Malaysia is the most delicious melting pot in the world. Yeah, we said it, and even better – we’ll back it up with some solid, tasty evidence. Just feast your eyes on this…
1. Char Kuey Teow
Flat rice noodles stir fried with pork lard, bean sprouts, light and dark soy sauce, de-shelled cockles, chilli, belacan, prawns and egg over charcoal fire, giving the dish that beautiful smokiness that always leaves us wanting more… char kuey teow is a classic Malaysian icon.
2. Curry Laksa
Is it any wonder this dish came 2nd on Lonely Planet’s ultimate guide to eating around the world? This rich, coconut-based curry noodle soup is made with a spice paste composed of tumeric, ginger, belacan, lemongrass and chillies. And FYI – nothing beats the explosion of flavour as you bite into a fried tofu puff that’s soaked up this delicious broth.
3. Nasi Kandar
The name of this classic Penang dish stems from the kandar bamboo pole baskets that vendors used to carry the rice and its accompaniments in. It’s made up of steamed rice (sometimes plain, sometimes lightly flavoured) served with curries and other side dishes. Sounds simple, tastes delicious.
4. Char Siew Rice
This ‘fork roasted’ pork is self-explanatory in name, but not in taste. Long strips of boneless, fatty pork are seasoned with honey, five spice powder and all things nice, then speared with a fork, and left to roast over a fire or in an oven to scrumptious perfection. You’ll find char siew pork in other dishes (wantan mee comes to mind) but we love it best paired with rice, which sets off the complex flavour beautifully.
5. Nasi Dagang
Nobody does rice dishes better than Malaysians, and this dish proves it. This rice is cooked not in water but in coconut milk, giving it that refreshing sweetness that complements the accompanying fish curry oh-so-well. It’s traditionally eaten for breakfast, but as the saying goes… don’t save the best for breakfast!
6. Hokkien Mee
So many versions, so little time. Our favourite (though it wasn’t an easy choice!) is the one popularised in KL. Sumptuously thick yellow noodles stir-fried with dark soy sauce and slices of pork, squid, chopped cabbage, and fish cakes.The secret ingredient to its addictiveness? Pork lard. It just makes everything that much better.
7. Bak Kut Teh
The name means ‘meat bone tea’, which accurately captures the essence of this fragrant, tasty dish. We can’t decide if the star of bak kut teh is the melt-in-your-mouth fatty pork ribs or the mouth-watering broth that’s been left simmering for days with pork ribs, garlic, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and more.
8. Roti Canai
Forget croissants. Roti canai is where it’s really at. Delightfully flaky, perfectly buttery, best eaten freshly made and steaming hot. Plus, don’t forget that delicious curry on the side!
9. Nasi Lemak
Of course we had to end this list with nasi lemak. What else would be appropriate? A scoop of gorgeously flavoured coconut rice sitting on a banana leaf, accompanied by some spicy sambal, anchovies, eggs, roasted peanuts and cucumber. Close your eyes and imagine heaven. Do you see nasi lemak in your mind’s eye? Because we do.
Hungry? We don’t blame you – order some now here!