Memos from Asia

6 Signature Malaysian Dishes You Must Eat

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Malaysia is a diverse Southeast Asian country that boasts irresistible delicacies created from fusions of the various races and cultures in Malaysia.

Despite the country’s diverse population, Malaysians take pride in appreciating each other’s cuisines and incorporate it into everyday cooking.

Here are six dishes you must not miss when visiting Malaysia!

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak is a classic Malaysian favorite usually eaten for breakfast.

Dubbed as Malaysia’s national dish, it is made with fragrant rice, which is cooked in coconut milk and a spicy sauce called ‘sambal’ which is a delight for every spicy food lover.

It is usually garnished with small fried anchovies, roasted peanuts, cucumber slices, and a fried egg.

To top it all off, Nasi Lemak is plated on a pandan leaf. You haven’t truly experienced Malaysia until you try this delight!

Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang is a flavorful, Malaysian staple dish that is commonly served during important celebrations in Malaysia, such as wedding feasts and Eid celebrations for Malaysian Muslims.

Beef Rendang is slow-cooked beef in a thick, creamy sauce made of coconut milk and various spices. It is said that to perfect one’s beef rendang, one must select the right choice of beef, spices, heat level, cooking duration as well as master the proper stirring technique.

A complex dish guaranteed to excite your taste buds.

Roti Canai

Another classic Malaysian food, the roti canai is heavily influenced by the Indian flatbread and is served with delicious curry.

It was introduced by Indian Muslims, dubbed as ‘Mamak’ in Malaysia and comes in many variations, such as plain ‘roti kosong,’ ‘roti telur’ (bread with egg), ‘roti planta’ (bread with margarine) and ‘roti tisu’ which literally means ‘tissue bread,’ known for its tissue-thin layer of bread.

Not only is it wonderful to taste, but it is also a sight to see the Mamaks’ excellent whipping skills while preparing the dish.

Nasi Kerabu

Nasi Kerabu, often dubbed as ‘blue rice,’ originates from the east coast state of Malaysia, Kelantan. The unique color is naturally extracted from soaking the butterfly pea flower and is considered healthy for its addition of various healthy greens.

The Nasi Kerabu dish comprises of long beans, bean sprout, cucumber, and betel leaf, hence the name ‘kerabu,’ which means ‘salad.’ It is also served with salted fish, crackers called ‘keropok’, and salted egg.

Beautifully plated, it is a feast for the eyes along with its unique taste.

Char Kuey Teow

In Hokkien language, the term ‘char’ means ‘stir-fried’ while ‘kuey teow’ means ‘flat rice noodles.

Char Kuey Teow has strong Chinese food influence from China’s Guangdong province, which was then localized and made famous in Penang, a northern state of Malaysia.

Char Kuey Teow is often cooked in a wok over a massive, charcoal fire to give it extra aroma and flavor, making the dish distinctive from the rest.

Despite its uncomplicated, simple recipe, its Chinese-fusion flavors are out of this world!

Nasi Kandar

Another food commonly served in Mamak restaurants is an overwhelming sensation of spices.

Originating in Penang, Nasi Kandar is a culinary delight as you get to taste different types of fragrant curry all in one plate, along with different side dishes of vegetables and proteins (fish, chicken and/or beef).

It is common to add so much gravy to the rice that Malaysians often call it ‘kuah banjir’, the literal translation being ‘flood of gravy’. You cannot get this anywhere else, the explosion of flavours is unbeatable.

Now that you have seen these dishes, what are you waiting for? Dive right into this mouth-watering culinary experience and get a taste of authentic Malaysian cuisine!

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