Celebrating the transformative power of fire and food, the Guinness Flavour by Fire festival rounded up some of KL’s hottest chefs and musicians for a two-day weekend extravaganza at PJ’s The Gasket Alley on the 30th of November and 1st of December.
“There’s something very special about cooking food over fire – from campfires to barbeques, it brings people together in a way you don’t get using other cooking methods. Guinness has a similar effect – it’s the perfect way to celebrate getting together with friends and family for some quality Guinness Time,”
said Archana Sridhara, Marketing Manager, Guinness & Diageo Brands at HEINEKEN Malaysia.
“The fact that Guinness pairs so perfectly with roasted and barbequed dishes, and that we use fire to give Guinness its unique colour and flavour by roasting our barley at 232° Celsius makes Guinness Flavour by Fire a great way to express everything Malaysians love about Guinness,”
With Guinness (Malaysia’s No. 1 Stout!) at the centre of this festival, the understanding of turning raw ingredients into absolutely delicious eats via roasting is well-conveyed, as Guinness itself is made from barley roasted at exactly 232° Celsius to give the beer its distinctive dark colour and toasted flavour notes.
Featuring a collection of four restaurants and five celebrity chefs popular for their own signature styles and techniques of roasting, the night was smoking with the aroma of meaty goodness.
Celebrity chef Sapna Anand from GOA by Sapna brought the local love of Indian delicacy to the crowd, presenting her signature Kashmiri lamb chops among other traditional Indian barbecue recipes. Not only did she and her team serve up a beautifully tender lamb marinated in roasted spices and citrus, Chef Sapna also provided a range of vegetarian options including smoky marinated paneer and barbecued corn coated in a chili rub and flame-seared to a caramelised exterior only a charcoal flame can create.
“Spices have their natural oils, but what gives them life is when it hits the heat. When the fire-roasted spices mingle with the fat in the meat, dripping down onto the coals and releasing the smoke, it gives the dish a completely different flavour than cooking in a pan, for instance,”
The food was so good, the GOA stall had to momentarily close for a while to restock!
From the Kitchen Mafia team, Chefs Sherson Lian and Johnny Fua melded Asian and Western influences to create a wide range of barbecued treats from seafood to duck. Sourcing local wood such as bamboo and rubber tree, the duo cooked up an ‘outback-style’ storm with unique flavours unlike anything found in traditional kitchens.
Choices spread out from pineapple and red pepper-marinated leg of lamb, chain-hung above the grill flames, and served with a Guinness-infused rosemary sauce, and mussels in flavoursome rice wine broth cooked inside bamboo trunks.
Tipsy Boar‘s Chef Suren Krishnan mashed up all the barbecue greats from Southern USA, European, and Asian techniques and served up truly artisinal cuts of pork. Chorizo and German sausages, Kansas-style spare ribs, pork knuckle slathered in Guinness glaze low-and-slow cooked over wood from local mangrove and fruit trees treated us to melt-in-the-mouth, rich, and satisfying dishes we went back twice for.
While Burning Pit only had two items on the night’s menu, Pitmaster Kok Fung harnessed Texan barbecue power and brought the fantastic signature dry-rubbed beef brisket, smoked for over 12 hours with a Malaysian touch of tropical tree firewood. Combined with sides of pickled mango, gherkins, jalapenos, and a smoky Gula Melaka and berry barbecue sauce, with an add-on of creamy macaroni, having this with a cold glass of Guinness was the perfect meal, even for non-heavy meat eaters like me.
Apart from the pit features, the festival, being a Guinness event, had plenty of other beer-related activities. The exclusive STOUTie machine previously only available at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland was a crowd favourite, as hundreds lined up to get selfies printed out via malt extract right onto their beers.
Guinness Expert Cian Hulm entertained and educated on how to correctly execute the ‘Two Part Pour’ a.k.a the only way to enjoy a good Guinness.
And, what is a real beer festival without the Long Bar Challenge? Last seen at Guinness St.Patrick’s Day events, this party-favourite saw many getting their hands on exclusive Guinness merchandise by sliding a bottle of Guinness beer down the length of the bar in a test of skill and precision.
Both days of the event featured many local talents as well to keep the passion going, with acts like Kyoto Protocol, K-Town Clan, Church Mouse, Samantha Diana, Jumero, and others performing throughout the night.
For more information on Guinness and to keep an eye out for future events, check out facebook.com/guinnessmalaysia.