UPDATED, Friday Dec 8: Tiffin Food Court has been postponed indefinitely. Go to tiffin.my for the statement and info on refunds.
This December, a playground for gastronomes will be popping up over three weekends in the Klang Valley – expect 30,000sq ft of global cuisines at individual booths, plus culinary collabs from some of Malaysia’s most prolific and progressive chefs.
This is Tiffin Food Court, paying homage to the Malaysian food court experience with communal dining area and a triple-score baker’s dozen worth of participating vendors – from Venezuelan haven El Maiz to the modern Californian stylings of seafood maestros Eatomo Food Co., to the tempting tapas and Catalan flavours of Marta’s Kitchen.
And it’s all housed in an old electronics factory in the heart of Petaling Jaya, for a bit of industrial edge.
“Tiffin Food Court proffers the ultimate multi-layered experience, made possible in a culmination of more than 30 of the country’s most passionate F&B partners and purveyors serving delicacies from snapper ceviche to stinky tofu; and from countries such as Afghanistan, China, Spain, Mexico and Vietnam,” said Adrian Yap, founder of Tiffin and Freeform.
Headlining each of the three weekends will be well-known chefs and food personalities like Malcolm Goh of Define:food; the trio of Miki Lie, Daniel Yap and Amanda Huang, who helm Pop Up Dining KL; Marcus Low from MadHatter Desserts and a team-up of Dewakan’s Darren Teoh and Sitka Studio’s Christian Recomio.
Prices start at RM4, and the max you’ll pay for any dish here is RM30. That applies even to cocktails from award-winning mixologist CK Kho of Coley and Pahit, who’ll be holding court at the Mezzanine Cocktail Bar.
Tiffin is also partnering with Tiger Beers, which will be unleashing its new Street Beers at the event. They’re riffs off of the classic lagers, infused with Asian flavours like chilli and mint, coconut and lemongrass.
It’s all brought to you by edgy events company Freeform, which also organises Urbanscapes and the Upfront live music series.
“We want to recreate the Malaysian food court experience – because we love our food courts!” said Jo Ann Choo, who is in charge of marketing at Freeform. “This means a communal dining area and all your favourite vendors in one place – but reimagined to feature both Malaysian classics and cuisines from all over the world.”
The communal dining area will be divided into thematic spaces, such as the Chinoiserie-themed Red Hall, and everything will be set to an ambient soundscape curated by Paras Bunyi.
The Dewakan x Sitka kitchen mash-up will be a much-awaited kitchen collab between Teoh and Recomio.
“We’ve been wanting to work together for a while, and grabbed the opportunity to do something that is not quite Sitka Studio or Dewakan, but somewhere in between,” said Teoh. “It’s a great way to open up our world to people.”
“It’s going to be very instinctive, cooking for the crowd, very raw – there’s no hiding,” said Recomio.
With its emphasis on vibrant street dining, Recomio says that Tiffin is the perfect place for tacos – with an Asian twist. “It’s a Chinese-Mexican party in your mouth!” said Recomio.
In addition to their made-from-scratch pulled lamb tacos with peas, the duo will also be serving dishes like chicken wings with a rich butter sauce, slow-cooked egg with sambal and their take on the classic mango pudding. They may sound simple, but knowing these two progressive chefs, diners will be in for clever interpretations of tradition.
Still, Teoh says they’ll just be dishing out “nice-tasting food, that people don’t have to think about too much to enjoy.”
From within the Red Hall, Pop Up Dining KL will be serving dishes that intersect between the Asian and the Italian. Expect bruschetta made with tomato confit, local sardines and Thai basil, and calamari arancini with pickled coriander stems and black garlic.
This will be Goh’s first time at a street-style event like Tiffin, and he’s looking forward to it.
“I’m always curious to see what other chefs are doing – cooks are always in the kitchen, and this is a good chance to get out of the kitchen and mingle,” he said. “Plus, events like this present a different set of challenges from the everyday, and that’s how I learn and grow.”
“Tiffin is a great opportunity to experience all these different restaurants in one place.”
Goh’s dishes will all be made on-site, from fresh, high quality ingredients. Among them: Pacific Crab croquette with Granny Smith slaw and smoked salmon; spiced tater tots with truffled cheese espuma, Parmigiano and spring onions; wagyu sliders in brioche buns with pickled remoulade and caramelised onions; and PB&J ice cream sandwiches with cookies, peanut butter and jam.
If you’ve been to a Freeform event before, you’ll know to look for quirky little details that add character – like the Garnish Garden, set up by urban permaculture warriors Eats, Shoots and Roots; here, diners can pick their own herbs to sprinkle over their dishes.
To pay for each order, you’re going to need the pouchNATION RFID wrist tags and Boost app – Tiffin food Court is cashless. There will be kiosks for top-ups and you can also use Boost’s downloadable e-wallet.
And if you don’t feel like lining up at the stalls, use UberEATS to get your food delivered to whichever cool space you’ve found to park in, at Tiffin.
Tiffin Food Court runs Fridays to Sundays, from Dec 8 to 24, 5pm till late. It’s at Lot No.1, Jalan SS8/6, Sungei Way Free Trade Industrial Zone, Petaling Jaya. For more info, click here.