By Samantha Tan

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Oct 9 (NNN-Bernama) The similarities in food and flavours between Mexico and Malaysia make up the main connection to further bring the two nations closer despite being geographically far.

Mexico’s Ambassador to Malaysia, Carlos Felix Corona said Mexicans and Malaysians had always enjoyed eating and food was essential in any occasion, with chillies being the trademark of their respective cuisines.

Noting that food was crucial in deepening Mexico-Malaysia friendship, the Mexico Embassy is organising the fifth edition of Flavours of Mexico, as part of its cultural programme to strengthen Mexico-Malaysia bilateral relations.

Corona said food was an extremely important element in Mexican culture and their food was recognised by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The event promotes Mexican gastronomy because it is diversified. As we are a multicultural country, each region has its own speciality, mixture of ancient way of cooking, and combined with the influences from Europe and Spain, he told Bernama on the upcoming Flavours of Mexico, to be held here from Oct 10 to 14.

In conjunction with the launch on Oct 10, this year will highlight the Mexican-Malaysian street foods, to be prepared by celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, who is better known as Chef Wan, and the ambassador’s wife, Eun Hai Kim.

Besides that, a tequila tasting event involving the renowned brand Don Ramon will also take place to educate the people on fake and genuine liquor, as well as providing business opportunities for Malaysian enterprises to become distributors.

Corona said such event not only promoted Mexican cuisines to Malaysians but also shared the common passion on food and culture of each country, as well as gave opportunities for businesses in commercialising Mexican ingredients and spices.

I would like to see more people-to-people connection, therefore such an event will promote intense learning about each other and how similar Mexico-Malaysia are. This will expand the friendship and understanding and we could possibly see more of (such) exchanges in terms of students who are curious about the culture, he added.

Corona said because of the similarity between Mexico and Malaysia, all kinds of engagements and activities would be connected easily, adding this would indirectly strengthen Mexico and Malaysia’s bilateral relations.

The ambassador admitted that although there was improvement in people-to-people connection, there was still lack of knowledge about each other’s countries, especially in terms of geography.

We have not overcome the perception that we are very far away countries and we are different. We need to learn more about Mexico here and vice-versa. This cultural activity will bring people closer and promote people-to-people connection, he added.

On Mexico’s national spirit tequila, Corona said it was crucial to promote the authenticity of the drink and educate consumers to differentiate the original and fake label as there was good demand for tequila in Malaysia.

We also see a lot of fake tequila in Malaysia and we need to promote and educate the basics of real tequila to avoid a situation which can be dangerous to one’s health.

Corona pointed out that if there were buyers for fake tequila, it was proof that there was demand for the Mexican drink.

Therefore, it is a good opportunity and business prospect for Malaysian distributors because tequila is internationally well-known, he said.

The total value of tequila export from Mexico to Malaysia was valued at US$7 million in 2017.

Citing a report, Corona said Malaysia had a problem with the black market and there were counterfeit and fake tequila, meaning the product entered the Malaysian market illegally.

He said liquor sold in the black market was a problem and Malaysian authorities were tirelessly cracking down on it.

There are several tequila brands entering Malaysia through the black market and unfortunately, people do not know the difference, he said.

Tequila is only ‘produced and bottled in Mexico’ and made from 100 per cent agave. There is no way tequila is produced outside of Mexico. Tequila is like Champagne, you cannot produce Champagne outside of France’s Champagne, Corona stressed.

The ambassador said it was important for people to know about the fake drink from the black market and stayed alert because there were cases of people who died as a result of consuming fake liquor. He added his embassy must be vigilant in promoting tequila because it was an obligation on their side to promote the original drink.

My advice is that they should check the bottle (tequila) for the characteristic that complied with all requirements such as Malaysia’s Royal Customs seal, enter through a proper channel and is certified by the Malaysian authorities, he added.– NNN-BERNAMA

Source: NAM News Network