There is one topic that any traveller would mention keenly about the destinations he or she has been to, and that topic is about that destination’s food scene. The cuisine of a destination marks the ultimate test in judging the satisfaction of a traveller’s experience in that country. It is without any doubt that Malaysia is one among those countries that will pamper you with its luscious epicurean scene. Malaysia being a medley of diverse Asian cultures, the country has a terrific blend of flavors that makes it a hot favourite amongst foodies. Bursting with multi-ethnic flavours and aromas from traditional Malay, India, China and Thailand, Malaysia is a food heaven for you if you are passionate about food. The country has such a rich assortment of delectable cuisines that you will be spoilt with choices. Hence, we have narrowed down a list of Malaysia’s 10 most popular dishes that you can relish on your trip to Malaysia.
A traditional Peranakan soup that consists of rice noodles with fish broth is extremely famous and one of the dishes that locals will recommend you to try on your Malaysian Holiday. This spicy soup with a tangy hint of tamarind is most favored in Penang area. The soup is further infused with flavours of lemongrass, ginger and garnished with green chilies, cucumber, and pink ginger flowers. A mouthful of this soup cajoles your tongue to a spurt of several flavours all at once.
A Malay treat to refresh you on a sultry Malaysian afternoon, Cendol is a traditional dessert quite renowned in Malaysia. A cold soup made up of coconut milk, pandan jelly noodles, shaved ice, condensed milk and palm sugar, Cendol can be found everywhere in Malaysia and is sort of a mandatory dish you have to try on a hot Malaysian day to accomplish your visit to Malaysia as a complete experience.
A recommended local favourite and popularly known as Malaysia’s national food, Nasi Lemak is a simple dish where rice is thoroughly cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves. This fragrant rice dish is served on a banana leaf along with spicy curry, fried anchovies, hard boiled eggs or deep fried chicken wings, garnished with toasted peanuts and cucumber. This incredibly satisfying dish will probably be your first Malay traditional food to taste on your Malaysian holiday.
One among the many Indian influenced dishes in Malaysia, Roti Canai is a flatbread made of dough combined with simple ingredients of flour, water, and clarified butter. This dough is then rolled out and toasted to make a flaky golden flatbread that is served as a perfect base dish to be savoured with spicy curries of lentils or chicken. A great breakfast dish, Roti Canai now a day is not restricted to just curries; you will find a variety of Roti Canai stalls serving these flatbreads ladened with delicious sweet fillings and savoury toppings. In Malaysia, Little India is the best place to enjoy authentic Indian Roti Canais.
This famous Malaysian green cake is an absolute must try when you are in Malaysia. A light fluffy cake with a golden crusted top and moist bright green spongy texture looks incredibly appealing and tastes yummy. The key ingredient is coconut milk and pandan leaves – a tropical plant with aromatic leaves also referred as Asian Vanilla which is commonly used to add unique flavour and fragrance to desserts. Fabulously delicious and amazingly soul-stirring dessert, Pandan cake will tempt you to go for second helpings.
In simple words, Satay means grilled seasoned meat on skewers – a perfect dish to enjoy as a quick snack to take care of mid-day hunger pangs. A much loved Malaysian street food by locals and travellers alike, satays are usually made with chicken, pork or beef on skewers marinated in spices and barbecued over the flame till it is smoked to perfection. You can relish this dish as per your preference – just pop it in your mouth as it is or enjoy it with spicy sauces; whichever way you choose, you will fall in love with this dish.
Teh Tarik or pulled tea is another Indian inspired beverage that is popular in Malaysia. Though just a basic milk tea, what makes it special is the way it is prepared. The tea maker gives a small performance of his tea making talent as he pours the tea from one cup to another repeatedly from a height to create a long stream of tea without spilling. This is done till the tea is somewhat cooled down and a frothy surface is created on the top. Teh Tarik is a common hot beverage drink served by outdoor street stalls and coffee shops that holds a special place among Malaysian people.
A delicious mix of sweet, spicy salad made with a variety of refreshing fruits and vegetables tossed in a tangy sauce or dressing, Rojak is Malaysia’s health food that is delicious and filling. A heady combination of various fruits and vegetables such as pineapples, cucumbers, bean sprouts and mangoes along with crispy squid fritters and shrimps garnished in tamarind or oyster sauce and a hint of chili sauce gives you a lip-smacking experience of sweet, sour and spicy flavours.
Traditionally a Chinese cuisine, Hokkien Mee is thick noodles infused in dark, sticky sauce and stir-fried along with slices of prawns, squids, pork or beef, enhanced further with sliced assortment of vegetables. A heartwarming meal preference in Malaysia, this steaming bowl of dark sticky noodles is a classic dish that can be relished at any of the food streets in Malaysia.
Char Kway Teow
Among the palatable array of Malaysian street food, a favorite among locals is Char Kuay Teow – stir fried flat rice noodles in soy sauce along with a mixture of spices and ingredients. A perfectly cooked Char Kuay Teow looks slurpy, moist and incredibly tempting. Originally created as a staple meal for working class, labourers and fishermen, today, it has evolved into a heartening dish that locals and visitors love to have as a meal.
Among the top things to do in Malaysia, exploring Malaysian food scene is a stimulating experience to look forward to. The invigorating mix of sweet and savoury flavours incredibly fused in ways instigated in recipes of India, China and Malaysia urged the nation to take advantage of this cultural diversity. It resulted in Malaysian streets brimming up with restaurants and food stalls at every nook and corner offering menus that will leave you craving for more of Malaysia’s craze in appealing cuisine and rich food culture. Though you will come across a whole range of local and international cuisines at countless restaurants, café or food stalls with each dish offered with its flavors twisted to create different versions of it; these 10 signature Malaysian dishes will have its authentic zest intact. The genuineness of these wonderful palettes of cuisine with interesting flavours will confirm your belief in Malaysia being an amazing country for foodies. The best part of these listed dishes is that they are so popular among the locals and visitors that whenever and wherever you feel like having these feel good food, you can get these at any stall or restaurants just around the corner.