Selera Malaysia for Ramadan at Tumeric

Last year when the Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas opened in Desaru Coast, I did not have the opportunity to visit this seaside destination located at Johor’s pristine beachfront… until I accepted their recent invitation to Tumeric.

At last, I'm at Anantara Desaru Coast!

Tumeric, the resort’s all-day dining, authentic Malaysian restaurant that serves local fare along with Thai, Chinese and International cuisine, was the venue for the preview of their Selera Malaysia Ramadan spread.

To prepare for the drive to Desaru Coast with the aim to arrive on time, I factored in the possibility of slow-moving heavy vehicles trundling ahead on the single lane stretches of the expressway and wisely made an early start.

After a smooth and uneventful drive on the Senai-Desaru Expressway, I arrived at the carpark, pleased to see a buggy ready to ferry our group to the resort entrance.

A dazzling panoramic view in shades of Blue!
At the threshold of the open doorway, I could see through to shades of blue in the distance. Walking in was like stepping through a portal to another world within…

The promise of a stunning view was drawing us in like a magnet.

Standing, spellbound on the terrace, we paused to savour the dazzling panoramic view of the resort pool and landscaped garden to a backdrop of the South China Sea.

Assured that we should have a better view on the ground level, we walked down the wide flight of stairs to be warmly welcomed into the Tumeric.

A whole roasted lamb takes center-stage in
the Selera Malaysia themed Ramadan buffet

Staying true to its Thai brand, the d├ęcor throughout the Anantara (at least what I saw thus far!) from the wooden furniture to the stuffed cushions, all reflected a typically Thai identity.

At Tumeric, I watched the culinary team led by Executive Sous Chef Unaver Unabia, supported by Chef Mohd Zulkifli, Chef Faidz, and Chef Ammara, the lady Thai Chef, as they put the finishing touches to the buffet that featured a whole roasted lamb.

The spread included a range of Appetizers with mixed salads and ingredients for create-your-own with local greens or ulam-ulam, Pickles and Crisps, Soups, Grilled Seafood and Satay, a hot buffet of traditional Ramadan specialties including Kawah dishes prepared in woks, traditional Bubur Lambuk rice porridge and Desserts.

The team of chefs at Tumeric [L to R]
Chef Ammara, Chef Unaver Unabia, 
Chef Mohd Zulkifli and Chef Faidz

My eyes zeroed-in on the Thai Corner, laid out with colourful fresh ingredients for freshly made Som Tom, a refreshing young papaya salad, and dishes like Neau Dad Deaw (beef), Gaeng Massaman Gai (chicken) and Tod Mun Pla (fish cakes).

Rice, a staple in the Malaysian diet, is presented in choices of Nasi Hujan Panas, long-grained Basmati rice steamed with colourful spices, and Oriental Arabic Rice to savour with fragrant slices of the roasted lamb.

The Selera Malaysia spread also features popular breaking-of-fast items like Roti John and Murtabak, freshly made from live-cooking stalls.

A range of appetizers with traditional dip sauces

Among the hot gravies to choose from, the not-to-be-missed dishes must be Ekor Masak Assam Pedas (oxtail) and Ayam Percik (chicken), both prepared in a mild degree of spiciness, suitable for everyone to enjoy.

While keeping some space for dessert, I cannot miss mouth-watering Malaysian favourites like wok-fried Chili Crabs, Fish Head Curry, Gulai Daging Salai dengan Pucuk Ubi – braised beef and cassava leaves in spicy coconut turmeric gravy – and Burung Puyuh goreng kunyit, deep-fried quail marinated in turmeric, the namesake of this restaurant.

Freshly made Som Tam

Aware that the Malaysian palate appreciates tasty drinks and sweets especially in the breaking-of-fast meal, Tumeric offers a range of local cakes, cookies and pastries as well as a chocolate fountain and fresh cut fruits.

In addition to refreshing drinks like Sugar Cane, Sour Plum and Sirap Bandung, there are also juicy dates and whole fruits to pick from so do not miss the thirst-quenching goodness of whole fresh coconut.

I enjoyed the local kuih and jellies with less guilt probably because they were made with less sugar, but their Mango Pomelo Pudding simply hit the spot and I had to pay high compliments to the chef for such a delightful taste!

The Selera Malaysia dinner buffet at Tumeric restaurant is served from April 13 to May 12 daily from 6.30pm to 10pm. Price at RM128 nett per adult and RM64 nett per child.

Yummy Mango Pomelo Pudding

Group reservations for 10 paid guests booked before April 16 will enjoy Early Bird deal with two complimentary dinners for two guests.

Early Bird purchases will receive a Lucky Draw voucher to stand a chance to win a two-night stay with breakfast for two persons OR an Anantara Signature Massage at Anantara Spa for two persons.

Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas is the Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas group’s first luxury hotel in Malaysia, designed within lush tropical gardens on the exclusive Desaru Coast in Johor.

Located at Persiaran Pantai, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, it is a smooth drive away from Johor Baru city via the Senai-Desaru Expressway.

For reservations, Tel: +607 – 8280 888 or email:

For more information on Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, visit webpage:

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