Malaysian food reflects the diversity of the people living there. That fusion is most noticeable in Penang, also known as the food capital of Malaysia; however, if you’re in the national capital, Kuala Lumpur, there is no shortage of street stalls serving up affordable, authentic food.
We have gathered a list of the top 10 foods you must try next time you’re in Malaysia. Don’t forget to add your favorites to your BUCKiTDREAM list.
Go Coconut Crazy for Nasi Lemak The name means “rice in cream,” and it’s derived from the cooking process, where rice is soaked in coconut cream and then steamed to give it a beautiful coconut aroma. The rice is wrapped in banana leaf or served on a plate with a spicy sauce (sambal), a hardboiled egg, cucumber slices, small dried anchovies and roasted peanuts. Oh, and if this isn’t enough to entice you, it’s the national dish of Malaysia, so nasi lemak a definite must-try!
Slow Down Because Good Things Take Time Rendang, a slow-cooked spicy meat dish is stewed in coconut-curry liquid and takes quite a bit of time to prepare, but the result is exceptional and definitely worth the wait. The meat is intensely flavorful and tender on the inside yet sticky and crispy on the outside. We guarantee that your taste buds will be dancing with joy once you try this dish.
Enjoy Laksa, the Breakfast of Gods This is a rich, delicious spicy broth normally served with rice noodles and finished with a variety of condiments. It is most popular in Penang and Sarawak, and each state has their own version. Laska is complex, consisting of a unique balance of flavors, which makes it a versatile dish that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Anthony Bourdain calls it the “breakfast of gods.”
Keep it Simple with Satay Pieces of meat (most commonly chicken) are marinated with a blend of spices, skewered and lightly grilled to perfection. You can eat it alone or dip it into a spicy nut sauce or sambal for that extra kick. However you decide to enjoy it — and how much of it — the flavorsome meat will always leave you craving more.
Eat these Sinfully Delicious Rice Cake Strips Char koay teow roughly translates to “fried rice noodle strips” and is another must-try food when in Malaysia. The noodles are cooked in pork fat in a steaming hot wok, resulting in little crunchy squares of pork lard. So, for obvious reasons, this is far from the world’s healthiest dish, but it tastes so good that you have to make an exception!
Fly To Food Heaven Roti chanai is a Malaysian-style roti. This crispy, buttery flatbread, also known as flying bread because of the flipping technique used to make it, might have originated in India, but it’s very popular in Malaysia — and it’s easy to see why. Simple, delicious, affordable and easy to make, this bread can be eaten alone, with sugar or dipped in curry sauce.
Warm Up with Bak-kut-teh This dish, roughly translated, means meat-bone tea; however, there is no tea in this popular soup dish. Instead, pork ribs with garlic, tofu, mushrooms and herbs are simmered for a couple of hours and then served with noodles or rice. This aromatic heart-warming soup is filling and perfect during rainy days or late nights.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with Cendol If you’ve been to other Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand or Vietnam, you will surely have come across this incredibly popular, traditional dessert. It resembles little green worms, but don’t let its appearance put you off. Cendol is made from rice or sago flour and combined with coconut milk and sugar syrup to make a sweet dessert. Red beans, grass jelly, and sweet corn are normally added to provide more taste and texture.
Have a Crepe Affair with Kuih Dadar This is a much-loved sweet treat among Malaysians. These yummy little crepes are filled with a sweet coconut filling and usually eaten as a snack. The bright green color comes from the pandan flavoring that’s added to the batter. Trust me: One is never enough!
Bow Down to the King of Fruits Durian is a special and exotic fruit known as the king of fruits because of its long list of health benefits; however, it’s also a fruit that you will either love or hate due to its pungent and distinct smell. The flesh is creamy and custard-like, and only in Malaysia can you get different variations of the fruit from sweet to bitter.
Whether you’re passing a street corner, splashing out in a Michelin-starred restaurant or floating somewhere in between, prepare for a culinary wake-up call thanks to some incredible flavors. There is food for every budget, and you can easily get a hearty meal for a small price — without compromising on variety or taste. Try out the hawker center, street stalls, and restaurants to experience this food heaven for yourself. Of course, don’t forget to share your culinary experience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so your friends and family can add them to their bucket list. And if you want to experiment with the even crazier cuisine, check out 10 Of New York’s Weirdest Foods And Where To Find Them and Top 10 Strangest Food/Delicacies To Try Around The World!