Malaysian food is as culturally diverse as the country itself. There is no shortage of flavors colliding in the nation’s culinary, which draws from Malay, Chinese, and Indian populations. While Penang is known for its hawkers selling street food, the entire country is full of delicious foods that you must add to your culinary bucket list. Here are the top 5 most iconic Malaysian foods that you should not miss.
1. Nasi Lemak
Nasi Lemak, also known as Malaysia’s national dish, can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Its name, which technically means “oily or fatty rice” in Malaysian, is translated as “rich” or “creamy” in this context and relates to the cooking procedure. Rice is steeped in coconut milk before being boiled with pandan leaves to give it a delightful aromatic flavor. This is then wrapped in banana leaf and served with cucumbers, roasted peanuts, hard boiled egg, and shrimp paste and chili sauce fried anchovies.
2. Assam Laksa
In Malaysia, there are many different types of laksa, but there are two main types: Assam Laksa and Curry Laksa. Assam Laksa is one of Penang’s most popular meals, and it’s usually made with white flakey fish. Noodles, cucumber, pineapple, fresh mint, lemongrass, and ginger are included in the tangy, tamarind-based soup. You’ll be hooked on this meal as soon as you try it since it has such an alluring combination of salty, spicy, and sweet flavors.
Rendang is a spicy, savory meat dish that is one of Malaysia’s most well-known cuisines. Beef is cooked in coconut milk, chilies, and spices to produce a delicate, aromatic, and flavorful supper. Rendang was once only offered at ceremonial and celebratory occasions, but it has since grown in popularity and is now commonly served with Nasi Lemak, Ketupat, and Lemang.
4. Roti Canai
Roti is a Malay word that means bread, and this must-try delicacy is a flatbread in the Indian manner. It’s traditionally served with dhal (lentil) curry or mixed sambal for breakfast (chili sauce). Try to observe someone preparing roti if you get the chance. They’ll slap and slam the ingredients, throw and swirl them about in the air, then fold and heat them, putting on a show that’s almost as amazing as the food.
In Malaysia, you’ll notice towering heaps of skewers and the distinct aroma of satay everywhere — these skewers are tossed onto the grill and made to order from hawker stalls and pasar malam (night markets). Each country in Southeast Asia has its own distinct satay recipe. Malaysian satay is created using traditional Malaysian ingredients such as shallots, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and lemongrass.