It’s that time of year again when Balik Kampung jingles fill the air alongside the smell of delicious food as the sun sets in the distance while celebrating families Buka Puasa with their loved ones around the dinner table. Raya is a time of peace, tranquillity, family, harmony and boy is it approaching quickly this year!
This time round, we managed to get a round-table with our favourite local shoe brand, Machino and their talents as we reminisced the essence of Raya, and what it means to each individual. Let’s deep dive into what everyone had to say and I bet you that by the end of this read, you’ll truly be feeling the Raya vibes.
What’s Raya without Rumah Terbuka (open house), right? Machino model Norie Faizal mentioned that her family goes all out when it comes to hosting open houses - and her celebrations typically last for 3 whole days to cater to many different crowds! How fun! According to Norie, her mom loves party-planning and is extremely meticulous when it comes to planning her open houses - right down to ensuring the tissues in her toilet are perfectly themed with the rest of the party. “It can be chaotic”, she mentions with a glimmer of excitement in her eye as she recounts the fun moments.
Allyna Wong, Machino model, loves going to open houses too! She said that one of her most memorable open houses was the spontaneous outing she once had with her secondary school friends during Raya where the bunch of them would just walk along the street they lived in and go house-visiting - truly embracing the open house culture and tradition that is practised during Raya. Allyna also said that her Indian neighbour will typically give her family some truly authentic, home-cooked Rendang every year during Raya. Last year, the two families celebrated Raya together in the midst of the pandemic, given that open houses were still not permitted at the time. Allyna brought over vegan Mushroom Rendang to her neighbour’s and they all had a blast catching up over fun Raya tunes. Talk about the Malaysian spirit!
Machino model Lakshmi truly embraces the open house culture too, and it’s actually her favourite thing about Raya! She believes that having an open house is the most unique form of celebration that she’s ever encountered or experienced, and that the idea of welcoming anyone into your home for good food, drinks and a hearty conversation is simply magical. Lakshmi strongly believes that this practice must be preserved for many Raya celebrations to come, despite the minor bumps we’ve experienced when dealing with the pandemic.
Although she lived in the UK for a decade, model Nur Yasmin said that she’s never failed to celebrate Raya and host open-houses with the tight-knit Malaysian community that lived nearby her in the UK. They would all dress-up in stunning Baju Raya, make yummy home-cooked meals reminiscent of the food in Malaysia and keep each other company while basking in the glorious celebration.
When you think Raya, you think - good food! With Ramadan coming up in less than a week and Ramadan Bazaar vendors preparing for the anticipated buzz of eager customers waiting to get their hands on some Muslim delicacies, Yasmin tells us that she looks forward to visiting these Bazaars every year! When Yasmin’s at the Bazaar, the first thing she looks out for is Kuih Cara - an adorable turtle-shaped green kuih that oozes warm melted sugar when bitten and has a lovely subtle pandan flavour to finish it off. Yasmin also mentions that her nenek (grandma), makes a huge batch of Rendang every year that typically takes almost a week of eating it non-stop for it to finish! A pot full of well-marinated meat doused in heavily-spiced, thick gravy that pairs beautifully with the charred coconut flavours of lemang and the sticky ketupat rice is how Yasmin remembers her incredible Raya meals to be.
On the subject of food, Norie reminisced about her late grandma’s homemade assam laksa that she describes as “the best asam laksa ever”. She recalls the time she helped to prepare ingredients for this famous family dish of hers during Raya, from picking out vegetables in her grandma’s garden to performing all the nitty-gritty kitchen work - chopping, peeling and slicing the many elements that make a good asam laksa .It’s truly a memory she will treasure for years to come.
Even on their vegetarian diets, both Allyna and Lakshmi have favourite Raya delicacies that they look forward to every year - especially all the kuih-muih including the doughnut-like sweet potato kuih dubbed Kuih Keria and Kuih Pulut Wajik, a sticky-rice based kuih that is made with aromatic palm sugar and warm coconut milk. Everyone had a lot to say about their favourite kuih, and also had differing opinions on which were the best ones! All in all, one thing’s for sure - kuih-muih truly unites Malaysians and everyone loves having them.
Speaking of the universal love everyone has for kuih-muih, guess what? Machino’s 2022 Raya collection is inspired by this sweet goodness too! “Hari Raya, the festival of breaking fast, is about celebrating all moments in life”, mentions Machino founders and sisters Amy Tai and Esther Tai. Given the plethora of flavours, colours, textures and layers that make up the different variations of kuih Raya we have, the duo believes that kuih-muih is the perfect basis for their latest shoe collection in conjunction with Raya to capture the many creative and colourful personalities of Malaysians during this festive season. The entire kuih concept is heavily inspired by their mother’s love for these little treats and how they symbolise unity and togetherness around the dinner table at Raya.
So, as the fasting month approaches, and you start eyeing all the cute outfits and accessories to wear during Raya, be sure to keep local brands like Machino in mind to complete your look. Take a pick from the various styles of shoes offered; from covered flats to strappy heels, all inspired by your favourite kuih, these shoes are made to withstand the chaos and fun that is sure to ensure during Raya! Not only are you guaranteed comfort with Machino, but you’ll also be walking around looking as good as a snack - literally!