The cuisine, diversity and awe-inspiring views are some of Amber Chia’s favorite things about her home country of Malaysia. And, of course, the people too.
“Malaysians welcome you,” said the 35-year-old actress, model and entrepreneur about her fellow citizens.
Since 2004, Ms. Chia has graced more than 200 magazine covers and walked the catwalk all over the world. In 2010, she founded Amber Chia Academy, a modeling and beauty school, and has appeared as a guest judge on “Asia’s Next Top Model.” She continues to be a brand ambassador for the fashion brand Max-Tino.
The daughter of a fisherman and a homemaker, Ms. Chia grew up on the water in Sabah, on the northern tip of Borneo. Her modeling career took her to the capital, Kuala Lumpur, where she now lives with her family. And although her job brings her to some of the fanciest restaurants in town, her favorite places to unwind are still the street food stalls along Old Klang Road, she said.
From beaches to fish markets, Ms. Chia shares some of her favorite things about the Asian country in this edited interview.
The Essence of Malaysia:
“Malaysia is a very unique and diverse country. The phrase ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ captures and defines the essence, whereby it is multi-ethnic and multicultural. Every city has its own unique culture and history. Penang is well-known for its great local food; Melaka is rich with its historical landmarks from its colonial days of Portuguese and Dutch occupation. One has to be here to experience for him or herself to truly understand it.”
Her favorite things:
“Definitely the food here—such as nasi lemak [a spicy coconut rice served with many garnishes], char kuey teow [stirfried flat rice noodles] and roti canai [a flatbread]. These are from different cultures and ethnic groups, and they are really quite authentic and delicious. I would say food unites people here to a certain extent.”“
"The place that I grew up in, Sabah. With its famous beautiful islands, it really is heaven on earth. Most people know about the beautiful [island of] Pulau Sipadan or Semporna [a coastal region], but there are others that are equally beautiful as well for their breathtaking beaches and shallow coral reefs, such as Pulau Mabul and Pulau Kapalai. And there are so many tropical rainforest resorts in Sabah, with the most popular ones in the Danum Valley.
Her ideal day:
"My mum and I would go to the market to help out my dad with his fish business, chit-chatting and hanging out with friends who work there. In the evening we would go for dinner together and just relax and have a good time accompanying each other.”
“We still keep and practice our native culture, whilst respecting others and living harmoniously together. For example, tourists would be surprised that the Chinese population in Malaysia speaks Mandarin, English, Malay and other Chinese dialects as well. You can’t really find and experience this elsewhere.”
— Mansion Global (@MansionGlobal) May 18, 2017
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