The Norwegian Seafood Council recently announced Chef Chua Kok Hua as Malaysia’s representative for the upcoming World Sushi Cup 2018. Held annually in Tokyo, the World Sushi Cup on August 23 brings together 40 of the top sushi chefs from around the world in a prestigious sushi-making competition.
Chef Chua emerged as the champion in the qualifying competition in November 2017, to represent Malaysia in the World Sushi Cup. The qualifying competition was held in conjunction with the Global Sushi Academy training, acollaboration between Norwegian Seafood Council and World Sushi Skills Institute, the only officially recognised sushi body in Japan.
The training, conducted by renowned sushi master, Hirotoshi Ogawa, focuses on basic sushi making skills and critical topics such as hygienic handling of seafood for raw consumption. It was the second time the training has been held in Malaysia.
Mr Jon Erik Steenslid, Regional Director (Southeast Asia) of Norwegian Seafood Council said, “Norwegian salmon and fjord trout are the most preferred choice of fish in sushi restaurants in Malaysia. However, it has been subjected to bad press when there’s a case of food poisoning, with unsubstantiated stories linking salmon to parasitic worms when the real culprit is usually the unhygienic handling of the fish.”
Proper handling of raw fish is of paramount importance for trained sushi chefs in Japan. Since most of the sushi chains in Malaysia use salmon and trout from Norway, this educational programme for sushi chefs run by the Norwegian Seafood Council is timely and will help ensure food safety through hygienic handling of the fish.
These positive indicators are testament to the rising popularity of Norwegian salmon and trout, a reason why Norwegian Seafood Council is investing in efforts to promote their Norwegian origin. “Malaysia has the highest consumption of seafood per capita and we trust that there’s a massive market potential to further develop the market for Norwegian seafood,” Mr Steenslid concludes.
Norway is a world-renowned pioneer when it comes to modern trout and salmon farming. Generations of experience with harvesting from the sea, has given Norwegians unique knowledge in what it takes to manage these resources in the right way and deliver fish of the highest quality.
Norway is the second largest seafood exporter in the world, and the world’s largest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon and Fjord Trout. Harvesting from the seas has always been an important part of Norwegian culture and history. In fact, fishing was a vital premise for the first Norwegians being able to settle and live along the cold, windy coastline of this northern country.
For centuries seafood has been both a basic source of food and an important trade for Norway. This has given Norwegians unsurpassed knowledge and experience in every aspect of handling these precious treasures from the sea.
About Chef Chua Kok Hua
Chef Chua started work in Singapore at 16, in the Chinese kitchen of a five-star hotel. Life was tough, but he kept going to acquire cooking skills and knowledge. His golden opportunity came when he was offered a position in the Japanese restaurant at the same hotel.
Why did he switch from Chinese to Japanese cuisine? “I grew up in a fishing village, and have a close affinity with the sea; it’s a natural choice for me. I’ve always wanted to work with fish,” says Chua.
In the Japanese kitchen, he learnt about the different varieties of fish, and their seasons. Having to master a completely different skills set requires discipline and perseverance. “It took me 4 years to perfect the art of tempura and robatayaki,” he recalls. He also had to adapt to a whole different culture in terms of hygiene as it’s about handling raw food for consumption.
In 2014 Chua got married to his wife, Lily and they were blessed with a daughter. This prompted Chua to rethink his career path. Encouraged by his wife, they moved back to Malaysia to start their own Japanese restaurant.
In 2016, Chua together with fellow chef, Edmund Chong and his wife Lily, started Two Chefs Lab in Sungai Long, Kuala Lumpur, offering fusion Japanese cuisine and coffee culture. “There were constant challenges but I’ve always been a proponent of life-long learning and this helped get us through. Now, we are looking into expanding into a second outlet in the Klang Valley.”
“My wife was my biggest supporter when my business partner Edmund convinced me to run for the qualifying competition in World Sushi Cup last November. Never in my wildest dream did I think of winning the qualifying round as all the other competitors are much more experienced and skilful than me,” said Chua.
The qualifying competition which was held in conjunction with the Global Sushi Academy, with training conducted by renowned chef, Hirotoshi Ogawa, saw 20 participants from various Japanese restaurants in Malaysia. “The training has opened my eyes to every little detail in sushi making and I can’t thank Norwegian Seafood Council enough for giving me this opportunity.”
Since then Chef Chua has been making frequent trips back to Singapore, to the restaurant he used to work for, to train under a previous World Sushi Cup competitor. He is determined to come back from Tokyo with a medal.
The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) is owned by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. The Norwegian seafood industry finances its activities through fees levied on all exports of Norwegian seafood. NSC is the approval authority for Norwegian seafood exporters. Headquartered in Tromsø, NSC has presence in major markets around the world aiming to increase the value of Norwegian seafood resources. NSC oversees the administration and use of the trademark “Seafood from Norway”, a joint value for the Norwegian seafood industry. Together with the industry, NSC aims to increase the demand for and consumption of seafood from Norway. For more information, please visit https://en.seafood.no/
“Seafood from Norway” Trademark
Seafood will always be an essential part of our diet. However, consumers today are increasingly focused on the origin of food, how it is produced and how it meets concerns regarding sustainability. Norway was built on its seafood industry, and managing its ocean resources in a sustainable manner.
The new trademark “Seafood from Norway” is addressing these matters, founded on a genuine concern for environment. This trademark is a symbol of origin and quality for all Norwegian seafood, farmed or wild caught in Norway’s cold, clear waters. Because there is no doubt about it: Origin matters.