A Malaysian Journey: Desaru Coast’s New Look in 2019

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Word on the street is Desaru Coast just got a brand new look. It’s common for Singaporeans to take short road trips to Johor to enjoy the arguably better food at a much cheaper price. Our multiracial neighbour is a melting pot of what seems to be a lot more than just diverse cultures – but a mishmash of curated cuisines iconic to Malaysia.

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It didn’t take us more than 2 hours of car ride to reach Desaru Coast, a premium integrated destination resort and one of Malaysia’s most anticipated new tourism developments. We can foresee a spike in Singaporean tourism in 2019 when its facilities are ready and in full swing – simply because of its general resort-like, laid-back mass appeal.

Here are our top picks curated for the different types of family.

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For the Ardent Food Connoisseurs: A Malaysian Journey of Gourmet Series

Desaru Coast features a one-of-its-kind Gourmet Series in partnership with SAVOUR, an experienced culinary event organizer. Being the first of its six editions, we were eager to find out the allure of Celebrity Chef Emmanuel Stoobant’s take on Malaysian food.

For Chef Emmanuel, he goes back to the core basics of rediscovering staple ingredients for his spin-off of Malaysian dishes. It was like a crash course as we rediscover new ways of preparing ingredients such as garlic, coriander, shallots, basil and chilli – to even the way we should hold our knives.

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His unique techniques extracted wholesome, unembellished flavours of each ingredient; surprisingly distinctive in taste of his Malaysian cuisine rendition. We were all blown away by his unmissable charm and avid passion for food, to say the least!

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Chef Emmanuel’s 6-course fine-dining menu brought our taste buds on a sensory trail through his very own interpretations of Malaysian dishes that can hardly be replicated. Overlooking a 27-hole golf course designed by 4-time Major Champion, Ernie Els, we dined in at The Els Club Desaru Coast.

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Berinai (Nasi Kerabu)

We started the course with Chef Emmanuel’s interpretation of Malay rice dish Nasi Kerabu. The sauce was extremely well-received at our table – another testament to the difference in taste a traditional dish can make with the attention to details and preparation techniques of the core ingredients.

Salted egg as an ingredient tends to be overpowering in most dishes. The salted egg popiah stood out in terms of the mastery and balance in flavours. The faint aftertaste of the salted egg was adequate and does not mask over the flavours of popiah.

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Abalone (Abalone, Bang Kuang, Marigold)

We love our abalones, especially as we approach the Chinese New Year. A lesser known fact is that Bang Kuang refers to Jicama, or Mexican turnip.

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Scallop (Scallop, Coconut, Laksa)

Perhaps one of our favourites of the 6-course dinner. The rich coconut flavour well complements and highlights the freshness of the scallop, with a notable hint of laksa leaves.

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Short Ribs (24-hour braised beef short rib, galangal, garlic, lemongrass, jackfruit, keropok)

Talk about the layering of flavours! We love almost everything about this unique combination. We consider ourselves relatively conservative as diners, hence we’re just not as sure about the jackfruit addition.

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Cod (Cod fish, White Miso, Tumeric, Cauliflower)

Definitely the crowd-favourite – hands down. The innovative way of presenting the foamed white miso and the flavourful yet elemental taste of the cod fillet. We rate it a 10/10 for presentation, 11/10 for taste.

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Cream (La cremeria vanilla ice cream, white chocolate, pop rocks, kaffir lime leaves)

Vanilla not so plain anymore: artisanal flavours of the ingredients created a mishmash of texture to vanilla ice cream.

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Coconut (pineapple, pandan, mango, financier, gingerflower)

This dessert encapsulated all tropical flavours you can imagine – all in a mouthful. Even so, we were not big fans of the gingerflower.

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Petit Four (emping berlinjau lime dragee, rose and raspberry bonbon, gula melaka peanut nougatine, saffron and macadamia madeleines)

Definitely got us saying “Oomph, Mama Oomph!”

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For the Adventure-Seekers: A Splashing Time at one of the World’s Biggest Waterparks

Touting one of the world’s biggest waterparks and Southeast Asia’s largest wave pool, Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark features 17 different slides and a unique mix of wet and dry rides to cater to all audience.

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The Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark covers over 21 acres with 5 impeccable, splash-tacular play-zones with the capacity to host up to 12,000 visitors. Family can anticipate rides such as Swinging Ship, Wild Whirl, Kraken’s Revenge and many more.

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Tidal Wave Beach located right in front of Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast

We love the Tidal Wave Beach located at Zone 4 the most. This giant wave pool is ideal to bring the family with young children – because where can you find consistent and controlled waves that are fun, safe and kids-friendly?

Operating Hours: 10 am – 6 am daily, including weekends and public holidays.

For more information, visit www.dcawp.com.

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For the Rock-N-Rollin’: Escape to a Rockin’ Family Retreat at Hard Rock Hotel

Hard Rock Hotel fully utilises the venue to create a spacious, laid-back resort-like charisma, which is quick to transform into an energetic amplification of live performances, staying true to its name that many generations of music fanatics still rave about.

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Cosmopolitan lobby lounge GMT +8 is perfect for parents to unwind after tucking their children in past bedtime
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Take a rockin’ tour around the lobby and discover these gems worn by stars like Elvis, Madonna, Lady Gaga and many more
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A room to call your own: Walk into your room feeling like a superstar as you are greeted with signature Hard Rock bedding and Rock Spa® bathroom amenities and Rock classics playing in the background.

Keep your eyes peeled for further developments as The Desaru Coast projects the growth of hotels and resorts in the next few years.

Families can expect 5-star resort The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, exclusive branded luxury resort with a 128-acre beachfront development One&Only Desaru Coast, and international brand of Anantara Hotels and Resorts with direct access to the beach Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas.

More information on Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast:

Website: www.hardrockhotels.com/desaru-coast

Email: info@hrdesaru.com

For the Casual Golfers: A New Standard to Golf in Southeast Asia

For the families who frequent the golf courses, good news. The Els Club Desaru Coast is a sanctuary for golfers with 2 top-notch, unparalleled courses. The Valley Course is an 18-hole golf course and only a 10-minute shuttle ride from Hard Rock. The Ocean Course is a 21-hole course that is only a stone’s throw away.

Being non-golfers, we fawned over the vastness of space and greenery for a perk-me-up. Nonetheless, there is nothing that cannot be learned even for first-timers.

Step up your game with The Els Performance Golf Academy, a great fun for the entire family regardless of level of experience and exposure to golf. The state-of-the-art centre of excellence is as the first Academy of its kind in Asia.

It’s high-time to ring in the new year with a perfect short vacation with the family and escape into a fun-filled journey at The Desaru Coast.

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