Malaysia cooks up unusual outfit for its Miss Universe representative

Malaysia’s representative will be dressed depicting country’s national dish, nasi lemak

News Desk November 01, 2017

Malaysia’s representative to this year’s Miss Universe pageant will be dressed depicting the country’s national dish, nasi lemak.


Local beauty pageant organisers, on Tuesday, unveiled the gown which Samantha Katie James will wear during the national dress section of the Miss Universe finals, to be held later this month in Las Vegas, said BBC News.

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The dress, which has delighted and confounded Malaysians, may be a quirky choice, but it's the latest iteration of what appears to be a nasi lemak metamorphosis craze sweeping the region.


The beauty pageant contestant will be wearing the outfit with great caution, apparently. On Tuesday, Ms James gingerly inched through a door to the press conference in Kuala Lumpur, to avoid crushing the towering green wings (banana leaves) attached to her gown.

Local designer Brian Khoo had also sewn embellishments on her dress - made of ivory silk to represent coconut rice - depicting the other ingredients, as well as a splash of red crystals for the sambal.

The national dress section of the Miss Universe pageant is known for its wacky outfits, but Malaysians watching the unveiling live on Facebook were nevertheless taken aback.


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Nasi lemak is basically coconut milk-infused rice accompanied by various ingredients - the standard ones are a fried egg, cucumber slices, tiny fried anchovies, peanuts, and a hefty dollop of sambal, or spice paste.

The dish - which means "fatty rice" in Malay - is usually wrapped up in banana leaves, and often eaten for breakfast.

But there is controversy around the dish. Is it really Malaysian? Them's fightin' words - like in the great Middle Eastern kebab/kabob debate, nasi lemak is equally loved, and claimed, by more than one country in the region.

Singapore and certain parts of Indonesia have claimed ownership of the dish, which in recent years has seen something of a creative renaissance.

There's now nasi lemak pizza...


Last year, netizens were tickled by a Hermès clutch that resembled a packet of nasi lemak.

...nasi lemak ice cream...


...and even a nasi lemak burger rolled out by McDonald's in Singapore earlier this year - although many wondered why the rice was replaced by all-American hamburger buns.


But the icing on the cake (sambal on the rice?) may be the nasi lemak condoms made by Malaysian contraceptive maker Karex.


Due to be sold in shops in the next few weeks, the prophylactics apparently smell faintly of coconut and are coated with a warming lubricant, reported the AFP.

This story first appeared on BBC News - Asia


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