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Ethan H.

Australia > > > with Nazlina, Malaysia

It all started when...

I've always wanted to travel and learn at the same time and it gave me the perfect opportunity to do so. The one-on-one teaching (for the majority of the time) allowed me to tailor the class to creating dishes that I was keen to cook, and gave me insights into a craft I would have no idea how I'd access at otherwise. 

Nazlina's vast knowledge and expertise meant that I had almost no question left unanswered. The experience was as historical as it was insightful as a learning experience- Nazlina is a true local and her historical understanding of her hometown meant that it felt like I was wondering the streets with a tour guide, a friend and a teacher. Nazlina has an exceptional understanding of botany, history, science and food theory just as much as she has a natural and creative flair for cooking and adapting ingredients to cook for different tastebuds. Wandering the streets we would often encounter a seemingly extraneous bush, tree, or plant in the market and Naz had this uncanny ability to give a historical background and nutritional explanation of a lot of these unsuspecting plants. We were passing by a police station where she pointed at a seemingly wild tree that was overgrowing onto the footpath called neem- before giving me a complete botanical and therapeutic rundown of the plant's importance to indian households. 

Her partner Peter was also full of stories and with exceptional knowledge of Penang island and its vast indigenous flora and fauna. I never felt there was a lull in conversation when roaming the streets as my eyes widened to seeing every plant, street food dish, and hawker to contain some sort of local significance. Read the full story here. 

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