Singaporean food historian Khir Johari’s “The Food of Singapore Malays: Gastronomic Travels through the Archipelago” recently won the top prize at this year’s Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
The book, which explores the evolution of Malay cuisine in Singapore, received the Best in the World award at the Umea Food Symposium in Sweden earlier this month.
Over 100,000 publications from across 230 countries were reviewed to determine the 1,140 nominees and winners in 115 categories for food and 30 categories for drinks.
Johari’s book, which resembles an encyclopedia, is 621 pages long and features over 400 photographs. It also includes 40 recipes and several essays about both well-known and unsung dishes from across the Malay Archipelago.
“To be recognized by an international competition and to stand among some of the most meaningful books to have been written in history, truly means so much, not just to me, but for Singapore,” Johari told The Straits Times.
“Writing ‘The Food of Singapore Malays’ allowed me to collect, consolidate and curate the Malays’ rich cultural heritage into an encyclopedic coffee-table book that could appeal to multiple interests,” he added.
Despite the recent history-making event, this is not Johari’s first big win.
Last year, “The Food of Singapore Malays,” which reportedly took Johari around 11 years to make, was crowned Book of the Year at the Singapore Book Awards.