If I could pick and choose the next country I fly to, I would pick Malaysia. And it would only be because of the food they have there and the amazing Malay dishes I could gorge up. This craving is strongly influenced by my Malaysian flatmate who loves to cook up a storm in the kitchen and flood our apartment with drool-worthy scents. After having tasted quite a variety of Malay dishes, here are some everyone should try:
Nasi lemak could be considered Malaysia’s national dish. If we could put this on the Malaysian flag we could. Yes, it’s quite significant. A little leaf parcel that cradles a bed of coconut rice with spicy sambal, crunchy dried anchovies, cucumber, roasted peanuts and egg. While considered classic comfort food, it’s a showcase of flavours and textures, from the delicate coconut to the brash belacan, the tender bite of rice and the salty crunch of anchovies. It’s by far one of the best Malay dishes I’ve had. Sinful and bad for the heart but incredibly delicious. Best eaten once in a while!
Best eaten in combination with something sweet sambal is a chili sauce. With many variations made with fish, prawn, and even cuttlefish each better than the other! Fresh shrimp are pleasantly cooling against the spicy sambal—which just makes me go back for more sambal, of course. The Malaysian version of salsa minus the red-peppers!
Rendang is beef stewed in coconut milk and spices. It’s not like a curry and traditionally served dry. It’s dark, spicy and somehow tastes sweet as well. It’s traditionally served dry, but in Malaysia, you’ll find it moist most of the times, combined mostly with rice like most Asian dishes. And goes excellently well with ‘Nasi Lemak’ too.
Who doesn’t like barbecued meat on a stick? That peanut sauce paired with a smoky flavour is Malaysian street food at its absolute best. You can serve this as party food for your guests and the best thing about this is that you don’t have to wait long for it to cook. You’ll see satay all over the place in Malaysia, piles of skewers towered in hawker stalls that are tossed on the grill once you pick and choose. See why i want to take the next Malaysia airlines flight out? Imagine an all you can eat satay buffet or satay hopping from street stall to the next 😉
Laksa is a spicy noodle soup dish. There’s two main variations in Malaysia which is Curry Laksa and Asam Laksa. I used to get confused with the two because it didn’t occur to me that they were different. Asam is sour and fishy whereas the curry one is coconut milky. You can actually get Asam Laksa instant noodle from Maggi. However, I prefer the curry one, the rempah (spice paste) of turmeric and ginger and lemongrass, chilies and belacan, imparts flavor to the coconut milk broth; along with noodles, it’ll be topped with shrimp, tofu puffs, cucumber, fish balls, and eggs.
Do you have any favourites among Malay dishes that I should add to this list? Leave a comment below and I’ll try and get my flatmate to make me some 😉
You could even try making some of these yourself. Here are some recipes!
For foods from another country in South East Asia try Vietnam.