 C and then cooled to 32 C.  Rennet enzymes are then added to curdle the milk – 5ml of rennet enzymes is added to every 1 litre of milk.  After 45 minutes of being soaked in the enzymes, the curd is cut and allowed to rest for a while in the whey (water that is separated from the curd) so that the acids can break down the calcium and phosphorus molecules to soften the curd.  This process causes the cheese to melt when exposed to temperatures above 85 C.  Next, the whey is drained from the curd to reduce the water content to below 60%.

Nothing goes to waste for the whey, which is a fantastic form of protein, is then used to make a different type of cheese called Ricotta. 

The curd is put into boiling water and then stretched to achieve a stretchy elastic texture before it is moulded by hand into balls shaped into bocconcini, Ciliegine, Nodini, Pizzaiola or Ovaline.  The fresh mozzarella balls are then cooled and packed in water for sale.

Cutting the mozzarella into blocks

Since Buffalo Park Langkawi is a cheese production facility, specialised machines are used for milking, pasteurisation and cooling the milk.  Apart from that, everything else is manually done.

“We maintain a strict standard of hygiene in our facility,” assures Johari.  While no visitors are allowed into the cheese processing section, they can still view the process behind clear glass windows.

According to Johari, a lot of research had gone into the production of halal (kosher) rennet enzymes sourced from the buffaloes at the Buffalo Park.  Prior to this discovery, the only halal rennet enzymes were sourced from vegetables and fungus.  Unfortunately, these do not produce flavourful cheese compared to animal based enzymes.  To date, Buffalo Park Langkawi is the only facility producing kosher animal-based rennet enzymes.

Their Malaysian made creamy, soft and appetising mozzarella certainly speaks for itself.

Valley Farm Dairy Products

Buffalo Park Langkawi produces a range of dairy products under the brand Valley Farm including the signature Fresh Mozzarella 100g (RM12), Ricotta (RM6) – a white, creamy and mild whey cheese used in lasagnas and as bread spread, fresh buffalo milk (RM3), yogurt (RM3), flavoured curd (RM2), ice cream and buffalo meat.  The products are sold at the Buffalo Park itself and also distributed to local hotels, resorts and restaurants.

Presenting Malaysia’s one and only authentic fresh mozzarella

Children love the delicious buffalo milk ice-cream!

Valley Farm’s yummy range of buffalo products

Other Activities

The river buffaloes are the main stars at the Buffalo Park.  Their docile nature and gentle eyes seem to beckon to the shyest child to pet and feed them.   Adventurous visitors can go bareback riding on top of a bull or be pulled by a cart or anok (Traditional cart).

Visitors can also stave their hunger pangs with the dairy products, buffalo steaks and salads at the airy and sunny cafeteria.

 

Family fun on the bullock cart

Bareback riding on the bull is fun!

The river buffaloes are gentle by nature.  Go ahead, feed and pet them!

 

Enjoy a satisfying meal or snack at the Buffalo Park’s outdoor cafeteria

 

 

Getting There

Buffalo Park Langkawi (Jalan Nyior Chabang, Kampung Nyior Chabang, Mukim Bohor, Tel: +604-966 7226) is located 10 minutes from the Langkawi International Airport and 30 minutes from Kuah town by car. 

Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm (daily except Fridays).  Entrance fee is RM3 for locals with MyKad and RM5 for foreigners.  Additional charges apply for buffalo riding (RM20), cart riding (RM35) and anok riding (RM25).  For more information visit http://buffaloparklangkawi.com

Article source: http://sayangmelaka.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

The Journey of a `Kampung` Boy

Words and photos by Nazreen Tajul Arif

If they say that laughter is the best medicine, then I was certainly cured of my fever after watching LAT: Kampung Boy The Musical (Sebuah Muzikal) recently.

From the use of animation of the famous Lat cartoon of himself (it’s so well-known that no introduction is needed of who it was), the endearing representations of the cartoonist from a little ‘kampung’ boy to a famous towner, down to the haunting yet melodious live orchestra behind the curtains – the musical has certainly surpassed my expectations.

Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid, fondly known as Lat, has become a household name, synonymous with his no-nonsense, often whimsical cartoon depiction of the way Malaysians live.

Little Daniel Shazique Eezkandar, who played the young Lat, a cute and cheeky yet sweet character, who often seeks solace in his cartoons and drawings.  

He found his hero in his father (Jalil Hamid) – a John Wayne fanatic – who often told him in the Perak slang that “bughuk ghupa kalau lelaki nangis” (it’s hideous if a guy cries). To put it simply, he wanted Lat to persevere and toughen himself up, even though people criticised him over his penchant for cartoons.

The jokes were at times hillarious, punch lines were delivered on time albeit a few hiccups – Awie, as adult Lat even sneezed and commented on the extras’ inter frame while he was delivering his lines.  But it all made Lat: Kampung Boy the Musical amusing. My friend, Nurul Izatuleffa, who was a first-time theatre/musical attendee, found that she could relate to Mrs Hew (Sandra Sodhy), Lat’s English teacher the most.

And no, not because of the beehive hair-do that the character sports, which by the way has become an icon of some sort as the audience identified with the style; but it was because of her LWYD and DWYL philosophy.

Short for ‘Love What You Do’ and ‘Do What You Love’.

Lat was played superbly by Awie, who channelled him down to the T; even the curly wig seemed to suit him perfectly well. Being a rock star, there were no complaints in the voice department.  The songs were flawlessly delivered by the orchestra directed by local jazz legend Michael Veerapan. Even when he was attached with the crime desk at the NST, under the glare and watchful eyes of Pak Samad (Tan Sri A. Samad Ismail, played by Omar Abdullah), Lat just couldn’t get his knack of scrawlings and doodlings off of him; he is and always will be a cartoonist at heart.   

Atilia Raja Harun was cast as Faezah, or Fae’, the groovy chick who played hard to get in the beginning of their courtship – only to fall for Lat after realising he was from the same ‘kampung’ as she was. As fun as it was to see the talented singer becomes an actress, her character could do with a bit more ‘flavour’, not just as a stay-at-home, neglected wife of Lat after he became famous. 

After all, women have became empowered even in those days – just look at Mrs Hew.

The comic relief (well, sort of), came in the form of Douglas Lim, who played Frankie, Lat’s school friend whom he met time and again – even in the cold, snowy London and then back while queing for cendol in Kuala Lumpur. A once ‘kacang lupakan kulit’ (one who forgets one’s roots and background) guy, Frankie came back to the country to live his life like a true Malaysian.

Even forging his way out of paying for his meals.

Lat: Budak Kampung The Musical certainly reminded me of my own ‘kampung’ – I’ll make sure I’ll pay a visit to it more often now.

For tickets:

Produced by Tall Order Production, collaborating with the Malaysian National Institute of Translation and the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry, Lat: Budak Kampung The Musical is on at Istana Budaya until 5 April 2011, with shows at 8.30pm (weekdays) and 3.00pm and 8.30pm (weekends).

For tickets, call 03-41498600 or go online at www.ticket2u.

Article source: http://sayangmelaka.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

The Journey of a `Kampung` Boy

Words and photos by Nazreen Tajul Arif

If they say that laughter is the best medicine, then I was certainly cured of my fever after watching LAT: Kampung Boy The Musical (Sebuah Muzikal) recently.

From the use of animation of the famous Lat cartoon of himself (it’s so well-known that no introduction is needed of who it was), the endearing representations of the cartoonist from a little ‘kampung’ boy to a famous towner, down to the haunting yet melodious live orchestra behind the curtains – the musical has certainly surpassed my expectations.

Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid, fondly known as Lat, has become a household name, synonymous with his no-nonsense, often whimsical cartoon depiction of the way Malaysians live.

Little Daniel Shazique Eezkandar, who played the young Lat, a cute and cheeky yet sweet character, who often seeks solace in his cartoons and drawings.  

He found his hero in his father (Jalil Hamid) – a John Wayne fanatic – who often told him in the Perak slang that “bughuk ghupa kalau lelaki nangis” (it’s hideous if a guy cries). To put it simply, he wanted Lat to persevere and toughen himself up, even though people criticised him over his penchant for cartoons.

The jokes were at times hillarious, punch lines were delivered on time albeit a few hiccups – Awie, as adult Lat even sneezed and commented on the extras’ inter frame while he was delivering his lines.  But it all made Lat: Kampung Boy the Musical amusing. My friend, Nurul Izatuleffa, who was a first-time theatre/musical attendee, found that she could relate to Mrs Hew (Sandra Sodhy), Lat’s English teacher the most.

And no, not because of the beehive hair-do that the character sports, which by the way has become an icon of some sort as the audience identified with the style; but it was because of her LWYD and DWYL philosophy.

Short for ‘Love What You Do’ and ‘Do What You Love’.

Lat was played superbly by Awie, who channelled him down to the T; even the curly wig seemed to suit him perfectly well. Being a rock star, there were no complaints in the voice department.  The songs were flawlessly delivered by the orchestra directed by local jazz legend Michael Veerapan. Even when he was attached with the crime desk at the NST, under the glare and watchful eyes of Pak Samad (Tan Sri A. Samad Ismail, played by Omar Abdullah), Lat just couldn’t get his knack of scrawlings and doodlings off of him; he is and always will be a cartoonist at heart.   

Atilia Raja Harun was cast as Faezah, or Fae’, the groovy chick who played hard to get in the beginning of their courtship – only to fall for Lat after realising he was from the same ‘kampung’ as she was. As fun as it was to see the talented singer becomes an actress, her character could do with a bit more ‘flavour’, not just as a stay-at-home, neglected wife of Lat after he became famous. 

After all, women have became empowered even in those days – just look at Mrs Hew.

The comic relief (well, sort of), came in the form of Douglas Lim, who played Frankie, Lat’s school friend whom he met time and again – even in the cold, snowy London and then back while queing for cendol in Kuala Lumpur. A once ‘kacang lupakan kulit’ (one who forgets one’s roots and background) guy, Frankie came back to the country to live his life like a true Malaysian.

Even forging his way out of paying for his meals.

Lat: Budak Kampung The Musical certainly reminded me of my own ‘kampung’ – I’ll make sure I’ll pay a visit to it more often now.

For tickets:

Produced by Tall Order Production, collaborating with the Malaysian National Institute of Translation and the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry, Lat: Budak Kampung The Musical is on at Istana Budaya until 5 April 2011, with shows at 8.30pm (weekdays) and 3.00pm and 8.30pm (weekends).

For tickets, call 03-41498600 or go online at www.ticket2u.

Rumah Melaka

The front view of Rumah Melaka

When travelling along the Bukit Katil road towards Tehel, it is hard not to miss Rumah Melaka on your left. Constructed entirely from wood in the style of a typical traditional Malay house complete with ornately tiled stairs on a vast 10 acre plot of land, the building certainly succeeds in grabbing your attention. As reported by the guard on duty at the front gate, most visitors would instantly whip out their cameras and snap a few shots. Well, its photogenic quality is undeniable and some quarters have even suggested that it is a good venue for filming period dramas and movies.

What gives Rumah Melaka its draw-dropping quality is the material and style of construction. In this day and age of concrete, glass and aluminium finished structures, it is very difficult to find a house or a building built entirely from wood. The cost of constructing a wooden building is also prohibitive as the price of this rare commodity has risen tremendously in recent years. Therefore, it is easier and cheaper to use other materials. However, as most of us can attest, a house built from wood evokes a sense of old world charm, of serenity and of peace with the environment. Wood is an organic material, so even when it is cut to size and treated, it continues to “live” and “breathe” and perhaps those qualities are the ones which contribute to its attraction.

Rumah Melaka is built on a 10 acre plot of land located in Bukit Katil. 5 acres of the original plot was allocated to the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) which financed the construction of the building and currently manages it. The remaining 5 acres are managed by the Melaka State Government and several projects are currently pending. One of these projects is the construction of Taman 1Malaysia, located on the left of Rumah Melaka. Taman 1Malaysia consists of a huge hall the size of 10 badminton courts and comes complete with landscaped gardens, fountains and family recreation areas. It is slated to be completed in May 2011 and will be a perfect venue to host functions such as weddings, sports tournaments such as silat, badminton, taekwondo and basically function as a multi-purpose hall. For those holding their wedding party, bridal make-up rooms are also available within the hall. Your family, friends and relatives will also be able to stroll around the gardens, water fountains and snap pictures of the happy occasion. While lingering, they will be free to enter the grounds of Rumah Melaka for more pictures and to check out the furniture showroom and cafeteria located within.

So what is inside Rumah Melaka? The building is generally divided into 3 main sections. The first on the left houses a furniture and interior design showroom. If you are expecting a run of the mill type of showroom showcasing only traditional teak furniture, you will be in for a surprise. Besides wooden furniture (which happens to be solid wood and not those made from flimsy chipboard of plywood), furniture from other materials such as cast iron and with glass or upholstery finishing are also displayed in a tasteful style. Managed by FITEC, a subsidiary company under MARA, it is a chance for Bumiputra furniture companies to showcase their products and services. FITEC also offers interior design consultancy and kitchen cabinet design and construction.

The center section is occupied by MTIB and houses the main exhibition area displaying samples of Malaysian timber, information on the timber industry in Malaysia and useful contacts and networks. There are also 2 spacious halls for seminars, conventions, courses and workshops. These halls are also available for rent. For further inquiries, you can contact MTIB at 03-92822235 or Perbadanan Hang Tuah Jaya at 06-232 3308 (Mr. Hafizam). There are also 4 kiosks selling wood based products such as souvenirs, handicraft, soft furnishings, etc.

The final section of Rumah Melaka is an open space which consists of the office administration block, cafeteria, surau and toilets. This is also where garden furniture is exhibited. The cafeteria, Seri Kesidang, is worth checking out as we heard it is passionate in the promotion of traditional Malay cuisine and has made all types of “kerabu” their house speciality. “Kerabu” is a Malay salad usually served as an appetizer and there are many types to choose from, all redolent with fresh herbs, spices and local fruit and vegetables.

A view of the cafeteria section

Rumah Melaka was recently in the limelight after its official launch on the 18th March 2011 by The Rt. Hon. Datuk Seri Mohd Ali bin Mohd Rustam, Chief Minister of Melaka where the Guest of Honor was The Hon. Dato’ Hamzah Zainudin, Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, representing the Minister. In its press kit, MTIB states that the objectives of Rumah Melaka are as follows:-

  • To increase sales and income for Bumiputra and Small to Medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) involved in the furniture and wood based industry in line with Thrust 7 of the National Timber Industry Policy (NATIP) (Bumiputra Participation)
  • To promote awareness and understanding of the development, importance and contribution of the timber industry to the socio-economic fabric of Malaysia to specifiers, architects, engineers, builders, interior decorators, students, the general public and tourists
  • To generate demand and stimulate the use of wood and wood based products in the local market in line with Thrust 4 of the National Timber Industry Policy (NATIP) (Promotions and Marketing)
  • To promote the local furniture industry and the use of timber in construction
  • To provide exposure, awareness and knowledge on the different types of timber and their uses
  • To promote the history and provide information on the development of the timber industry in Malaysia

Congratulations to Rumah Melaka on their official opening and may the Malasyian Timber Industry Board achieve all its objectives in time to come!

Contributed by

Linda Phua Sue Lin

Chief Executive Officer, Perbadanan Hang Tuah Jaya

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