Step­ping up Sus­tain­abil­ity

A small but grow­ing num­ber of restau­ran­teurs and hoteliers in Malaysia are step­ping up to in­cor­po­rate more sus­tain­able ini­tia­tives into their busi­nesses

T.Dining Malaysia Tatler Best Restaurants - - Using The Guide - BY ALICE YONG

Ban­ning shark’s fin from menus, buy­ing and serv­ing sus­tain­able seafood, sourc­ing for lo­cal pro­duce and in­gre­di­ents, and last but not least, com­post­ing—some ho­tels and restau­rants in Malaysia are go­ing out of their way to of­fer more sus­tain­able and re­spon­si­ble din­ing in Malaysia. It’s not just hip in­die out­fits that are go­ing down the sus­tain­abil­ity route. Take shark’s fin, long the bane of an­i­mal rights ac­tivists and a tra­di­tional del­i­cacy in this part of the world. The Penin­su­lar Group was prob­a­bly the first ma­jor hos­pi­tal­ity group in the world to an­nounce their de­ci­sion to stop sell­ing shark’s fin in all its restau­rants and prop­er­ties in late 2011. Other mar­ket lead­ers soon fol­lowed, in­clud­ing Man­darin Ori­en­tal, Shangri-la Ho­tels and Re­sorts, and Hil­ton World­wide.

In 2012, the Man­darin Ori­en­tal Group sim­i­larly re­moved the dish from all restau­rant and ban­quet­ing menus as proof of the ho­tel group’s com­mit­ment to­wards a sus­tain­able fu­ture and to pre­serve ocean bio­di­ver­sity. Like­wise, Hil­ton World­wide’s ban on shark’s fin pre­views the com­pany’s on-go­ing ef­forts to up­date its Sus­tain­able Sourc­ing Pol­icy, in­clud­ing opt­ing for sus­tain­able seafood. The pol­icy de­crees that “while sus­tain­able seafood can be wild­caught or farm-raised, the seafood must be har­vested with care to main­tain sta­ble catch lev­els in the long-term with­out harm­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and other sea life.”

Un­der its Sus­tain­able Seafood Pol­icy, Shangri-la Ho­tels and Re­sorts has ceased serv­ing shark’s fin. Shangri-la also un­der­takes the de­vel­op­ment of marine sanc­tu­ar­ies, to en­sure reef pro­tec­tion and sta­bil­ity of un­der­wa­ter and marine life as part of its ‘Care for Na­ture’ ini­tia­tive, which was of­fi­cially es­tab­lished in 2007 at Shangri-la's Mac­tan Re­sort and Spa,

Cebu. The Shangri-la Marine Sanc­tu­ary y spans six hectares from the re­sort's beach­front; an area teem­ing with over 160 species of fish, clams and co­ral. Be­sides reg­u­lar coastal and dive cleanups by the re­sort man­age­ment and staff, co­ral re­cov­ery pro­grammes are car­ried out through the for­ma­tion of ar­ti­fi­cial reefs to en­cour­age co­ral and fish pro­lif­er­a­tion. Long term pro­tec­tion of the frag­ile reef en­vi­ron­ment, marine ne con­ser­va­tion and co­ral plant­ing ef­forts are also un­der­taken at Shangri-la's Tan­jung Aru Re­sort Spa, Kota Kinabalu, Shangri-la's Fi­jian Re­sortrt and Spa, Yanuca, Fiji and Shangri-la’s Villingili Re­sort & Spa, Mal­dives.

Over at The An­daman Langkawi, fresh lo­cal catches are de­liv­ered to the re­sort daily from lo­cal fish­ing boats to min­imise food miles. A mu­tual agree­ment with lo­cal fish­er­men fur­ther en­cour­ages them to fish re­spon­si­bly, avoid­ing the ho­tel’s bay where on-go­ing co­ral and marine con­ser­va­tion ef­forts are tak­ing place. The An­daman chefs are also cau­tious about their fish choices, buy­ing only fully grown fishes so that they do not con­trib­ute to the prob­lem of over-fish­ing, and to drive home the im­por­tance of sus­tain­able fish­ing.

Shangri-la Ho­tels and Re­sorts has ceased serv­ing shark’s fin. Shangri-la also un­der­takes the de­vel­op­ment of marine sanc­tu­ar­ies, to en­sure reef pro­tec­tion and sta­bil­ity of un­der­wa­ter and marine life

An­other sus­tain­able prac­tice un­der­taken by The An­daman Langkawi is com­post­ing. The re­sort’s res­i­dent botanist en­sures ex­cess fruit and veg­eta­bles go to the or­ganic compost on­site. The rich compost is then used to fer­tilise The An­daman’s or­ganic herb gar­den. Planted with 12 types of herbs such as curry leaves, pan­dan, aloe vera, lime and ginger among oth­ers, the en­su­ing bounty is used for cook­ing and in spa treat­ments.

Eat­ing Lo­cally

Be­yond say­ing no to shark’s fin and other en­dan­gered fishes, per­haps the eas­i­est way to din­ing sus­tain­ably is to eat and cook lo­cally. Malaysia’s rich and di­verse bounty is now tak­ing cen­trestage at De­wakan, a restau­rant that is part of KDU Univer­sity Col­lege’s ed­u­ca­tional en­tre­pre­neur­ial ef­fort.

Helmed by chef lec­turer Dar­ren Teoh, De­wakan—a con­trac­tion of two Malay words “dewa” (god) and “makan” (to eat or in this con­text, food)—the culi­nary team show­cases in­gre­di­ents na­tive to Malaysia and pro­duce grown here. Ac­cord­ing to the chef, “We want to con­nect the in­gre­di­ents from our seas, farms, moun­tains and jun­gles to a can­vas that is our plate in the most in­ter­est­ing way we know how.”

Lo­ca­vores are mak­ing a bee­line for De­wakan as they be­lieve Malaysian pro­duce should not be lim­ited to eth­nic cuisines. “We’re aim­ing for a more in­tel­li­gent and sus­tain­able ap­proach to use lo­cal in­gre­di­ents.” In­stead of im­ported stuff, the in­ven­tive menu high­lights

Be­yond say­ing no to shark’s fin and other en­dan­gered fishes, per­haps the eas­i­est way to din­ing

sus­tain­ably is to eat and cook lo­cally

Char­coal fire-roasted chicken at De­wakan Pu­lau Ke­tam ra­zor clams at De­wakan

Like the rest of Hil­ton's restau­rants, Chynna has a no-shark's fin pol­icy Slow-roasted chicken from lo­cal farm in Raub at DC Restau­rant Lai Po Heen has also ban­ished shark’s fin from its menu

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.