KDU University College’s Dewakan is Malaysia’s Best Restaurant and Asia’s Best 50 Restaurant
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Dewakan restaurant located inside KDU University College in Shah Alam, made Malaysia proud by ranking 46th on the list during the ceremony – dubbed as the “Oscars” of the food world. Dewakan also bagged the Best Restaurant in Malaysia award during the event, which was held in Macau on March 26, 2019.
Lifestyle Asia revealed that the restaurants were judged by a group of 318 industry experts who were required to have personally dined at the selected restaurants within the past 18 months.
Founder and chef Darren Teoh attributed the win to the combined efforts of every person involved in the process, from farm to the dining table. Dewakan, a combination of two Malay words – “Dewa”, meaning God, and “Makan”, meaning eat – clinched the 46th spot in this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
The restaurant, which first opened in 2015, has since been since recognised for its take on modern Malaysian cuisine. Dewakan serves modern Malaysian food, started out as an entrepreneurial effort by KDU University College in Malaysia, where its current chef Darren Teoh is a culinary lecturer. Dewakan is currently situated in the institution’s flagship campus at Utropolis Glenmarie, Shah Alam, about 23km from Kuala Lumpur’s city centre.
Many of Teoh’s former students from KDU University College now work at the restaurant, and it frequently trains younger cooks through its internship programme. Dewakan, also serves as a fine dining education restaurant for KDU University College’s culinary arts students.
The description also said that Teoh “takes rare and forgotten ingredients from peninsular Malaysia – from sea, mountain, jungle and farm – and elevates and transforms them into fine dining dishes that diners have described as ‘modern art’”.
It seems Teoh’s tremendous hard work has finally paid off. He takes a progressive ethos to dining using ‘funky’ and naturalised ingredients uncommonly found in Malaysian kitchens, working extensively with local farmers and producers.
When asked how it felt to be on the list, he was quick to attribute it to the efforts of an entire supply chain. “It’s nice to be acknowledged for the work that’s being done by all in Malaysia, the farmers, the producers and other restaurants who are pushing it everyday as well as our guests and the guys at the restaurant now and before,” said Teoh. “It’s nice to represent that.
Some of its delectable dishes have local spins to it, such as roast eggplant with keluak and candlenut oil, slow cooked red snapper with a broth made from temu, and kid goat from Boden farm with petai-so.