Diabetic Friendly Local Recipes @ Columbia Asia Master Chef Challenge 2015

Diabetic Friendly Local Recipes @ Columbia Asia Master Chef Challenge 2015
17 Nov

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It is no secret that Malaysians live to eat more than they eat to live. Self-reward and indulgence would not be complete if food wasn’t in the equation. As such, we’re known to travel across great distances in pursuit of a bowl of authentic Penang asam laksa or a plate of east coast nasi dagang.

With this apparent obsession with our food, it is not surprising that Malaysians are amongst the most obese in the South East Asia region according to National Health and Morbidity Survey 2014 (NHMS). People often overindulge in the myriad of sumptuous but unhealthy local fare. It goes without saying that for many of us, giving in to temptation is a friendly foe that takes precedence over health.

On the other hand, healthy food has not enjoyed much favourable reputation where taste is concerned. It is viewed as too bland or too expensive to prepare.

“Throughout the course of advocating diabetes awareness for the past years, we realised that it is a mission impossible for Malaysians to barter-trade their favourite delights for health. The good news now is that they don’t really have to part with delicious food because there are ways to enjoy food in a health-promoting manner,” said Columbia Asia-South East Asia CEO, Kelvin Tan.


Committed to educating the community on the best way to eat healthy, nine chefs from across Columbia Asia’s facilities nationwide faced-off in the Columbia Asia Master Chef Challenge 2015. They worked closely with the in-house dietitian to reinterpret Malaysian favourites and recipes so that the output is a diabetic-safe meal plan without compromising taste.

“In the business of providing healthcare to diabetic patients, we are only too familiar with the challenges of living with diabetes and we always wanted to make diabetes less medical and less of a black-cloud diagnosis.”

“Therefore, in line with our campaign focus on healthy eating for World Diabetes Day 2015, we decided that the best place to start was from within our own kitchens. We want to show the public that it is easy to prepare a wholesome meal and it is possible for it to taste delicious,” Tan added.

The recipes that the nine chefs experimented and came up with range from nasi lemak to the ever crunchy apam balik.

“As our chefs prove with their creativity, healthy eating is not limited to vegetarian and gluten-free options. Many of our current dishes can be healthier simply by making serving adjustment as well as replacing the sweetened and rich ingredients, with more fibrous and less sweet alternatives,” said Columbia Asia dietician, Kong Woan Fei.

“It’s okay to eat your favourite nasi lemak or char kuey teow once in a while. The key is not to make deprivation as your mantra but rather, moderation and substitution. We as Malaysians need to learn to eat more balanced meals by opting for healthier alternatives,” Kong added.

At the end of the challenge, Chef Fauziah Pakwan Chik from Columbia Asia Setapak was crowned the champion by the judges for her stir fried brown rice ala kerabu with chicken roll and percik sauce while Chef Ravindran a/l Mathavan from Columbia Asia Seremban was declared the media’s favourite with his version of the ever loved nasi lemak.


In celebration of World Diabetes Day on 14th November, Columbia Asia opened its doors to all Malaysians who love to sample delicious yet healthy dishes. On top of that, they also get a chance to try appetising diabetic-friendly dishes. The chefs also held a cooking demonstration at their respective facilities.

Diabetics and in-house patients will get the chance to savour the meals for free while visitors can taste a diabetic-friendly dish or choose from 10 additional healthy meals for RM4. Proceeds from the meals will be donated to Diabetes Malaysia.

Recipes from the Columbia Asia Master Chef Challenge 2015 and other healthy recipes have also been compiled into a booklet. This recipe booklet is available for free on 14th November at participating hospitals. The participating Columbia Asia hospitals are Bukit Rimau, Cheras, Nusajaya, Petaling Jaya, Puchong, Seremban, Setapak, Shah Alam and Taiping.


Columbia Asia has always been championing the cause for diabetes awareness through its CSR efforts. Besides the cook-off, this year’s campaign also focuses on giving voice to the children with diabetes through Columbia Asia’s short story and poetry competition.

Diabetic kids under 12-years old are encouraged to express themselves in writing, sharing what it is like to live with diabetes. The theme of this competition is ‘My Life as a Diabetic Child.’ Cash prizes valued at a total of RM19,000 will be awarded to the winners.

To find out more about Columbia Asia and its diabetes campaign, please visit its website at or its Facebook page at

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    November 23, 2015 at 7:26 am

    actually it is overindulgence got them into this predicament in the first place. Moderation is nice

    Nuraini tripovo

    November 23, 2015 at 7:26 am

    This is such a god awareness campaign by making it fun using food. I wonder how that’ll taste though. It’s true that healthy food always come with it’s non delicious taste. At least it does for me. hehe

    Sunshine Kelly

    November 22, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Actually there are a lot of healthy food that taste delicious also. We can always learn and change our eating habit towards a healthy lifestyle.

    Isaac Tan

    November 22, 2015 at 7:26 am

    here’s to a good cause! thanks for sharing leng lui!


    November 22, 2015 at 7:26 am

    amazing campaign to bring awareness. Plus some of my friends been trying out their food during the weekend and it looks so good!


    November 22, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Wow! This is very interesting campaign to bring up the awareness.


    November 21, 2015 at 7:26 am

    What a great awareness campaign with a dash of fun. The food looks appetizing too, even though healthy.

    Miera Nadhirah

    November 21, 2015 at 7:26 am

    the food is seriously good… far better then I expected… I got the opportunity to try all of them….

    Mike Yip

    November 21, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Pork, sure fire way to ensure everything is healthy… just have pork. 🙂


    November 21, 2015 at 7:26 am

    such a nice event! And it’s good for diabetes patients too – more food choices so they no need to suffer.


    November 20, 2015 at 7:26 am

    yeah important to take care of health and food we eat.
    my parents are both diabetes.

    Renae Teo

    November 20, 2015 at 7:26 am

    RM 4 for a meal and the all the proceeds go to charity? Yay support! Awesome job there!


    November 20, 2015 at 7:26 am

    So happy they are educating people via food. I will drop-by this Sunday. 🙂


    November 20, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Good that they have such thoughts . I am really disappointed with my parent when I found out they don’t really care about their diet at all when they are both diabetics. ”’sigh”


    November 20, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Food looks good. Great to create awareness on diabetes.


    November 20, 2015 at 7:26 am

    We need to eat healthy. A healthy lifestyle is very important to all of us. great write up and thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Trislynn Chan

    November 20, 2015 at 7:26 am

    I’m kind of worry about diabetes also! Eat more excercise mroe!

    Syafiera yamin

    November 20, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Waaa dah ada gdm solver tak perlu risau dah

    Kylie cre8tone

    November 20, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Eating healthy is the key important things when choosing the correct food.. Prevention is always better than cure.. Great awareness!

    Norwegian Entrepreneur

    November 18, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Yes, it is a global problem with all the food we are eating. Great blog you have and keep up the good work.

    Wilson Ng

    November 17, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Diabetic is real. It is long and painful and what a good event for the awareness

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