3 Dishes You Can Expect to See on By The Sea With Ili

Chef, entrepreneur and bubbly TV personality Ili Sulaiman travels the coastal cities of Asia for her new series, By The Sea With Ili. Here, some dishes she ‘reeled in’ for us at her show’s press luncheon!


Ili Sulaiman stars in her new show By The Sea with Ili

Ever since she was a young girl, Ili Sulaiman has always loved home-cooked food. Coming from a multi-ethnic background (her dad is of Sri Lankan Tamil and Malay heritage whereas her mum is of Chinese and English), Ili has always been open to new flavours and tastes. In the premiering six episodes of By The Sea With Ili, the Food Hero 2015 winner expands her palate as she travels to beautiful beach locations in Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand. Here’s a sample of what she discovered:

1. Seared tuna with pickled vegetables rice bowl

Inspired by: Perhentian, Malaysiasearedtuna1

Ili’s favourite healthy meal option? Cubed seared tuna with pickled carrots, red onions, cucumber, chives, spring onions, chilli and fried shallots, all packed in a rice bowl and inspired by the recent Hawaiian poke bowl trend. Ili uses the ikan tongkol variety of tuna found in our waters.

2. Grilled squid with garlic chilli oil

Inspired by: Phuket, Thailand


This simple dish packs a punch with flavours of garlic, salt, pepper and cili padi. Ili tells us that the trick to making super-delicious food is all down to the quality of the ingredients. High quality extra virgin olive oil is used as dressing, mixed with vegetables. Russet potatoes (boiled or mashed) make a great addition to the platter too.

3. Crispy noodles and prawn stir-fry

Inspired by: Hoi An and Cham Islands, Vietnam


Similar to Chinese chow mien (pan-fried crispy noodles), this Vietnamese noodle dish is inspired by Ili’s experiences in the premiere episode, set in Hoi An City and Cham Islands. Central Vietnam favours spice in its cuisines, and you’ll be able to taste that in Ili’s recipe. The crisp noodles go well with the tangy sauce and fresh prawns.

Already hungry? So are we! For more recipes, catch Ili on By The Sea With Ili, premiering on the Asian Food Channel (Astro Channel 703) at 10pm, 10th November!

Get the scoop! We sat down with Ili for a quick chat about herself and her show, and here’s what we found out: 

Ili is co-founder of Agak Agak, a “modern Malaysian” (Chinese, Malay and Indian cuisine) restaurant and cooking school aimed at those living in marginalised communities who would like to become chefs but have little means otherwise of doing so. She also owns a food delivery service, DISH by Ili.

Her favourite childhood dish is pengat pisang (banana in sweetened coconut milk). She suggests adding jelly, coconut ice cream and sago as well as caramelising the banana with gula Melaka to make the traditional dessert even better!

Ili’s first post-grad job was at Mossiman’s London, a private fine-dining establishment and catering service. They were the caterers for Prince William and Duchess Catherine’s wedding!

If she’s able to film more episodes for the show, she hopes to travel to Borneo, the Philippines, Indonesia and especially Papua New Guinea, as well as other places in Malaysia like Kelantan, Langkawi and Penang.

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