KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s queen has cooked up the perfect recipe to spice up soured relations with Singapore – by making a popular dish for its premier.
Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah has taken bilateral ties with the island city state to a tasty new level by cooking sambal (spicy Malaysian chili sauce) for its Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The food exchange is part of a long-standing tradition between the two countries and has been trending on social media after the queen shared a Twitter message about it on Friday.
“Thank you for your warmth and kindness, sending my father (and me) your special sambal belacan all these years! I hope you enjoy making it as much as we enjoy eating it!” Lee tweeted in response on Tuesday.
The custom dates back almost a decade when sambal was cooked for Lee’s father and former premier, Lee Kuan Yew.
Sambal belacan is a popular southeast Asian mix of chili and shrimp paste. It is widely used in Asian cooking and is a favorite condiment with rice dishes.
“Through the years … Lee Kuan Yew and I had a sambal belacan friendship,” tweeted the queen, wife of Malaysia’s current head of state.
She added that a minister from Singapore had informed her that her sambal condiments were a hit among Singaporean leaders.
“My sambal would be served at lunch after their weekly Cabinet meeting ... the way to a man’s heart is through the stomach,” she added in her tweet.
Located along the southern part of the Malaysian peninsular and separated by a narrow strait, Singapore shares similar history, language and culture with Malaysia, despite the political “sibling rivalry” between the two nations.
The Malaysian royal’s sambal tweets have come as a welcome diplomatic gesture to help calm ongoing tensions between the countries.
The queen also revealed that her famous sambal belacan had become a staple gift to other countries.
Since taking over the throne as queen last year, she has enjoyed massive popularity and is a beloved figurehead among Malaysians.
Malaysia has a constitutional monarchy and every five years a king is selected from the nine kings representing different states, through a unique rotational system.
Unlike most royal queens who prefer to remain discreet on social media, she has been active and vocal on Twitter under the handle @cheminahsayang, sharing posts from current issues to personal stories with a touch of humor.
“Sambal condiments as relationship sweetener? I am also a belacan supplier to Brunei and other states and countries,” tweeted the queen. “My cooks referred to me as a global sambal producer. The king has used the sambal belacan as gifts (for global leaders) whenever he goes overseas attending meetings.”