An all-time favourite, Nasi Lemak is rice cooked with coconut milk, ginger and fragrant screwpine leaves. This Malay staple is served with a spicy sambal (sauce), boiled eggs, fried anchovies, fresh slices of cucumber and crunchy groundnuts. The dish is considered a national dish and a Malaysian heritage. It is commonly consumed at breakfast, but it can also be found at other times of the day. Its name derives from Malay culture and literally means “fatty rice.” Nasi Lemak is a popular dish in Singapore and Malaysia. It is also common in Malaysian schools. Nasi Lemak Kukus refers to “steamed nasi lemak.”
For many Malaysians, nothing comes close to a bowl of refreshing Cendol to end their meal on a sweet note. Cendol is made of heap of shaved ice, drenched with creamy coconut milk and sprinkled with red beans. Its main ingredient is the cendol green coloured noodle like strings made of flour. Cendol has become a staple of Southeast Asian cuisine, and it is frequently sold by roadside vendors, hawker centres, and food courts. Originally, cendol or dawet was served without ice in Java; however, with the introduction of refrigeration technology, cold cendol with shredded ice became available and popular. Once ice became widely available, it is possible that each country developed its own recipes. This explains why it is most popular in Malayan port cities like Malacca, Penang, and Kuala Lumpur, where British refrigerated ships can provide the necessary ice.
A thick, dry Malay dish, Rendang usually features chicken or beef as its main ingredient. Its is a must have item during festival of Hari Raya. Rendang is a spicy dish. Rendang uses coconut milk and a paste of mixed ground spices, including ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chillis, and other spices, in addition to the main meat ingredient. Rendang is frequently served with steamed rice, ketupat (a compressed rice cake), or lemang (glutinous rice cooked in bamboo tubes), as well as vegetable side dishes like boiled cassava leaf, cubadak young jackfruit gulai), cabbage gulai, and lada (red or green chilli pepper sambal)
Literalyy meaning ‘strenched’ or ‘pulled tea’, Teh Tarik is a glass of frothy, steaming hot milky tea, it gets its name from the are of pulling or pouring the tea from one mug to another to increase the aroma and cool down its temperature. Teh tarik is a popular hot milk tea beverage that can be found in restaurants, outdoor stalls, mamaks, and kopitiams throughout Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand.
Touted as Malaysia’s signature dish, Satay consists of skewers of meat barbequed over charcoal fire. It is served with fresh slices of cucumber and a thick peanut dip. Common versions of the satay is chicken, mutton of beef but other varitions are available for more adventurous palates.
Char Kay Teow
An iconic Chinese street food, Char Kuay Teow is a type of flat noodles that is stir-fried over high heat with cockles, prawns, chicken and topped with lots of crunchy bean sprouts. The mouthwatering aroma is the “wok hei,” or wok breath. If you’ve been to Penang and walked down streets with Char Kuey Teow hawkers, you’ll understand what I mean. A great Char Kuey Teow beckons from blocks away, and the enticing aroma fills the air, luring diners in from afar. The mere thought of that smell causes my stomach to grumble. While Char Kuey Teow can be found all over Malaysia, the Penang version is unrivalled. I’ve heard numerous stories about tourists from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, and elsewhere making pilgrimages to Penang in search of a satisfying meal of the dish.
A fluffy Indian flatbread is a favourite at any time of the day. Mostly cooked in outdoor or open kitchens, visitors can often see the roti canai dough being kneaded, stretched and tossed before it is cooked on a griddle.
Air Batu Campur
This is one of Malaysia’s favourite desserts and a great thirst-quencher at any time of day. It’s also known as ABC. When it comes to making this multicoloured dessert, the sky is the limit, but the standard version consists of a bowl filled with shaved ice and topped with an assortment of condiments such as red beans, creamed corn, slivers of jelly, and a generous amount of condensed milk, evaporated milk, and coloured syrup.
Curry Laksa is a fusion of Chinese noodles and Southeast Asian curries that features a bowl of steaming hot noodles topped with creamy, spicy curry. It has bean sprouts, tofu, cockles, shrimp, and long beans on top.