School of Hospitality Research Seminar Series by Ms Rachel Thomas

Ms Thomas graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia in Applied Science for both her undergraduate and her Master’s degree, and decided to switch to social science for her PhD, working together with the indigenous community of Malaysia, the Orang Asli, to explore the various vegetables that sustain them in terms of nutritional value and the potential of integrating them into the urban populations diet. Her research interests revolve around nutrition and well-being, revitalization of traditional food and forgotten crops.

Ms Thomas highlighted that “The significance of wild edible plants may be traced back to antiquity and methodical study are the focus of present food movements to restore culinary traditions”. She also further added that numerous studies have been done to investigate cultural aspects of wild edible plants. However, not much has been done to study the macro and micro nutrients present in these plants.

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In her presentation, Ms Thomas mentioned that the indigenous people of Malaysia, the Orang Asli, are the crossroads of a double dependency on food. The purpose of this study is to explore the traditional knowledge and nutritional value of wild edible plants. There are 4 wild edible vegetables which were investigated and documented. In depth interviews were conducted as well as nutritional analysis to help ascertain claims and reaffirm the impact it can play. She also suggested that these wild edibles could prevent various chronic disease especially to the urban populations if they start consume more of these in their daily lives.

Sponsored by Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa, the seminar series is part of SOH’s commitment to strive for research excellence where faculty members and other academicians will be provided an excellent opportunity to exchange research expertise and ideas, which will pave the way for future research collaborations.

All university colleagues are welcome to attend the SOH Research Seminar Series, as well as staff from other universities. For details of forthcoming sessions, please contact Dr Daisy Gayathri at