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Malaysian Food
by: Sophia

If you haven’t heard, Malaysians are very proud of their food. A country that is home to many different people coming from different races has its benefits. There’s a potpourri of many different cuisines available almost everywhere. To truly experience local food, you’d have to discard the images and misconceptions of road side stalls being dirty and unhealthy because that is where you’ll get the best (and not to mention cheapest) food in town.

 

The main focus of local food would be Chinese hawker food. Many local Chinese set up stalls to showcase their traditional recipes which are probably brought down generations after generations. It is always someone’s grandmother’s recipe or an original recipe from a remote town which makes it special and unique. The Malay and Indian cuisine is also very popular but there’s less variety to choose from. Here’s a guide to local specialties that is a must try.

 

Bak Kut Teh: This is a Chinese specialty which is commonly found in Malaysia. Its name literally translates to “pork bone tea” and the English translation is pretty self explanatory. Pork ribs are used to boil the soup which is a broth consisting of herbs and spices. This dish is best eaten with rice and usually served with ‘youtiao’ which is fried dough.

 

Nasi Lemak: Its roots can be traced to Malay culture and the name literally means “fat in rice”. The rice is usually soaked in coconut cream before it is steamed to give it a more fragrance. Traditionally, this dish is served with cucumber, ikan bilis (dried anchovies), peanuts, hard boiled egg and sambal belacan. Other accompaniments such as curry chicken or rending (beef stew) can be added to diversify the dish.

 

Penang Char Kuey Teow: Hailing from the food capital of Malaysia, this dish literally translates to “fried flat noodles”. There are other varieties from different parts of the country but it is the ones from Penang that is the most popular. Flat noodles are fried with light and dark soy sauce, chilli, prawns, cockles, egg, bean sprouts and Chinese chives. Seems like a lot but that’s not it. Slices of Chinese sausage and fish cakes are added. This dish is known to be relatively unhealthy because it is fried in pork fat with crisp croutons of pork lard but it is these unhealthy ingredients that gives it its characteristic taste.

 

Tandoori Naan: Naan is traditionally from India but the locals have adopted the custom of serving it as well. It is basically a round flat bread that is made from wheat flour. The naan bread tastes sort of like the crust of a pizza and looks like pita bread. It is cooked in a tandoor which is a clay oven which is quite amusing to watch. There are many varieties of naan bread with the most common one being the plain naan or the garlic naan. Other varieties include cheese, vegetables, chicken and other ingredients. The naan can be served with dhal, curry or mint sauce depending on the variant.  

 

Dim Sum: This is not specifically a Malaysian dish but it is authentically Chinese. Traditionally, dim sum is a light meal usually eaten in the morning to early afternoon but the locals have taken it one step further and now it can be found all day long. The beauty of it is that there’s a wide variety of choices and most are usually bite size so its very light. It includes a combination of meat, vegetables and seafood all wrapped into a little package and it is steamed and served in a small plate or steamer basket.

Other local dishes that deserves mention is Cantonese Fried Kuey Teow, Hokkien Mee, Asam Laksa, Chee Cheong Fun, Yong Tow Foo, Rojak, Satay, Ramli Burger, Thosai, Roti Canai and many more. It is without a doubt that there is an abundance of food choices in Malaysia so if you’re a food lover, there’s no end to the choices. Rest assured, you’ll want to come back for more.



 
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About The Author

Sophia, Writer for Malaysia
Sophia writes for Streetdirectory Malaysia. Robert J. Steiner manages Streetdirectory.net.my & FlowerAdvisor.com.my. FlowerAdvisor.com.my is an online gifts and flower site in Malaysia. Sophia is a music graduate from Trinity College London. In between classes, she still finds time to write movie and music reviews for various online and print publications. Now venturing into travel writing, she is able to blend both her passion for wordplay with her passion for travel. 

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