Want to know what dishes your favourite local celebrities grew up eating?
Taste Selebriti is a gastronomic journey where celebrities such as Zizan Razak, Neelofa, Fattah Amin, Kamal Adli, Marsha Milan Londoh and Hafiz Suip will travel to their homestates and introduce viewers to the scrumptious dishes their places of birth have to offer.
Astro Bella channel manager Natasha Hashim says the food-travelogue, which has a total of 13 episodes – spanning 13 states – is an effort to get viewers acquainted with the different dishes Malaysia has to offer.
“Each episode has three segments. The artiste will first share their personal favourites; then, they will introduce a traditional food unique to that state alone and, lastly, they will visit a popular restaurant in the state,” she says during a press event promoting Taste Selebriti.
Singer Marsha, who was born in Michigan, United States and raised in Tamparuli, Sabah, names jeruk bambangan (pickled bambangan, a wild fruit indigenous to Sabah) as one of her favourite things to eat.
“Jeruk is a popular concept seen in many of the dishes there. In the olden days, a lot of people who live in Sabah weren’t from wealthy families so a lot of the food is pickled so that it can be stored for a long time,” she shares.
Singer and TV host Aril Pilus, who is taking viewers to various food places around Malacca, shares that he had to brave a very long queue at the famous Kuih Keria Antarabangsa shop just to get his hands on the sweet potato doughnut.
“During filming, we lined up for a while just to get a feel of what the atmosphere was like. But when I went back the next day, a Saturday, with my family who wanted to try it, I waited for two hours!” he recalls.
Meanwhile, singer Hafiz, who hails from Kuching, Sarawak, shares that he is taking his task as a food guide seriously. “It’s a huge responsibility and I feel proud to be able to represent my state. In the past, a lot of people have asked me what else is there to eat in Sarawak besides mee kolo and Sarawak laksa? There’s a lot more and this is an opportunity for me to share with them,” he offers.
On the topic of food, Hafiz also talked about why Thymes Cafe, which is owned by the singer, was closed after only operating for two years.
“It was my mistake. I signed the contract to rent the premise for two years only, not knowing there was an option to rent for five years,” he explains, adding that he still hopes to venture into the food business again.
Actress Izreen Azminda, who was born in Kangar, Perlis, shares that she is glad to be part of the show as it allows her to explore food places she may not have known before. “I haven’t been back to Perlis in a while and even when I’m back, I usually eat at my grandparents’ home. So a programme like this gives me a chance to explore a variety of food.”
Izreen goes on to share that many of the dishes in Perlis contain glutinous rice (pulut). “We eat a lot of things with pulut – laksa with pulut, hotdog with pulut or chicken with pulut because we’re so close to Thailand.”
The show also serves as a platform for artistes to discover or sharpen their hosting skills. “There is no script but that’s not a problem for me because I’m a very talkative person,” Izreen says with a laugh.
She also talks about her daily food choices, abstaining from carbohydrates almost completely, to maintain her slim figure. “I only eat rice once a week. I cut out carbohydrates like bread and junk food too,” she reveals, adding that her diet consists of mainly hot chocolate, oats and soup.
The actress, who has been watching what she eats since giving birth to her son, now three years old, says it was tough at the beginning but she got used to it after a while. “If you want to be an entertainer, you have to take care of your appearance.”
Taste Selebriti is on on Astro Bella (Ch 133) and Astro Mustika HD (Ch 134) at 9pm.