Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has expressed his appreciation to Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah for sending her special sambal belacan (shrimp paste sauce) to his family throughout these years.
"Thank you for your warmth and kindness, sending my father (and me) your special sambal belacan all these years!" Lee tweeted.
"I hope you enjoy making it as much as we enjoy eating it!," said Lee, ending his post with a smiley emoticon.
Unknown to many, ‘belacan diplomacy’ has been instrumental in a way in strengthening the ties between Malaysia and Singapore.
This matter came to light when Tunku Azizah on Oct 25 shared the secret of how her homemade sambal belacan was a hit with the late Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.
In a tweet, Tunku Azizah, better known as cheminahsayang on the Twitter social media platform, disclosed that she was, at one time, the “official supplier” of sambal belacan to Kuan Yew.
In fact, she still supplies sambal belacan to the republic. The sauce is now enjoyed by Kuan Yew’s son and current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
“I had long wanted to share this (secret) with Malaysians. I was once the official sambal belacan supplier to the Prime Minister of Singapore ... Datuk Lee Kuan Yew ... and now supply to his son, PM Lee,” Her Majesty had posted.
Tunku Azizah had also shared a photograph of a letter written by Kuan Yew on the matter on her Instagram account airtangan_tunkuazizah.
The letter, dated July 23, 2009, read: “The six packets of (sambal) belacan you gave me were delicious. I shared them with my two sons. They have all been consumed. It is the best chilli belacan we have tasted. Can my family have a few more?
“Sorry to trouble you over this. It makes so many dishes taste better.”
Tunku Azizah, who had uploaded the picture on May 2, 2018, said the letter was most meaningful to her.
“… all because of sambal belacan … I was deeply touched,” Her Majesty said.
The airtangan_tunkuzaizah Instagram account holds a collection of the recipes of Her Majesty, reflecting her popularity as a member of the royalty who loves cooking.