Arigato, Malaysian food is ichiban

(From left) Teramoto, Ishimoto and Matsuyama congratulating each other during the convocation ceremony in Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU - His friends call him Mr Curry, but he is not a Malaysian.

Over the past month that he has been in the country, Naoki Teramoto, 25, who is pursuing his doctorate at Meiji University, has had curry with roti canai for breakfast and with rice during lunch and dinner.

"I really will miss the curry when I go back," he said on the sidelines of the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) convocation here yesterday.

"But I'm bringing back instant curry paste and want try to cook my own curry," he said.

Teramoto is one of the students from Meiji under a twinning programme with UTM that was started in 2010 for working graduates.

Under the exchange programme, Japanese students spend a month in Malaysia while Malaysians spend two weeks in Japan at the end of their respective courses. Six Malaysians are in the first batch of the programme.

Teramoto, who is among the first batch of five students from the Japanese university, received his scroll from UTM chancellor Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah. The three-day convocation which ends tomorrow involves 4,465 graduates, including 617 foreigners.

Thirty-six-year-old insurance agent Kazuko Ishimoto, from Tokyo, has also developed a yen for spicy Malaysian favourites, like chicken satay and murtabak.

However, her all-time favourite, like almost all Malaysians' is that chocolaty beverage in the green tin.

She first tasted the made-in Malaysia Milo when she visited the country three years ago.

"I love the aromatic rich taste of cocoa. But the Milo we have in Japan does not taste as good as it does in Malaysia," added Ishimoto, who received her Master of Science (Engineering Business Management) and Master of Business Administration (MBA).

She would be bringing Milo and frozen murbatak when she goes home.

Course mate Motoki Matsuyama, 36, a business trainer, said that the fluffy taste of roti canai is something that makes him at a loss for words.

"There are Malaysian restaurants selling roti canai in Tokyo but, somehow, the taste there is not as good as the roti canai that you eat in Malaysia,'' he said.