Malaysian food has been influenced by various cultures around the world, especially the three main ethnic groups in Malaysia – Malays, Chinese and Indians. Some dishes are very similar to the ones you find in Thailand but they have their own distinct flavours. Here are a few to try out the next time you are in Malaysia.
Nasi Lemak – Referred to as their national dish, this is rice cooked in coconut milk and served with fried anchovies, peanuts, hard boiled eggs, cucumber and a spicy chilli paste called sambal. Traditionally it comes wrapped in banana leaf. When you open the green pocket, you will be greeted with the pleasant coconut aroma. For a more expensive version of this dish, you will also get a piece of fried chicken.
Satay – grilled marinated meat or chicken with a special peanut sauce and cucumber. Very similar to the ones in Thailand but there is no pork variety.
Bak Kut Teh – a pork ribs soup cooked with herbs, garlic and soy sauce for many hours. Traditionally eaten by hard working Chinese working on the wharfs at Port Klang, this soup is believed to be good for health.
Banana Leaf Rice – Southern Indian cuisine, white rice served on banana leaf with an assortment of vegetables, curry, fried meat or fish and papadum (thin, crisp Indian chips). This is quite a fun experience! You can choose your own fish, squid or chicken to be deep fried and sample various curries. The locals eat this with bare hands so follow them and get messy! I tried the one call Raju’s at Jalan Gasing and the food was quite nice with open-air seatings. Click here for map and address.
Rojak – a fruit salad with a topping of sweet thick dark prawn paste, grounded peanuts and some yau cha kwai (Chinese fried donut). The Penang version is particularly popular. Not exactly the fruit salad you imagine. Tell them to put in less sauce for a healthier version.
Kaya Toast – breakfast food. Kaya (sweet coconut and egg jam) on white toast : ) Kaya can come in normal flavor (orange color) or pandan flavor (green color). Traditionally served with a cup of local coffee/tea and soft-boiled eggs in soy sauce and ground white pepper.
Teh Tarik – My personal favourite, this is Indian milk tea made from black tea, condensed milk and evaporated milk. This is very similar to Thai iced tea but they use different kind of tea leaves. Can be enjoyed hot or iced and is commonly found in restaurants, stalls and kopi tiams. Order less sweet if you are watching your sugar!
Cendol – smooth green rice noodles in chilled coconut milk and coconut palm sugar, sometimes topped with sweet corn. This is ‘lod chong’ in Thailand.
Enjoy : )