Every September, when the leaves turn brown and there’s a chill in the air, my whole family head to Hertford for the Malaysia Merdeka Carnival, hosted by the Malaysian High Commission. Malaysian expats all over the UK come here for the day to well, mainly to eat! The Merdeka carnival held on the stunning Brickendonbury estate is a goldmine of Malaysian food. You’ll find things here you won’t find in restaurants plus a good smattering of mom and pop stalls with homemade goodies. For me, Autumn well and truly kicks off on this day.
It’s a big annual event for my family, and is marked in our diaries for months beforehand. It’s a day of family and food, for cosy jumpers, and mugs of hot sweet tea.
The kids have been coming along since they were babies- in fact, my sister brought along a newborn Willa when she was 5 days old. That’s a record, surely.
We set up tents (handy to ward off the chill) throw down picnic blankets and chairs, and then split up to queue at different food stalls. There’s always crispy roti canai, smoky kuey teow noodles, and pots of sticky chicken satay drenched in peanut sauce.
It was switched up a little bit this year. This year there was a bigger focus on live bands. Some traditional songs were played, that had everyone and their Auntie bopping around.
There was a Veterans Parade as well, that I missed. Probably a good thing really, I’d be bawling my eyes out (there was a Chelsea pensioner slow dancing with his wife and I was ready to throw myself onto the ground and wail).
There’s always a raffle. My parents buy dozens of tickets and everyone gets really into it, hoping to be the one to win the grand prize (flights to Malaysia) One year, my sister won an iron…I feel this is a good karmic step towards the grand prize one day, you know? 😉
Another year, another carnival done and dusted!
I think I’m ready now for the change in season, for the chillier weather and saying goodbye to Summer. How could I not when Brickendonbury makes Autumn look all sorts of beautiful?
The festivities may be finished in Hertford, but this Saturday 24th, Trafalgar Square will be awash with all things Malaysia as the celebrations continue in the city. Expect a ton of food and music (and get the teh tarik. Hyyge in a cup!)