ACTOR, emcee and popular intrepid host of Jalan Jalan Cari Makan, Nazrudin Habibur Rahman, has taken viewers on a food journey across all corners of Malaysia to showcase the best of our local culinary scene for eight seasons.
This year Jalan Jalan Cari Makan will only feature one season, as opposed to the usual two or three seasons produced in a year. The most recent episodes were shot three months ago, and only featured eateries in Selangor and Nilai.
According to Nazrudin, the current situation with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has affected the production schedule, which will resume next year.
When I met Nazrudin during a press conference, he looked slim and dapper in a beige suit. It was hard o believe that he makes a living eating lots of good food on camera.
He admitted that he really did tuck in with gusto when he first started on the show.
“In the beginning, it was like that. As the show developed, my producer kept warning me I was going to get fat. The show isn’t about living a lifestyle of decadence, it is about supporting the local industry. It is not about how much you can eat. It is about quality not quantity.
“Shots of me shoving food into my mouth may be satisfying for audiences, but I decided to cut down on that. So what you will see in one clip is me tasting one dish, and then putting it aside to taste another dish.
“It is to showcase the fact that I don’t guzzle everything down.”
Considering the show has many sponsors that promote good health, having an overweight host may not be a good thing.
He said he really watches what he eats off camera, and essentially does not consume sugar unless on very social occasions when he indulges his wife.
That joy when he eats on camera is real, by the way.
He is happy that many of the restaurants he featured in the show are still surviving to this day.
“The secret to their longevity is quality. It really is.”
When asked if he plans to write a behind-the-scenes book detailing his food journey, Nazrudin said: “For sure. Before this I had planned to come out with a memoir or something like that.
“I will be compiling all my adventures after my contract with the show expires.”
Outside of his work, Nazrudin has dealt with a back injury for a long time. He recently underwent surgery. The injury was due to a fall years ago and recently it flared up. He said the type of problem he faced is similar to those who sit hunched in front of a computer.
“It is taking some time. The body doesn’t recover as fast when you are in your 40s. My left hand is still a little weak, but overall there is no pain. No pain is good. Strengthening the arm will take a bit of time.”
Right now things have quietened down career-wise. He has not taken on any new acting offers lately, preferring to concentrate on his emcee and hosting jobs, as well as his cafe called Blokke where families can sit together, enjoy good food and interact over Lego sets that they can rent and play together on the premises.
Watching families dining at restaurants with each member glued to their own mobile device did not sit well with Nazrudin, who is big on family time.
Before the pandemic he balanced various careers, but admits it wasn’t easy.
“In a way, the pandemic was good for me. It made me rethink my priorities in life. I really got to spend more time with my family, and I really got to know my children.
“Parenting is not easy and hopefully with this I will get to be a better parent for my children. In terms of trying to balance it all, my wife is the most understanding woman.
“She put aside many of the things she wanted to do to take care of the family full time.”