Malaysian cuisine is influenced by various cultures from all around the world. as a result of historical migrations and malaysia’s geographical advantage, Malaysia’s culinary style is a mixture of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai and Arabian cuisine - to name a few. This resulted in a symphony of flavors, making Malaysian cuisine highly exotic. There’s a lot to eat. so get to know malaysian food a bit more. Here’s a tour of 15 dishes you should know.
ROTI JALA which means “net bread” literally is another Malaysian delicacy that deserves a special introduction. These lacy and net-like pancakes/crepes are very popular during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, where vendors set up temporary stalls selling roti jala to go with various curries.
There are many variations of CHICKEN CURRY in Malaysia: Indian, Chinese, Nyonya, Malay, but chicken curry with potatoes is possibly the most common chicken curry in Malaysia. Everywhere you go where curries are served, you will probably find this type of chicken curry.
There are endless varations of laksa, Malaysia’s beloved noodle soup, but there are two umbrella categories: ASAM LAKSA and curry laksa. The former (pic), has a tart tamarind-based broth and is generally cooked with a flaky white fish; noodles on the bottom, cucumber, pineapple and the bitter torch ginger flower on top.
CURRY LAKSA is a spice-laden noodle dish that is popular in Malaysia. This dish is quickly gaining popularity outside of Southeast Asia because of its scrumptious taste.
ROTI CANAI is thin unleavened bread with a flaky crust, fried on a skillet with magarine and served with condiments. It is sometimes referred to as Roti Kosong. In some countries, it is referred to as Prahta. Roti Telur is a roti canai with egg in it. Telur means egg. Other variations include roti bawang which has thinly sliced onions in it.
NASI LEMAK can be considered Malaysia’s national dish — a little banana leaf parcel that cradles a bed of coconut rice with spicy sambal, crunchy dried anchovies (ikan bilis), roasted peanuts, cucumber, and egg (sometimes hard-boiled and sliced, sometimes like a flat omelet). While considered classic comfort food, it’s a showcase of flavors and textures; from the delicate coconut to the brash belacan, the tender bite of rice and the salty crunch of anchovies.
IKAN ASAM PEDAS
A sour stew of fish (usually mackerel), tamarind, chili, tomatoes, okra and Vietnamese coriander (Malay: daun kesum). Another dish that makes use of the sour-spicyfishy trinity. Fish and, usually, okra are simmered in a tamarind-based broth that, as in so many dishes, starts with a pounded spices paste of chilis, roots and belacan.
HOKKIEN MEE or HAE MEE or PRAWN MEE (PENANG)
This is a bowl of yellow mee and meehoon (rice noodles) served in a rich, savory shrimp stock; a pile of prawns, hard-boiled eggs, and bean sprouts bulk it up, while fried shallots lend a salty crunch, and sambal (of course) adds acid and heat and even more shrimpy flavor.
Nasi goreng kampung is a typical variant, traditionally flavored with pounded fried fish (normally mackerel), though recently fried anchovies are used in place of it.
Stir-fried noodles, which take many forms. you’ll often see yellow noodles quickly wok’d up with soy, garlic, shallots, and chilies along with shrimp, chicken, beef or vegetables. it’s fantastic street food; many hawkers use roaring charcoal fires, and their smoky flavor really makes anything cooked over it delicious.
A spicy meat stew originating from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia, rendang is traditionally prepared by the Malay community during festive occasions. In Malaysian fashion, it fuses sweet, sour, and savory elements, the curry picking up a creamy richness from two forms of coconut and an elusive tang from asam keping and slices of sour sundried fruit.
SATAY - A popular food in Malaysia, it is made from marinated meat or chicken cooked on a charcoal grill and dipped in a special peanut sauce. Though a favourite Malay food and mostly found in Johor Bahru and Muar, you’ll see satay all over Malaysia; towering piles of skewers in hawker stalls that are tossed on the grill once you order.
CHAR KWAY TEOW
Stir fried rice noodles with bean sprouts, prawns, eggs, chives and thin slices of preserved Chinese sausages. Usually, with an option of cockles as well. A variation of the dish found in Penang has shredded crab meat added in.
HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE
Like many of Malaysian Chinese signature dishes, it originated from China but adapted to suit local tastes. Its chicken is boiled in stock and served cool alongside rice (which has also been cooked in chicken stock) and dipping sauce.
POPIAH is a Hokkien/ Chaozhou-style rolled crepe spring roll, stuffed mainly with stewed vegetables, usually shredded tofu, turnip and carrots. Other items may also include egg and Chinese sausage (“lup cheong”).