What is Malaysian Food Like?

Roti canai, a Malaysian dish.
Roti canai, a Malaysian dish.

Malaysians are passionate about their food and have inherited most of their cuisines from their rich culture and way of life. Malaysian cuisines reflect the multiethnic composition of the population. Malaysian food is somewhat similar to Indonesian foods, with the two countries sharing some dishes. Here are some of the most popular dishes in Malaysia.

10. Murtabak

Murtabak is a type of fried bread that has been stuffed by onion and minced meat and dipped in a spicy source. It is generally described as a spicy folded pancake with bits of vegetable. Some murtabaks are made of only vegetables, while other forms are made of chicken instead of minced meat. Another popular variety is the martabak kentang (bread stuffed with potatoes). The dish is popular street food in Malaysia and was originally sold in Indian Muslim restaurants. Today, it is sold throughout the country in a variety of forms, ingredients, and cooking styles. Before it is served, Murtabak is first cut into smaller portions. It can be eaten with sweet or salty soy source.

9. Nasi lemak

Nasi lemak which means “fat rice” or “rice in cream” is a dish of rice cooked in coconut cream. The name comes from the cooking process in which white rice is first soaked in coconut cream before steaming to give creamy rice. The rice is then served with accompaniments depending on which part of Malaysia one is. Some of the accompaniments include ayam rending, cucumber slices, peanuts, prawn sambal, boiled eggs, dried anchovies, or fried chicken. Traditionally, nasi lemak is a breakfast dish but it can be ordered at any time of the day.

8. Roti canai

Roti canai is a popular dish in Malaysia that was most likely inspired by the Indian flatbread. It is a type of bread made with flour, water, butter, and sometimes milk to sweeten it up. The three or four ingredients are mixed to make a soft dough which is then flattened then folded. The folded dough is oiled and then cooked on a heavily oiled skillet resulting in a fluffy bread. Roti canai can be served with a dipping sweet or chili sauce or can just be eaten alone as a snack.

7. Air bandung

Air Bandung is a popular drink in Malaysia, India, Brunei, and Singapore. It is also known simply as bandung or sirap bandung. The popular drink is made condensed milk and flavored with rose cordial syrup which gives it the pink color. The name “bandung” means “pair” and air means water. Air bandung is a common drink during Iftar or at wedding receptions. It is normally served alongside other foods such as rendang or nasi beriani. Due to its popularity, several variations of bandung have emerged. Some of the versions include the addition of sparkling water, ice cream soda, and carbonated sodas.

6. Ayam percik

Chicken is a popular food in Malaysia. Chicken can be prepared in various forms to produce several dishes. One of the most popular chicken dishes is Ayam percik, made from grilled marinated chicken. Basically, ayam percik is barbecued chicken basted with spicy chili, ginger sauce, garlic, and mixed with coconut milk gravy.The dish is popular in most restaurants and fast food stores throughout the country. It can be served with rice, especially nasi kandar or nasi lemak.

5. Ayam madu

Ayam madu is the Malaysian version of honey fried chicken. It is prepared by first marinating the chicken for at least 30 minutes. The marinated chicken is then shallow fried until it turns golden brown then set aside. The next step involves frying onion, tomatoes and chili paste until the sauce thickens. Honey and red sugar are added to the sauce to make it even thicker. The fried chicken is then added to the source and cooked until the chicken is well-coated with the sauce. Ayam madu can be served with any rice variety.

4. Kuih batang buruk

Kuih batang buruk, commonly known as bad sticks, are popular cakes made from wheat flour mixed with coconut and rice flour. Once the dough is formed, it is cut into very small pieces. Each thin dough is molded to form a hollow cylindrical shape and then fried with green bean powder. The name bad sticks are mainly because they look like tree stems and the use of green bean powder makes them look like bad wood. The stems are usually used to form the cylindrical shape.

3. Udang asam

Udang asam is a delicious dish of shrimp in sour and spicy sauce. The sour sauce is always a perfect complement for shrimp. To cook udang asam, boiling water is first added to the tamarind paste and left for about 30 minutes. Shrimp is placed in a bowl of seasonings and tossed so that it is well coated. The seasoned shrimp are then fried in a pan until it becomes pink. The shrimp is then added to the sauce and stirred until it is well coated. Udang asam can be served with rice.

2. Roti bom

Roti is a Malaysian word used to refer to bread. There are different forms of bread in the country, some of which are plain while others contain other ingredients such as meat and vegetables. One of the most common forms of bread is roti bom or boom, commonly known as bomb bread in other parts of the world. Roti bom is a smaller but thicker roti compared to roti canai and is usually round in shape. The bread is prepared by frying in oil until it becomes crusty and can be served with tea or eaten as a snack.

1. Assam laksa

Laksa is a staple of Malaysian cuisine that has found its way abroad in recent years. The spicy noodle soup can be prepared in various forms including the Penang’s asam laksa which features a lot of tamarinds. Asam laksa is sour tamarind and fish-based soup and was listed among the 50 best dished by CNN Go in 2011. Asam is any ingredient such as tamarind or kokum which makes the dish sour. The main ingredient of Asam laksa is shredded fish and finely sliced vegetables. It can be served with rice nodules and topped with shrimp sauce.


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