The first thing to know about Malaysians is that they are passionate about food. One of the most pleasurable experiences in Malaysia might be the cuisine. From its melting pot of civilizations, it has inherited a diverse range of cuisines. It is an undeniable fact that Malaysian food is incredibly varied and flavorful.
Malaysians usually consume a broad range of breakfast foods every day, ranging from exquisite Chinese Dim Sum to more spicy Malay cuisine. They generally consume traditional rice and Lauk for lunch (sides, proteins, veggies). Dinner is identical to lunch, or some people may eat noodles.
The food in this nation is quite diverse. Malaysian tastes are a unique blend of sweet, sour, rich, and spicy sensations unlike anything else in the world. Thai, Chinese, Indonesian, and Indian cuisines have an intense impact on Malaysian cuisine.
Traditional Foods of Malaysia
Traditional foods and meals are those that have been passed down from generation to generation. Traditional dinners and dishes, by nature, have a historical basis in staple food, regional cuisine, or street food. Malaysia’s cuisines illustrate how vibrant and complex a culinary heritage it has!
Malaysian cuisine is a fusion of cuisines from China, India, and several European nations. In Malaysia, rice is an essential food. Nasi lemak, rice cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaves to give it a rich scent, is a popular rice dish in Malaysia. Malaysians are fond of fish too, and they generally eat halal beef.
National Dish of Malaysia
Malaysians claim Nasi Lemak staple as its own. If you ask any Malaysian why they enjoy Nasi Lemak, you will get a range of answers. They believe that nothing better unites this heterogeneous nation than their cuisine.
Nasi Lemak is not only a component of their cuisine but also an indicator of their shared identity. Many people link it with the familiar tastes and scents of their youth. Others point to the combination of flavors and textures that characterizes a perfect Malaysian dish: spicy, savory, creamy, sweet, tender, and crunchy.
Malaysian cuisine is the sum of many delectable components, including Chinese, Indian, and Malay influences. Once you are in Malaysia and eating, you will quickly forget about historical worries and think about how to get to your next meal sooner.
Nasi lemak (fat rice) contains coconut rice, prawn sambal, fried anchovies, peanuts, cucumber slices, and Ayam rendang. There may be variances in the side dishes, but rice, cucumber, and peanuts are pretty much standard.
Nai Lemak is a Malay dish composed of aromatic rice, coconut milk, and pandan (screw pine) leaves. If you are a vegetarian, you do not need to fret because several places serve vegetarian Nasi lemak. These eateries use vegetarian faux anchovies instead of real anchovies.
Asam Laksa is a spicy rice noodle soup with fish broth. Fish, shredded cucumber, onions, pineapple, red chilies, common mint, lettuce, Daun kesum (Vietnamese mint), and pink Bunga Kantan are all ingredients in Asam Laksa. It is typically served with thick rice noodles and prawn paste for flavoring, though some may find the strong taste unsettling.
This cuisine is a fusion of Chinese and traditional Malay cuisines that evolved among the Peranakans, the descendants of Chinese migrants who settled in Malaysia and whose culture merged with that of the native Malays.
Rojak is a famous Javanese salad dish in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. It comes with sliced fruit and veggies and a spicy palm sugar vinaigrette. There are four types of rojak in Malaysia: Fruit Rojak, Rojak Penang, Sotong Kangkung, and Indian Rojak.
Cucumber, pineapple, jicama (or Mexican turnip), bean sprouts, and deep-fried tofu are common ingredients in Fruit Rojak. Rojak Penang is similar to fruit rojak, but it typically includes additional toppings like guava, java apple, raw mango, and squid fritters. Sotong (cuttlefish), Kangkung (water spinach), cucumbers, bean curd, peanuts, chili, and sauce make up Sotong Kangkung. It consists of cuttlefish, water spinach, cucumbers, bean curd, chili, and peanuts. The thick peanut sauce over Indian Rojak, also known as Mamak rojak or Pasembor, is sweet and spicy.
Chee Cheong Fun
Chee Cheong Fun is a rice noodle roll dish. It comes with a black-colored sweet soy sauce from Malaysia and Singapore. The Penang variant employs a prawn paste that is black and sweet yet has a toffee-like consistency.
You can eat Chee Cheong Fun in two ways- Ipoh and dry or with a lot of sauce. It comes with sesame seeds, soy sauce, fried shallots, onion oil, chili sauce, and pickled green chili in the dry version. It is served with curry and mushroom gravy in the version with lots of dressings.
Curry Mee is a tasty and unusual dish that mixes aspects of Chinese cuisine and is available in Malaysia. Thin yellow noodles or thin bee-hoon (rice vermicelli) are served with hot curry soup, coconut milk, chili paste, and a variety of dry tofu, prawns, cuttlefish, chicken, cockles, and mint leaves.
In the state of Penang, there are two varieties: a bright orange chicken curry variant and a pale, thin coconut broth. Pork items, like fried lard croutons and cubes of pig blood curd, are used in Chinese-style dishes in Malaysia.
Penang Hokkien Mee
Penang Hokkien Mee is a well-known noodle dish from China’s Fujian (Hokkien) region. There are three distinct types of Hokkien Mee- Hokkien char mee, Penangite hae mee, and Singaporean hae mee.
It is a popular meal, particularly in Penang. The soup has a flavorful, rich taste that makes people fall in love with it. It is traditionally served with a spicy prawn soup, slices of chicken or pork, squid, shrimp, fish cake, Kang Kung (water spinach), and sambal (chili paste.)
Char Kway Teow
In Malaysia, Char Kway Teow is a popular meal. On char kway teow, whole prawns, de-shelled cockles, bean sprouts, and chopped Chinese chives are stir-fried with light and dark soy sauces, chili, a little quantity of shrimp paste, whole prawns, de-shelled cockles, bean sprouts, and chopped Chinese chives (flat noodles).
Char Kway Teow is traditionally stir-fried in swine fat and served with crispy hog lard croutons. Eggs, sausage pieces, fishcakes, bean sprouts, and, in rare instances, other items are stir-fried in the meal. To enhance the scent of the noodles, Char Kway Teow is served on a banana leaf.
Satay is a grilled meat dish that is seasoned, skewered, and cooked. It comes with peanut gravy, onions, and cucumbers in Malaysia. Satay includes sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, and other meats.
Satay is typically served with another dish known as Ketupat. This diamond-shaped rice dumpling covered in palm leaves is available in food courts around Malaysia. You can consume this staple cuisine in place of plain rice with your meal.
Malaysia is truly a country blessed by the culinary Gods. This wonderful country is well-known for being a must-visit refuge for food lovers.
This light flatbread is a Malaysian street-side Mamak classic snack. Aside from the traditional type, there are numerous different versions of Roti Canai, including Roti Telur (egg bread), paper-thin and flaky Roti Tisu (tissue bread), Roti Bawang (onion bread), Roti Telur Bawang (egg and onion bread), Roti Pisang (banana bread), and Roti Planta (banana bread) (margarine bread)
A serving of roti canai is served with three dipping sauces of varying levels of spiciness. It usually comes with dhal (lentil curry) or any other sort of curry. Another common way to serve Roti Canai is with a heavy sprinkle of white sugar, ideal for individuals with a sweet tooth. In Malaysia, Roti Canai is a popular breakfast and snack meal.
As indicated by its name, this Roti is thin like a tissue. It comes in the shape of a teepee as tall as your arm. The trick is to tear it off bit by bit from the top without compromising its structural integrity.
It usually comes with thick sugar undercoating. But you can order sans sugar if you prefer a savory treat. Roti tissue, also known as Roti Tisu or Tisu Prata, is a sweet flatbread often seen in Malaysian Mamak kiosks.
Apam Balik or Ban Jian Kui (turnover pancake) is a sort of griddled pancake. The pancake batter is produced using flour, coconut milk, water, sweetener, eggs, and bicarbonate of soda. Traditional Apam Balik contents include smashed peanut granules with sugar, coconut milk, and sweetcorn kernels.
The texture of the Apam Balik varies based on the amount of batter used and the type of pan used. It ranges from a crisper version of crumpets to small thin, light pancake shells that shatter when eaten. The dinner has been classified as a heritage meal by Malaysia’s Department of National Heritage.
Lok-Lok is a Chinese steamboat in which food is impaled on a stick and plunged in boiling stock or soup until cooked. Lok-Lok contains clams, cockles, pork intestines, pork liver, sausages, fish balls, meatballs, squid balls, shrimps, vegetables, vegetarian faux meat, mushrooms, and even some cooked things like deep-fried wontons and deep-fried bean curd skins.
It is served with a spicy peanut sauce, chili, or sweet sauce to add some flavor. Lok-Lok is sold along the roadside, at food courts, and around busy intersections in Malaysian towns and cities.
Curry Laksa is a curry soup made with coconut milk. A hard-boiled egg, deep-fried tofu, beansprouts, and cockles are the general components of Curry Laksa. Congealed pork blood, a delicacy among Malaysian Chinese, is also used in Curry Mee in Penang.
On Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eat list in 2018, Kuala Lumpur Curry Laksa was awarded the world’s second-best food experience. In Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, curry laksa is made with a thick coconut sauce, deep-fried tofu, cockles, and long beans. It comes with yellow noodle “mee” or rice vermicelli “bee hoon” instead of laksa noodles.
In Malaysian culture, Maggi Goreng, or Mi Goreng, refers to fried noodles. Instead of fresh yellow noodles, it utilizes Maggi brand instant noodles. The noodles are cooked in boiling water before being stir-fried. Sometimes the noodles are stir-fried with vegetables, eggs, and other ingredients like tofu and meat.
Maggi Goreng, or Maggi Mee Goreng, is a variant of Mamak-style mee goreng. Spices, tomato sauce, potatoes, cabbage, and sweet soy sauce are the general components in Mee Goreng. As a garnish, a slice of lime is used on the side of the plate.
Western sweets, such as chocolate lava cakes and crème brûlée, are exquisite and occupy a particular place in people’s hearts. But there is no doubt that traditional Malay desserts like ice kachang and Pisang Goreng are amazing all on their own.
Pisang Goreng (fried banana) is a plantain fritter made by deep-frying battered plantain in hot oil. It is as simple as that. Golden and crisp, with a creamy richness of banana in the center. In the morning and afternoon, it is commonly enjoyed as both a snack and dessert.
It is well-liked all across Malaysia. In Malaysia, street sellers sell Pisang Goreng, but it is also available in stores and restaurants. Pisang Goreng wrecked many meals and diets.
Ais Kacang is a dessert that appears like a mountain of colorful shaved ice. The color originates from the sugar syrup, which is generally bright pink or blurred for added interest. Jelly, corn, and red beans at the bottom of the mountain assist in balancing out the sweetness of the syrup and give the dish a bite.
Traditionally, an ice shaving machine was formerly hand-cranked but is now more commonly motorized, is used to churn out the shaved ice used in the dessert. This dessert is available in many Southeast Asian coffee shops, hawker centers, and food courts. Ais Kacang is one of Malaysia’s most distinctive dishes.
Cendol is a delicious ice cream dish. It is popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and Myanmar, among other Southeast Asian countries.
It consists of a lot of coconut milk and palm sugar syrup. Cendol usually comes with green rice jelly on the top. Green rice flour jelly, coconut milk, and palm sugar syrup are also present. Other toppings, such as chopped jackfruit, sweetened red azuki beans, or durian, can be placed on top of the green jelly.
The Malaysian name for thick palm sugar syrup is Gula Melaka (Malaccan sugar). It has a toffee-like texture that is available in a variety of Malaysian sweets. Whether it is Gula Melaka cream cake or Gula Melaka creme caramel, these sweets are worth trying for their unique flavor.
Gula Melaka is a sweetener made from the sap of palm trees. While the contents of sugars from various palms may range somewhat, they are all prepared in the same way, and you can use them interchangeably.
Bubur Cha Cha
Bubur Cha Cha is a Malay dessert that contains pandan leaves, coconut milk, sago, bananas, and black-eyed peas. Pandan leaves of Bubur Cha Cha give a pleasant mild scent. Tubers give it its traditional color and texture. Sago thickens it, and coconut milk adds smoothness.
Bubur Cha Cha can be served hot or cold, and people admire it throughout the summer. This delicacy is occasionally eaten for breakfast, and it is frequently marketed as street food in the state of Penang.
Sago Gula Melaka
Sago Gula Melaka is a pudding dish prepared from starch derived from the pith of different palm stems(Sago) and Gula Melaka. This pudding is a popular Malaysian dessert, and they serve it soon after it is chilled.
Sago, palm sugar, coconut milk, and pandan leaves are the only four components in traditional Sago Gula Melaka. The sago pearls need to cook until transparent, and then the palm sugar melts separately. Lastly, along with the pandan leaves, a sprinkle of salt is added to improve the aroma and flavor of coconut milk.
Malaysian cuisine is outstanding, so be prepared to taste delectable flavors wherever you go. It is a very intriguing nation, so while deciding what to eat in Malaysia, remember that there are delicacies that will transport you directly to paradise.