LONDON - The rain stayed away and visitors came in droves from the four corners of Trafalgar Square to enjoy a Malaysian experience of food, culture and hospitality.
The fourth Malaysia Night, or pasar malam, at Trafalgar Square was a success with 25,000 thronging the square from noon to 10pm.
There were long queues at food stalls from restaurants such as Tuk Din Flavours of Malaysia, Pan Chai, The Malaysian Pancake Co, Roti King, Bonda Cafe, Puji-puji and Makan Cafe.
Stalls from ethnic supermarkets such as Wing Yip and Cheong Leen were stripped bare of sambal pastes and curry powder by the end of the event.
Seventeen food stalls from restaurants here participated. Other stands were from Tourism Malaysia, Malaysia Airlines and Lotus.
Nottingham-based cultural group Nusantara, Garuda Indian dance troupe and a Chinese lion dance group provided entertainment. Australian singer Bonnie Freechyld, who professed her love for Malaysia and Malay songs, made her debut on the Trafalgar Square stage, belting out favourites such as Getaran Jiwa and Belaian Jiwa.
Celebrity chefs such as Tim Anderson, Ian Penggelly and Caroline Mili Artiss also played their part in demonstrating Malaysian cooking on the big screen.
Organised by the Malaysia Kitchen Programme under the Ministry of External Trade (Matrade), the Malaysia Night success could well surpass the first one in 2010.
Popularity with Malaysian food and culture goes in tandem with the influx of tourists into the country. As more locals become aware of Malaysian food and food products, promoted by events such as Malaysia Night at Trafalgar Square, more people are visiting the country.
Matrade CEO Datuk Dr Wong Lai Sum said events such as Malaysia Night had a big impact in promoting Malaysian food and encouraging tourism to Malaysia.
"Through this programme, this year alone, 1.3 billion people in US, UK, Australia and New Zealand said they now know more about Malaysia and 24 per cent said they want to eat Malaysian food. People now can distinguish Malaysian food from Thai or Indonesian food."