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- Nasi Lemak. Nasi Lemak is considered to be Malaysia’s national dish and is one of the most popular dishes to eat in the country. The most common version of Nasi Lemak is rice cooked in coconut milk topped with spicy sambal/chili sauce, served with a boiled egg and wrapped in banana leaves.
- Hokkien Mee. One of the dishes that are inspired by the Chinese cuisine is Hokkien Mee. This dish consists of fried noodles in various flavors. There are different versions of this dish, such as Hokkien Mee Hae (shrimp noodles), and my personal favorite called Hokkien Char Mee (fried noodles in dark soy sauce).
- Nasi Goreng. Nasi Goreng is one of the most classic dishes to eat in Malaysia. It’s made of fried rice with vegetables, garlic, and soy sauce. It’s a simple but delicious dish.
- Apam Balik. Apam Balik is a snack that originally comes from Sri Lanka, but is just as popular in Malaysia. It’s sold at almost every street market around of the country.
- Rice Dishes
- Meat Dishes
- Nyonya Cuisine
1. Nasi Lemak
If you only have one opportunity to try Malaysian traditional food, it should be nasi lemak. This is rice boiled in coconut milk, served with a hardboiled egg, slices of cucumbers and fried anchovies and peanuts on the side. The cherry on top is the sambal– a chilly paste (usually sweetish) with shrimp paste as one of the main ingredients. This classic traditional Malay dishis not difficult to find as there is virtually a nasi lemak stall at every corner of the country. It is mostly eaten for...
3. Nasi Kandar
Nasi kandar originally hails from Penang. Today however,nasi kandar restaurants are widespread in both East and West Malaysia and enjoyed by all races. The dish is actually a plate of rice where you can choose your sides from a row of prepared dishes. These consist of meat and vegetable curries. Popular dishes include spicy fried chicken. And many locals choose to cover their rice in different curry flavors as they select their dishes.
Lemang is not only found in Malaysia, but in Indonesia and Singapore as well. In Malaysia, lemang is a traditional Malaysian food that is present during important Malay festivals like Hari Raya, as well as Hari Gawai. However, lemang can be found at certain times of the year(i.e., before Malay festivals) and it is not uncommon to see makeshift roadside stalls with the bamboo sticks proudly displayed while the cooking is in progress. To make lemang, individual ingredients are gradually added i...
There is no shortage of traditional snacks to try in Malaysia. Some are less common than others while a few can be seen sold on the roadsides.
Cendol may be the name of this quintessential Malaysian shaved ice dessertbut it is actually the name of the strange looking green jellies in the dessert. Cendol (made from rice flour/ green bean flour/ tapioca flour or agar agar, icing sugar and pandan) and kidney beans are the default toppings. However, there are different flavors of cendol available at the same street/ roadside stall: 1. Cendol pulut – with black glutinous rice 2. Cendol durian – usually seasonal 3. Cendol jagung – with cr...
15. ABC Ais Kacang
Aside from cendol, ais kacang is another popular shaved ice dessertthat makes the tropical climate more forgiving. ABC ais kacangmeans it will come with all toppings – these are an assortment of jellies including cincau and cendol jelly, peanuts, creamed corn, red beans, etc. The dessert is complete with a splash of condensed milk and palm sugar. Most large hawker centers will have ais kacang either from their main drinks counter or designated drinks and desserts stall. Other honorable mentio...
16. Ayam Percik
A marinade of assorted spices, coconut milk, chili, galangal, cumin, tamarind, and lemongrass transform this sweet and spicy grilled chicken dishinto an explosion of savory flavors. The dish originates from the Malaysian state of Kelantan. And the conventional cooking method requires grilling the chicken over a charcoal fire. This dish will be found in Malay restaurants and local cafeterias throughout Malaysia, as well as some nasi kandar eateries. It goes with plain white rice although some...
17. Bak Kut Teh
Pork features heavily in bak kut teh – a herbal stew of Hokkien/ Fujian originwith a very distinct taste. The name of the dish translates to pork rib tea. There arebak kut teh restaurants that specifically only sell this dish. Butbak kut teh stalls are commonplace in hawker centers too. The Klang region of West Malaysia is particularly well known for bak kut teh. Again, there is a soup and dry versionfor this traditional Malaysian food. Either way, both are better with a serving of rice and o...
18. Ikan Bakar
Ikan Bakar translates to grilled fish (or burned fish to be precise) although this is an umbrella term for many other seafood like squid and stingray. Mackerel or grouperis the preferred choice for fish. Depending on what the seafood is, it may first be wrapped in banana leaf before grilling commences. The marinade is chili sauce with lemongrass, belacan (shrimp paste), garlic, galangal, ginger, turmeric, shallots, etc. Expect Ikan Bakar to be served together with limes and sambal. Rice is op...
20. Nyonya Kuih
Nyonya kuih comes in many shapes, forms and colors. Their texture can vary a lot too but most kuih are steamedand include some form or other of glutinous rice flour, palm sugar and coconut. Here are some common kuih Nyonya: 1. Kuih Angku 2. Kuih Gulung 3. Kuih Bahulu 4. Kuih Lapis 5. Kuih Seri Muka 6. Onde onde 7. Kuih Bingka
Find yourself a reputable Nyonya restaurant (there are many in Penang and Malacca) and be sure to order otak-otak. This incredibly flavorful dishfeatures fish wrapped and steamed in fragrant banana leaves. Ingredients like lemon grass, betel leaves (daun kaduk), shrimp paste, kaffir lime leaves, chili, galangal, turmeric, coconut milk, eggs, rice flour give the fish a rich flavor and a creamy custard-like coating. Other honorable mentions for Nyonya food: 1. Chicken Curry Kapitan 2. Satar 3....
22. Teh Tarik
You’ll have no trouble finding a local kopitiam ormamak that serves teh tarik, the widely accepted national drink of Malaysia. The name translates to pulled tea in English. For it is the method of pouring the tea between two cups at a considerable distance, that gives this traditional Malaysian beverage its wonderful froth. There are some teh tarik sellers that will literally make a show out of their skillstoo. As for taste, this drink is a combination of black tea and condensed milk so it ca...
23. Ipoh White Coffee
Numerous kopitiams and hawker centers in Ipoh serve Ipoh white coffee. This is after all, the birthplace of Ipoh white coffee. To be sure that you’re getting authentic fresh Ipoh white coffee, ask if they are using 3-in-1 Ipoh white coffee packets as these have become more popular for their convenience. PS: Ipoh white coffee 2-in-1 packets make great souvenirs from Malaysia Despite the name however, the coffee isn’t white. And the name actually comes from the unique roasting method of the cof...
One thing’s for sure, you will not run out of traditional Malaysian food to try (assuming you have no food-related allergies and are not vegetarian). Traditional food in Malaysia is typically savory, sweet and spicy. Many dishes involve the use of coconut milk, rice, ghee, or palm oil. Burn off those calories by doing some sightseeing at historic p...
Aug 13, 2018 · Briyani. A mixed-rice dish ostensibly from India, briyani has found a loving home in Malaysia because a good Malaysian will never turn down a meal that combines rice, spices, and meat. Lamb briyani remains a firm favourite. Once again, be wary of the spice level.
Nov 9, 2022 · Some of the most popular accompaniments are hard-boiled eggs, meat curries (lamb, chicken, or beef does the job), seafood, and vegetables. Add a sprinkle of peanuts on top and some sambal chili sauce on the side and voila! 3. Keropok lekor. This slightly wacky dish originated in the Terengganu region of Malaysia.