Welcome to a culinary adventure through Malaysia! As a melting pot of diverse cultures and flavors, Malaysia is a food lover’s paradise. Malaysian food is a unique and diverse blend of flavors influenced by various cultures, including Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous Borneo cultures.
In addition, the country’s tropical climate and abundant natural resources make it one of the world’s most exciting culinary destinations. From street food stalls to upscale restaurants, Malaysia offers a tempting array of dishes that are sure to satisfy your taste buds.
If you’re planning a trip to this Southeast Asian gem or simply looking to explore Malaysian cuisine from the comfort of your own home, you’re in for a treat. In this blog post, we’ll take you on a gastronomic journey as we unveil the 35 best Malaysian foods to try. So, get ready to indulge in a diverse tapestry of flavors, textures, and aromas that are sure to leave you craving for more.
Let’s dive into the culinary wonders of Malaysia and discover the must-try dishes that will leave you hungry for a taste of Malaysia’s rich food culture. Today, we will explore the different types of Malaysian food, their origins, and the unique flavors that make them so popular. Also, we will give you an insight into Malaysian traditional food, the country’s food culture, and the history of Malaysian street food.
After all, for a great gastronomic adventure, one must know about the origin of the food they are eating and how these foods are made. After reading this article, you will have a broad idea about which Malaysian foods you must try.
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Malaysian Traditional Food
Malaysian traditional food is influenced by Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous cultures and has evolved over time to include unique and distinctive flavors and ingredients. As a result, it has a rich history and diverse origins.
The indigenous people of Malaysia have been consuming rice, fish, and other seafood for thousands of years, while the Malay culture introduced a range of herbs and spices to the cuisine, including lemongrass, turmeric, and ginger.
Chinese and Indian cultures also made significant contributions to Malaysian cuisine, with Chinese migrants bringing noodles, stir-fries, and soups and Indian migrants introducing curries, spices, and rice dishes.
Over time, these various cultural influences have blended together to create a unique and distinctive Malaysian cuisine. Many traditional dishes have evolved over the years to incorporate a range of ingredients and flavors and have become an important part of Malaysian culture and identity. Today, Malaysian traditional food is celebrated and enjoyed by locals and visitors alike and continues to evolve as new ingredients and techniques are introduced.
Some of the most popular traditional dishes include Nasi Lemak, a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and served with a variety of accompaniments; Rendang, a slow-cooked spicy beef or chicken dish that is rich in flavor; Laksa, a spicy noodle soup that comes in many variations across the country; and Satay, skewered and grilled meat that is marinated in a blend of spices and served with a spicy peanut sauce.
Other traditional dishes include Roti Canai, Char Kway Teow, and Curry Laksa. Malaysian traditional food is often made with a variety of herbs and spices, such as lemongrass, turmeric, and ginger, and incorporates a range of ingredients, including seafood, coconut milk, and rice.
Desserts such as Kuih and Ais Kacang also play an important role in traditional Malaysian food, with their sweet and colorful flavors providing a delicious finish to any meal. Overall, Malaysian traditional food is a reflection of the country’s rich cultural heritage and its diverse culinary traditions. From street food stalls to high-end restaurants, the country offers a diverse range of flavors and ingredients that are sure to delight any food lover.
Food Culture in Malaysia
One of the best ways to experience Malaysia’s food culture is through a food tour. Food tours typically take visitors to local markets, street food stalls, and restaurants to sample a range of dishes and learn about the ingredients and techniques used to prepare them.
Some popular food tours include a visit to Kuala Lumpur’s Jalan Alor street food market, where visitors can sample a range of dishes, including satay, nasi lemak, and Char Kway Teow; a visit to Penang’s famous hawker centers, where visitors can sample dishes such as Assam Laksa, Hokkien Mee, and Apom Balik; and a tour of Malacca’s historic food markets, where visitors can try dishes such as Nyonya Laksa and Chicken Rice Balls.
In addition to food tours, Malaysia also offers a range of cooking classes and culinary experiences. Visitors can learn how to make traditional dishes such as Rendang, Laksa, and Nasi Lemak and discover the secrets behind the country’s unique flavors and techniques.
Cooking classes are available in various locations across the country, including Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Malacca. With its diverse range of flavors, ingredients, and cooking techniques, Malaysia offers a unique and unforgettable culinary experience that is sure to delight the senses.
History of Malaysian Street Food
Street food has a long and rich history in Malaysia, dating back to the early 20th century. In the early days, street food vendors would set up their stalls along the roadsides, selling simple dishes such as rice porridge, noodle soups, and fried rice. These dishes were popular among the working-class population, who were looking for affordable and convenient food options.
Over time, street food in Malaysia has evolved and become more diverse, with vendors introducing new and innovative dishes that reflect the country’s multicultural heritage. Chinese migrants introduced popular dishes such as Hokkien Mee, Char Kway Teow, and Satay, while Indian migrants brought in curries, roti canai, and tandoori chicken. Malay culture also contributed to the street food scene with dishes such as Nasi Lemak, Rendang, and Laksa.
In the 1970s and 1980s, street food became even more popular in Malaysia, with vendors setting up in night markets and hawker centers across the country. These hawker centers offered a wide variety of dishes, with vendors specializing in specific types of food, such as Char Kway Teow or Hokkien Mee.
Today, street food remains an important part of Malaysian culture and cuisine. Visitors and locals alike flock to night markets and hawker centers to sample the country’s diverse range of street food offerings. While the dishes may have evolved and become more complex over time, the essence of Malaysian street food remains the same: affordable, flavorful, and convenient dishes that reflect the country’s multicultural heritage.
Best Malaysian Foods to Try in 2023
1. Nasi Lemak
Nasi Lemak is one of Malaysia’s most popular dishes, consisting of fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and served with various toppings such as sambal (a spicy chili paste), fried anchovies, sliced cucumber, and boiled or fried egg.
The dish is believed to have originated in the Malay community, and it is a staple breakfast food in the country. Nasi Lemak is also served with a variety of side dishes such as beef or chicken rendang (a slow-cooked curry), acar (a type of pickled vegetable), and fried chicken.
2. Char Kway Teow
Char Kway Teow is a popular Malaysian street food dish made with flat rice noodles stir-fried with soy sauce, chili, shrimp paste, cockles, Chinese sausage, bean sprouts, and eggs. It is a beloved street food that is known for its smoky flavor and rich, savory taste. It is often garnished with a sprinkle of chopped chives and sometimes a squeeze of lime, which adds a fresh and tangy note to balance the richness of the dish.
The dish is believed to have originated in the Hokkien Chinese community and is widely enjoyed throughout Malaysia. Char Kway Teow is a perfect example of Malaysia’s diverse culinary culture, as it combines Chinese, Malay, and Indian flavors. If you are a fan of noodle dishes, Char Kway Teow is a must-try.
Satay is a popular grilled meat dish served with peanut sauce and ketupat (compressed rice cake). The meat is typically marinated in a mixture of turmeric, lemongrass, and other spices, then skewered and grilled over charcoal. Satay is often served with a side of peanut sauce, which is made by blending roasted peanuts with spices, tamarind, and other flavorings.
Satay is believed to have originated in Java, Indonesia, but it has become an iconic Malaysian food, enjoyed in street food stalls and high-end restaurants alike. It holds cultural significance as a communal food that is often shared among friends and family during gatherings and celebrations.
Laksa is a spicy noodle soup dish that originated in the Peranakan community, a fusion of Chinese and Malay cultures. The dish is made with a fragrant soup base, typically made from fish or chicken stock, coconut milk, and spices such as lemongrass, galangal, and chili. The noodles are typically rice noodles, and the dish is served with various toppings, such as prawns, tofu puffs, and fish balls.
There are many variations of Laksa throughout Malaysia, each with its unique blend of spices and flavors. The noodles used in Laksa can vary depending on the regional variation. Commonly used noodles include rice noodles or vermicelli, which are soaked in hot water until softened and then added to the soup. The noodles absorb the flavorful broth, creating a deliciously slurp-worthy texture. It is a beloved street food that can be found in hawker centers, food stalls, and restaurants.
5. Roti Canai
Roti Canai is a flaky, crispy flatbread that is popular in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries. The bread is made with flour, water, and ghee, and it is typically served with dhal (a lentil curry) or a spicy curry sauce.
Roti Canai is a staple breakfast food in Malaysia and is often eaten with a cup of hot tea or coffee. It is also a common street food in Malaysia, where it is often prepared and cooked in front of customers at food stalls, adding to its appeal as a popular street food option.
6. Nasi Kandar
Nasi Kandar is a flavorful Malaysian rice dish that originated in Penang. It consists of steamed rice served with various side dishes such as curries, fried chicken, and vegetables. The rich and aromatic curry that is used to flavor the dishes is what sets Nasi Kandar apart.
The curry is made with a blend of spices, such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and star anise, combined with coconut milk and a variety of herbs, creating a complex and robust flavor profile.
The dish is typically eaten with the hands, and it is popular among Malaysians of all ethnicities. Nasi Kandar is often served 24 hours a day, making it a popular late-night food option. It is not only a beloved local dish but also a culinary phenomenon that has gained worldwide recognition.
7. Mee Goreng
Mee Goreng, also known as Mie Goreng, it is a popular Malaysian fried noodle dish that is typically served with shrimp, tofu, and vegetables. The dish is made by stir-frying noodles in a wok with soy sauce, chili, and other spices.
The noodles are usually tossed in a sweet, spicy, and tangy sauce made with a blend of spices and seasonings, such as chili paste, tomato ketchup, soy sauce, and tamarind paste.
Mee Goreng is often served with a fried egg on top, and it is a popular street food dish in Malaysia. In Malaysia, Mee Goreng may be spicier, with the addition of belacan (a fermented shrimp paste) and served with a side of lime and sliced red chilies for an extra kick.
In Singapore, Mee Goreng is often served with fresh calamansi lime and crispy pork lard for added texture and flavor. So, variations of the dish can be found across Southeast Asia, each with its own unique twist.
Rojak is a fruit and vegetable salad dish that is popular in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries. The dish typically includes a mix of tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple, and papaya, along with vegetables such as cucumber and bean sprouts.
The ingredients are tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce made from tamarind, chili, and palm sugar and topped with roasted peanuts. Rojak is a refreshing and healthy snack or appetizer and is a must-try for anyone visiting Malaysia.
9. Hainanese Chicken Rice
Hainanese Chicken Rice is a popular Malaysian food that originated in the Hainan province of China. The dish consists of poached or steamed chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth and various dipping sauces such as chili sauce and ginger sauce.
The clear chicken broth that is served on the side is made from simmering chicken bones, along with ginger, garlic, and sometimes other aromatics, to create a flavorful and comforting soup that complements the chicken and rice perfectly.
Hainanese Chicken Rice is a staple food in Malaysia and is enjoyed by Malaysians of all ethnicities. The dish is appreciated for its delicious taste and cultural significance. Over the years, it has evolved and adapted to local tastes in different regions. For example, in Thailand, a variation known as Khao Man Gai is popular, with its own unique twist on the dish.
10. Teh Tarik
Teh Tarik is a popular Malaysian tea beverage that is made by pouring hot tea back and forth between two cups, creating a frothy, creamy texture. The tea is typically sweetened with condensed milk, and it is a popular drink in Malaysia’s kopitiams (traditional coffee shops).
The art of making Teh Tarik involves a theatrical and skillful process of pouring the tea from one cup to another at a great height, creating a frothy and bubbly texture as the tea is aerated and mixed with the condensed milk.
Beyond its popularity as a daily beverage, Teh Tarik has become a symbol of Malaysian culture and identity. It is often associated with the warm hospitality and friendliness of Malaysians, as it is commonly offered as a gesture of welcome and hospitality to guests. So, it is a must-try for anyone visiting Malaysia and is the perfect accompaniment to any Malaysian meal.
Durian is a tropical fruit that is famous in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries. The fruit has a distinct odor, which some people describe as being like rotting meat, but it has a creamy, custard-like texture and a sweet flavor. Due to the intense odor, it is banned in many public places, including hotels, airports, and public transportation.
However, the taste of Durian is complex and unique, with a rich and creamy texture that resembles custard or butter. Despite its controversial reputation, Durian remains a cherished fruit in many Southeast Asian countries, where it is considered a cultural icon and an important part of local cuisine. It is often used in Malaysian desserts, such as durian ice cream, and it is a must-try for anyone visiting Malaysia.
Cendol is a popular Malaysian dessert made with shaved ice, coconut milk, palm sugar syrup, and green jelly noodles made from rice flour. The dessert is often topped with red beans, corn, and other toppings, and it is a refreshing and sweet treat on a hot day. The dessert has a unique texture that is gained due to the use of green pandan-flavored rice flour jelly strips served in a bed of shaved ice, sweetened coconut milk, and palm sugar syrup.
All the ingredients used in Cnedol create a harmonious balance of flavors and textures that make it a truly special treat. It is a popular dessert in Malaysia, and it is often served at hawker centers and street food stalls. It has a special place in the hearts of those who have experienced its unique taste and texture.
Murtabak is a popular dish in Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. It is a type of stuffed pancake that is typically filled with minced meat, onions, eggs, and spices and then fried until crispy. Ver time, the dish has evolved and adapted to local tastes and ingredients, resulting in various versions across the region.
To make murtabak, a thin layer of dough is stretched and filled with the meat mixture. The dough is then folded into a square or triangular shape and fried until golden brown. The filling can be customized to include different types of meat, such as beef, chicken, or lamb, and sometimes vegetables, such as carrots and cabbage, are added.
Spices such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric give the dish its distinctive flavor. It’s crispy exterior and flavorful filling make it a popular choice for people of all ages.
14. Roti Jala
Roti Jala means “net bread” in Malay, and it refers to the lacy appearance of the thin, crepe-like pancakes that make up the dish. It is made from a simple batter that consists of flour, eggs, and coconut milk. The crepes are cooked on one side until they are slightly browned, and then they are flipped over and cooked on the other side. Once they are cooked, the crepes are rolled up and served with curry or other spicy dishes.
Roti Jala is a versatile dish that can be served as an appetizer, a side dish, or even as a dessert. One of the unique aspects of Roti Jala is its delicate texture. The crepes are thin and light, with a slightly chewy texture that is perfect for soaking up spicy sauces.
The addition of coconut milk to the batter gives the crepes a slightly sweet flavor that complements the spiciness of the curries. It is a popular street food in Malaysia and Singapore, and it is often sold by vendors who make it fresh on the spot.
15. Hokkien Mee
Hokkien Mee has two variations – the Singaporean version and the Malaysian version. The Singaporean version is often referred to as Hokkien Prawn Mee and is made with a prawn-based broth, while the Malaysian version is made with a dark soy sauce-based broth.
It is made from yellow noodles and rice vermicelli that are stir-fried with a variety of ingredients and a flavorful stock.
In both versions, the noodles and vermicelli are stir-fried with ingredients such as shrimp, squid, pork, egg, bean sprouts, and garlic. The stock is then added to the wok and cooked until it is absorbed by the noodles.
The Singaporean version is garnished with prawns, while the Malaysian version is garnished with pork slices and crispy fried shallots. Hokkien Mee is often served with sambal chili paste and a squeeze of lime, which adds a tangy and spicy flavor to the dish. It is commonly found in hawker centers and is a popular street food in Singapore and Malaysia.
16. Ramly burger
Ramly Burger is a popular street food in Malaysia that is made using a special patty that is wrapped in a thin omelet, topped with a variety of sauces, and served in a soft bun. It has gained a cult following over the years.
The patty used in a Ramly Burger is made from a mixture of beef, chicken, or a combination of both and is shaped into a rectangular patty. It is then marinated in a blend of spices and sauces, giving it a flavorful taste.
One of the unique aspects of Ramly Burger is the way it is prepared. The patty is grilled and wrapped in the omelet right in front of the customer, making it a fun and interactive experience. Over the years, Ramly Burger has become a cultural icon in Malaysia and is often referred to as the “national burger” of Malaysia. It is a popular late-night snack and can be found at food stalls and food trucks throughout the country.
It is a type of dessert typically made from rice flour, glutinous rice, or tapioca flour and is often steamed, fried, or baked. Kuih comes in many different shapes, colors, and flavors, and they are often made with ingredients such as coconut milk, pandan leaves, palm sugar, and various types of fruits and nuts.
Some popular types of kuih include kuih lapis, ondeh-ondeh, kuih talam, kuih ketayap, and kuih seri muka. Kuih lapis, also known as kuih lapis legit, is a layered cake made from glutinous rice flour, coconut milk, and spices. It is typically baked in a rectangular tin and is often served during festive occasions such as Hari Raya and Chinese New Year.
It is a type of fresh spring roll that is made with a thin, crepe-like wrapper filled with a variety of ingredients, such as jicama (also known as yam bean), carrots, tofu, bean sprouts, shrimp, and lettuce. It is a popular snack or light meal, often eaten with sweet and spicy sauces. The filling for Popiah is typically prepared by cooking the ingredients with seasonings such as garlic, soy sauce, and oyster sauce and then rolled up in a thin wrapper.
The wrapper is made from a mixture of wheat flour, water, and sometimes eggs and is cooked on a flat pan until it is thin and slightly crispy. The Popiah is then filled with the cooked ingredients and rolled up tightly.
It is often cut into smaller pieces and served with a variety of sauces, such as chili sauce, hoisin sauce, and sweet sauce. Some versions of Popiah also include chopped peanuts or crispy bits of fried wonton skins for added texture and flavor.
Rendang is a rich and flavorful meat dish that originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group in Indonesia. It is a popular dish in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Rendang is typically made with beef, although chicken and lamb versions are also common.
The dish is made by slow-cooking meat with a mixture of coconut milk, spices, and herbs until the sauce has thickened and the meat is tender and flavorful. The key to good rendang is the use of a variety of spices and herbs, such as turmeric, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves. These ingredients are toasted and ground into a paste before being added to the cooking pot.
Rendang is often served with rice or other starchy dishes, such as roti canai or lontong. It is a popular dish for special occasions such as weddings and festive celebrations and is also enjoyed as a comfort food by many. The dish can be quite spicy, but the level of heat can be adjusted based on personal preference.
20. Maggi Goreng
It is a stir-fried noodle dish made with Maggi instant noodles, which are widely available in many parts of the world. Maggi Goreng is a quick and easy dish to prepare, making it a popular choice for busy people.
The dish is made by cooking the instant noodles in boiling water until they are tender and then stir-frying them with a variety of ingredients such as vegetables, meat, seafood, and eggs. Common vegetables used in Maggi Goreng include onions, carrots, cabbage, and bean sprouts. Meat and seafood options can vary, but chicken, beef, and shrimp are often used.
The dish is flavored with a variety of seasonings, such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili sauce, and curry powder, to give it a spicy and savory taste.
It is a versatile dish that can be adapted to suit a variety of tastes and dietary restrictions. Vegetarian versions are available, and the level of spiciness can be adjusted based on personal preference.
21. Nasi Kerabu
Nasi Kerabu is a traditional dish from the East Coast of Malaysia, particularly popular in the states of Kelantan and Terengganu. It is a rice dish that is colored blue with butterfly pea flowers and is served with a variety of accompaniments that provide a balance of flavors and textures.
The rice used in Nasi Kerabu is typically cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaves, which gives it a fragrant and slightly sweet flavor. The blue color is achieved by soaking the rice in water infused with butterfly pea flowers, which is a common ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine. The result is a vibrant blue color that is both visually appealing and flavorful.
The combination of the fragrant blue rice and the variety of flavorful accompaniments make Nasi Kerabu a beloved dish among Malaysians. It is a dish that is often associated with special occasions, such as weddings or religious festivals, and is a staple in many Malaysian households. The dish can also be found in many local restaurants and food stalls.
22. Ais kacang
Ais kacang is a refreshing and colorful dessert that is perfect for hot and humid days.
The dessert is made with a variety of ingredients, including shaved ice, red beans, corn, grass jelly, and other fruits such as lychee and jackfruit. The mixture is then topped with a variety of syrups, such as rose syrup, condensed milk, and gula melaka (palm sugar syrup). The result is a delicious and colorful dessert that is both sweet and refreshing.
In addition to being a popular dessert, ais kacang is also a cultural icon in Malaysia. It is a dessert that is enjoyed by people of all ages and is often sold by street vendors and in local markets. The dessert has become so popular that it is now also available in many restaurants and cafes.
23. Mee Goreng Mamak
Mee Goreng Mamak is a popular dish in Malaysia that originated from the Mamak community, who are Indian Muslims in Malaysia. Mamak stalls or restaurants are a common sight in Malaysia, especially in urban areas, where they serve a range of Indian-Muslim cuisine.
Mee Goreng Mamak is essentially stir-fried yellow noodles cooked with a spicy tomato-based sauce, vegetables, and protein such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu. The dish is also seasoned with a variety of spices and herbs, including curry powder, chili powder, and cumin. The sauce is usually cooked in a large wok over high heat, resulting in a smoky and fragrant flavor.
One of the defining characteristics of Mee Goreng Mamak is the use of “Maggi” seasoning, a popular brand of instant noodle seasoning in Malaysia. This gives the dish a unique and distinctive flavor that sets it apart from other noodle dishes.
It can be found at Mamak stalls, street food markets, and even some high-end restaurants.
24. Nasi Dagang
A flavorful rice dish made from a combination of glutinous and regular rice, cooked with coconut milk and served with fish curry and various side dishes.
The rice used in Nasi Dagang is soaked in coconut milk and water, then steamed until fully cooked. This gives the rice a rich, creamy flavor and a slightly sticky texture. The fish curry that accompanies the rice is made with a variety of local ingredients, including fish, coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, and chilies. The curry is thick and fragrant, with a spicy kick that complements the sweetness of the rice.
In Terengganu and Kelantan, Nasi Dagang is a popular breakfast dish, but it can also be enjoyed throughout the day as a main meal. It is commonly sold at roadside stalls and markets, where vendors serve it fresh and piping hot.
25. Ayam Percik
Ayam Percik is a popular grilled chicken dish made by marinating chicken in a blend of spices and coconut milk, then grilling it over an open flame until it is tender and slightly charred. Ayam Percik is often served with a variety of side dishes, including rice, cucumber slices, and a sweet and spicy peanut sauce.
The peanut sauce is made by blending roasted peanuts with chili, garlic, and palm sugar, resulting in a thick and creamy sauce with a slightly sweet and spicy flavor.
Ayam Percik is a beloved dish in Malaysia and can be found at roadside stalls, night markets, and restaurants throughout the country. Its blend of spices and creamy coconut milk make it a flavorful and satisfying meal that is perfect for any occasion.
26. Cendawang Goreng
Cendawan Goreng, also known as Fried Mushrooms, features deep-fried mushrooms as the star ingredient. It is made using button mushrooms, which are coated in a batter, deep-fried until golden brown, and then served with a dipping sauce.
The dipping sauce can vary but commonly includes ingredients such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, chili sauce, or mayonnaise. The dipping sauce adds an extra layer of flavor and enhances the overall taste of the dish.
The crispy, savory, and addictive nature of Cendawan Goreng makes it a favorite among mushroom lovers and those who appreciate deep-fried delicacies. There are a number of variations of the dish that include different types of mushrooms, such as shiitake or oyster mushrooms, for a more intense flavor. Regardless of the variations, Cendawan Goreng remains a popular and beloved dish that is cherished for its crispy, flavorful, and addictive nature.
27. Asam Pedas
Asam Pedas is a traditional spicy and tangy stew that is known for its bold and robust flavors. It is a popular dish that is typically made with fish or seafood cooked in a tangy tamarind-based broth with a medley of aromatic herbs and spices. The key ingredient in Asam Pedas is tamarind, which lends the dish its characteristic sourness.
The sourness of the tamarind is balanced with other ingredients, such as sugar or palm sugar, to create a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. The dish is typically served hot with steamed rice, and the broth is often ladled generously over the rice to infuse it with the delicious flavors of the stew.
28. Kaya Toast
Kaya Toast is a beloved breakfast and snack item that consists of thick slices of toasted bread that are spread with kaya, a creamy coconut, and pandan jam and often served with soft-boiled eggs and a cup of hot coffee or tea. Kaya Toast is a nostalgic and iconic dish that holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike.
The bread used for Kaya Toast is typically white bread, and it is often toasted to a golden brown, creating a crispy and slightly crunchy texture. The slices of bread are then generously slathered with the kaya, creating a deliciously sweet and fragrant layer.
In addition to the kaya and bread, Kaya Toast is often served with soft-boiled eggs, which are a perfect complement to the sweet and creamy kaya. The eggs are typically cooked so that the whites are set, but the yolks remain runny, and they are usually seasoned with a dash of soy sauce and white pepper for added flavor.
Dipping the crispy Kaya Toast into the luscious yolk creates a harmonious and satisfying combination of flavors and textures. Kaya Toast is often enjoyed with a cup of hot coffee or tea, which makes it a perfect breakfast or snack option. It is not only a delicious and satisfying dish, but it also holds cultural significance in Singapore and Malaysia.
29. Wonton Mee
Wonton Mee is a versatile dish that is a delicious combination of egg noodles, wontons (dumplings), and a flavorful sauce, often served with various toppings. The key component of Wonton Mee is the egg noodles, which are thin and springy, typically made from wheat flour and egg.
The noodles are usually cooked al dente, giving them a slightly firm and chewy texture that pairs well with the other ingredients in the dish. The noodles are often tossed in a savory sauce that adds depth and richness to the dish.
It can be served dry, with the noodles and wontons tossed in sauce, or with a clear soup on the side. It can also be served with broth-based soup, where the noodles and wontons are submerged in a flavorful soup, creating a comforting and satisfying meal, especially on rainy days or when one is feeling under the weather.
It is a comforting and flavorful dish by people of all ages, and it is commonly found in hawker centers, food courts, and street food stalls in Southeast Asia.
30. Pisang Goreng
Pisang Goreng is a delightful treat that has captured the hearts and taste buds of locals and tourists alike with its crispy exterior and sweet, soft interior. Its main ingredient is bananas. Ripe bananas are typically used, as they have a natural sweetness that intensifies when fried.
The bananas are usually sliced lengthwise or crosswise, dipped in a simple batter, and then deep-fried until golden brown. It is typically served hot and fresh straight out of the fryer.
It is commonly enjoyed as a snack, a dessert, or a teatime treat. In some places, it is also served with a side of dipping sauce, such as chocolate, caramel, or condensed milk, to add an extra layer of flavor to the already delicious fried bananas. It is a cultural icon that holds a special place in the hearts and palates of many Malaysians.
Gulai is a culinary heritage that reflects the diversity and richness of Indonesian cuisine. However, it is also found in Malaysia and Singapore. It is generally made with meat, such as beef, lamb, chicken, or fish, although there are also vegetable and tofu variations for vegetarians and vegans. It is a type of spicy and rich stew whose spice paste is made from a combination of various aromatic spices.
It is often served with steamed rice or other staple foods, such as roti canai or lontong (compressed rice cakes), to help absorb the flavorful curry sauce. It is typically garnished with fresh herbs, such as cilantro or Indonesian bay leaves, to add a burst of freshness and aroma to the dish.
32. Roti John
Roti John, a dish popular for its bold flavors, is a harmonious blend of spices, tangy sauces, and crispy bread that creates a delightful explosion of taste and texture in every bite. It is a sandwich that is made with a baguette-like bread, filled with a spiced meat mixture, and then pan-fried until crispy and golden brown.
The sandwich is served with a variety of sauces, such as ketchup, mayonnaise, and chili sauce, which add a tangy and creamy contrast to the spiced meat filling. Other common toppings include sliced onions, cucumbers, and lettuce, which add crunch and freshness to the sandwich.
33. Mee Rebus
Mee Rebus is a savory noodle dish known for its combination of sweet, tangy, and savory flavors. The name translates to “boiled noodles” in Malay, which refers to the method of cooking the noodles. It consists of yellow noodles that are boiled until they are tender and then topped with a thick and aromatic gravy made with a blend of spices, shrimp paste, and sweet potatoes.
The savory gravy is made of onions, garlic, dried shrimp, and spices such as curry powder, turmeric, and chili paste. Sweet potatoes are also used to thicken the gravy and add a natural sweetness to balance the flavors. The dish has regional variations in Malaysia, with different states and cities putting their own spin on it.
34. Kek Batik
Kek Batik refers to a type of cake that has a distinctive pattern that resembles the traditional Malaysian art of batik. It is also known as “chocolate biscuit cake” and is a popular no-bake dessert that originated in Malaysia. The key ingredient of this cake is plain tea biscuits or digestive biscuits. The biscuits are crushed and assembled at the base of the cake to provide a crunchy texture.
Kek Batik is made by combining crushed biscuits, cocoa powder, and sweetened condensed milk, which are then chilled until firm and sliced into squares or bars. The resulting cake has a fudgy consistency and is often garnished with a dusting of cocoa powder or grated chocolate on top. It is commonly served as a sweet treat for guests and family members during any special occasion.
35. Apam Balik
Apam Balik is a traditional sweet pancake that is a popular Malaysian food. It is equally popular in India as well as Singapore. In Indonesia, it is known as “Terang Bulan,” which means “bright moon”. This delightful dessert is made from a batter of flour, sugar, eggs, and baking powder and is usually cooked on a hot griddle.
It is filled with a variety of sweet and savory fillings such as peanuts, sweetcorn, chocolate, and bananas. The pancake is folded in half and served warm, giving it a soft, fluffy texture with a crispy outer layer. The toppings are generously spread across the surface of the pancake, giving it a sweet and crunchy taste that will tantalize your taste buds.
The origin of Apam Balik can be traced back to the Malay Archipelago, where it was a popular street food among the locals. It is commonly sold by street vendors or in food markets and is often enjoyed as a snack or dessert after a meal. If you are looking for a sweet and satisfying treat, you should try this dessert.
Whether you’re a fan of spicy curries, mouthwatering noodles, aromatic rice dishes, or delectable desserts, there’s something for everyone in Malaysia. With this list of the 35 best Malaysian foods to try, you’ll have a culinary adventure that will leave you craving for more.
So, don’t miss out on these gastronomic delights when you visit Malaysia, and get ready to embark on a culinary journey like no other! Selamat Makan! (Bon Appétit!)
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