BestMalaysianFood.com is a one stop food guide to resourceful information on popular food and eating outlets found around various parts in this food haven of Asia. We try to answer your basic questions such as ‘What to eat ?’, ‘Where to eat ?’ so that you can enjoy the best local cuisine to satisfy your taste buds.
Introduction to Malaysian Food
Food, and the enjoyment of it, is such an important part of Malaysian culture that locals often greet each other by asking, “Sudah makan?” or “Have you eaten?” Our love for food is no secret, so much so “eating” has often been jokingly referred to as the favourite activity (along with shopping) of Malaysians. Many foreigners who have spent time here will attest to this, without bias – that food in Malaysia is simply amazing!
Malaysian cuisine, as we know and love it today, is the product of centuries of cultural interaction. Long before “globalisation” became a buzz word, the people of this country have been involved in international maritime trade, with spices being one of the main commodities traded. As people from China, India, Arabia and the West, as well as neighbouring Indonesia, came to adopt this land as their permanent home, they introduced new ingredients, flavours and cooking methods that have infused local tastes. Through the passage of time, once exotic flavours became part and parcel of local life.
Upon sampling a selection of local dishes, it isn’t hard to see (and taste) that the fare consists of mainly Malay, Chinese and Indian foods, representing the three main ethnic groups in Malaysia. In addition to this, Nyonya cuisine has also set itself apart, as it deliciously combines Malay and Chinese flavours. East Malaysia also boasts an array of tantalising delicacies. Sarawakian culinary delights, such as Laksa Sarawak and Kek lapis have become well-loved treats.
Due to the Malaysian affinity for strong flavours, particularly hot, sweet, sour and spicy, many elements of Thai, Indian-Muslim and Portuguese foods have also been expertly blended with Malaysian fare. As a result, the assortment of flavours available to Malaysian cooks help to enhance staples like rice and noodles, of which there are many varieties. The humble white rice, however, is a main feature at lunch and dinner, in virtually all Malaysian homes. Usually served with a number of side dishes, it is the epitome of a home-cooked meal.
When discussing national favourites, foods like nasi lemak and roti canai are the first to come to mind, along with the likes of nasi campur and nasi ayam. Then, there are also foods eaten as a special treat, like satay and chilli crab. Specialties from Malaysia’s 13 states are not to be forgotten, such as Terengganu’s nasi dagang, Kelantan’s laksam, Johor’s laksa Johor, Penang’s assam laksa, Melaka’s asam pedas, Pahang’s gulai lemak ikan patin and much more.
Adding to this exotic and never-ending plethora of flavours, is an assortment of fermented, salted and pickled taste enhancers and condiments. From belacan and budu, to tapai and tempoyak, many Malaysians tend to exhibit a love for all things pungent. Harking back to those indelible kampung roots, there are also quaint delicacies that are still foraged from the land, such as pucuk paku, siput sedut, petai, kerdas and jering. In short, a foray into Malaysian cuisine is nothing short of an epicurean adventure… a definite thrill for the taste buds!