Rooted In Nature

Special thanks to Golden Sands Resort for extending this event invitation.

In continuation of the environmental initiative Rooted In Nature, Shangri-La Hotels And Resorts is proud to feature one of its sustainable dishes in Martin Yan's upcoming television show, Taste Of Malaysia.
Members of the media are invited to Sigi's Bar & Grill at Golden Sands Resort for lunch. Earlier in the morning, Executive Chef Adrian Lim accompanied Martin to visit GST Group's fish farm at Pulau Jerejak.
Launched on Earth Day this year (22 April 2015), Rooted In Nature is a long-term policy adopted by Shangri-La to embrace environmentally-friendly practices in its business operations. To this end, Sigi's Bar & Grill has incorporated a number of dishes prepared from responsibly-sourced ingredients. The goal is to convert 75% of its menu items to sustainable dishes by the year 2020.
Taste Of Malaysia is an upcoming television program to be hosted by Martin Yan of "Yan Can Cook" fame. This program features Martin's exploration of Malaysia's best culinary adventures. As a food haven, Penang is naturally one of Martin's many stopovers. Besides sampling local street food, Martin also participates in cooking episodes with local chefs to learn more about Malaysian cuisine.
Taste Of Malaysia is currently in production phase and is expected to premier worldwide in September 2015. Today, Martin and his production crew are coming at Sigi's Bar & Grill to film an episode here.
Master Chef Martin Yan (甄文达师傅), is a Chinese-American chef, culinary consultant, food writer and TV personality. His iconic television show, Yan Can Cook, has a huge cult following in the United States and worldwide. Long before other cooking shows like Iron Chef, the show has catapulted Cantonese-style cooking to the American audience. His show is notable for quirky humor and spectacular stir-frying techniques. His catchphrase during the show, "If Yan can cook, so can you!", has entered household pop culture.
Born in Guangzhou (广州), Martin moved to Hong Kong at the age of 13 during the chaos of the Great Chinese Famine. In Hong Kong, Martin worked at his uncle's Chinese restaurant and learned a great deal of Cantonese-style cooking. At the age of 19, Martin moved to Canada to pursue his education. Martin currently holds a Master's degree in Food Science from the University of California, Davis.
Martin Yan is the first ethnic Chinese chef to penetrate mainstream television in the United States. An accomplished chef with many titles in the culinary field, Martin is well-respected among celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay. At the business side, Martin owns several Chinese restaurants in California.
Despite his fame, Chef Martin has a humble, down-to-earth personality. He is very passionate about cooking and truly enjoys what he does. According to Martin, cooking can be a fulfilling experience for anyone. His goal is to show that cooking can be educational, entertaining and inspiring at the same time. After our interview, Martin graciously signs his autograph for members of the media.
Speaking of lunch, our appetizer today is Grilled Free Range Chicken & Organic Tofu. This dish is the same as what we have been served previously.
As for the main course, my dish of choice is Roast Free Range Chicken. The quarter-bird is roasted till golden brown, then covered with delectable brown jus for flavoring.
On the side are steamed vegetables and a heap of mashed potato.
Finally for desserts, we have two scoops of Local Flavor Ice Cream. The ice cream, flavored with yam and coconut, is topped with whipped cream and plastic garnish. The garnish is shaped to resemble the logo for "Rooted In Nature" dishes in the food menu.
At the conclusion of our meal, members of the hotel staff pose for photographs with Chef Martin. Flanking Martin are, from left, K.H. Lee (Sous Chef), Danny Tan (Chinese Chef), Keith Tomkies (General Manager) and Adrian Lim (Executive Chef).
The next event is the filming session, which takes place at the upper deck of Sigi's Bar & Grill. To emphasize the use of fresh ingredients at the restaurant, various types of local spices are used as props at the production set.
Joining Chef Martin in front of the camera today is the Executive Chef of Sigi's Bar & Grill, Adrian Lim (林国传师傅). Both chefs met 11 years ago in Vietnam, so today's event is also their reunion after a decade. Today's shooting is recording twice: first in English language, then in Mandarin.
Before the show, Martin introduces his trusted cleaver which he personally designed. The cleaver is extremely sharp that it can split a falling lemongrass stalk into halves. The center of gravity is balanced at a point where Martin wants it to be. With this fine cleaver, Martin is able to cut a piece of garlic into thin slices measuring less than 1 millimeter in width.
Today's episode of the show features a signature dish of Sigi's Bar & Grill, Nyonya Curry Kapitan Fish (娘惹咖哩甲必丹鱼). Nyonya, formally known as "Peranakan", is an ethnic group which comprises of descendants of Chinese immigrants to the Malay Peninsula during the Malacca Sultanate and the British Malaya periods.
Nyonya cuisine employs several Chinese cooking techniques such as stewing and stir-frying, but also improvises local Malay herbs and spices to create a unique blend of fiery flavors.
The fish used in this dish is sea bass (金目鲈), also known as "siakap" in Malay. The sea bass is harvested from GST Group's sustainable fish farm, which both chefs visited earlier this morning. The fish is deboned but its skin is kept intact.
As for spices, ingredients used are red onion (红葱), white onion (洋葱), ginger (黄姜), galangal (南姜), garlic (蒜茸), ginger flower (姜花), lemongrass (香茅) and candlenut (石栗果). These ingredients are minced so that they impart their flavors readily when added to the frying pan.
First, the pan is lubricated with palm oil. Palm oil is the most popular food oil in Malaysia. It is rich in essential nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and Carotene. Next, minced spices are added to the frying pan, where they are stirred gently until essential oils are released. At this point, the air is filled with irresistible mouthwatering fragrance.
Once the spices turn golden-brown, add small amount of salt (盐) and sugar (糖). Ground shrimp (虾粉), tamarind juice (罗望子汁) and kaffir lime juice (青柠汁) are also added for savory, sour and astringent flavors respectively. Next, add coconut milk (椰浆) so that the gravy attains rich, creamy mouthfeel.
Subsequently, add sea bass fillet with the skin facing up. Last but not least, add red chili pepper (红辣椒) paste to the frying pan. The paste can be prepared by grinding the chili pieces with mortar and pestle (研钵和研杵). As the fillet is sliced very thinly, it does not take much time before the fish is cooked.
Finally when the sea bass fillets are cooked, serve them on a clean plate. Cover the fish with its succulent gravy. For aesthetic appeal, sprinkle some chopped kaffir leaf (青柠叶) as garnish.
Voilà! This lovely dish of Nyonya Curry Kapitan Fish is ready to serve. Do the steps sound very easy to follow? So remember: If Yan can cook, so can you!
Throughout the show, Chef Martin remarks that today's place of choice cannot be any better. Facing the sea, the cool breeze of Batu Ferringhi presents a relaxing atmosphere to prepare today's dish. Not to mention the lovely aroma which permeates every corner in the vicinity!
It was 11 years since both chefs last met, but they are both looking forward to meeting each other again very soon. Considering Chef Martin's endless admiration of Penang cuisine, I bet that they will cross paths again in the near future.
For the tasting session, we are served with another freshly-cooked serving directly from the kitchen. The mere sight of Nyonya Curry Kapitan Fish triggers my saliva to flow profusely!
Sea bass flesh is quite firm in texture, but the flavor is respectable nevertheless. Infused by gravy bursting with rich flavors, it is not difficult to finish every single piece of these scrumptious fillets!
Name: Sigi's Bar & Grill
Address: Golden Sands Resort, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-886-1852
Business hours: 11:00am-12:00am
Coordinates: 5.47751 N, 100.2516 E
Directions: Driving from George Town and upon arriving Batu Ferringhi, Golden Sands Resort is located on the right at the first traffic junction. The main entrance to the hotel is located slightly after the junction. Sigi's Bar & Grill is located towards the far side of the resort, after the pools and facing the beach. Parking is complimentary for hotel guests.


  1. yum yum yum
    Sigi's Bar & Grill look delicious ^^

    1. It is! Do check it out when you are in Penang! :-)