Martin Yan is a big supporter of palm oil

This is written by my colleague Amir Hisyam Rasid.

KUALA LUMPUR: MARTIN Yan, a Chinese-born Hong Kong-American chef and food writer, is known around the world for his cooking shows and cookbooks. 

This year, he made another TV appearance with his latest cooking show, “Martin Yan: Taste of Malaysia”, which premiered on ntv7 and 8TV stations last month. 

The show focuses on Malaysia and its food, prepared mostly with palm oil. Besides Malaysia, the programme is also slotted for broadcast in the United States and China next year. 

Yan has been a great fan of palm oil. “Palm oil is trans-fat free and cholesterol-free. The oil, which is a great source of vitamin E, can also be used in medication and beauty products besides cooking,” he said. 

He added that Malaysian palm oil is GMO-free. On this aspect, he compared Malaysian palm oil with corn, milk and other protein products. 

Many experts are questioning the use of GMO in food. “Other benefits of palm oil include the fact that it has antioxidant vitamin E tocotrienols and carotenoids, as well as an excellent source of energy,” said Yan. 

For any good chef, top quality ingredients are always the main priority and the single most important factor in making good food, said the award-winning Yan. 

“You need the right oil to make good food. Also, look at the vibrant colour of palm oil. When you stir fry, the oil adds flavour and colour to your food,” he told Business Times. 

“Not just that, palm oil makes an excellent cooking oil for baking, sautéing, dips and medium heat frying,” Yan added. 

In the 'Taste of Malaysia' series, Yan cooks with Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah and several celebrity chefs using palm oil. “It is a misconception that palm oil contributes to deforestation. This actually has something to do with politics and competition,” he said.    

“I believe there are a lot of people from all around the world who use palm oil for its nutritional benefits and delicious taste,” said Yan, adding that China and India are examples of major users of palm oil in the Asia region. 

There are many ways to learn about the goodness of Malaysia’s palm oil. Netizens can learn more from www.thepalmoil.org/quickpalm and win prizes such as tablets and smartphones.

According to the website, Malaysia is the world’s second biggest producer of sustainable palm oil.

Last year, at 19.5 million tonnes, Malaysia also generated 33 per cent of the world’s palm oil production.

The high oil yield from mature oil palm tree averaging close to 4 tonnes per hectare annually means the crop requires the least hectarage of land compared to other vegetable oil crops such as soya, rapeseed or sunflower, to meet the increasing global demand for oils and fats.

Oil palm takes up only 6 per cent of the world's agricultural land devoted to 10 major vegetable oil crops but it accounts for 38 per cent of global vegetable oil production of 135 million tonnes a year.