Malaysia is a treasure trove for delicious, cheap eats. Malaysian delicacies are deceptively simple. But, are packed with unique flavor profiles that leave you craving more every time. Chefs flock to the country for inspiration and to get a taste of all the flavors.
That’s a testament to how good the food is there. If you’re not yet versed on the top Malaysian delicacies, keep reading. Here are the top 10 most delicious Malaysian delicacies. If you’ve yet to try any, be sure to add them to your food bucket list.
1. Nasi Lemak
Image via wikipedia.com
Delicacies don’t get anymore Malaysian than Nasi Lemak. Its name literally translates into “fat rice”. But, not without reason because it lives up to its name. Malaysian’s overlook its sinful goodness because it’s a home run of Malaysian flavors.
Get fragrant, rich, and fluffy coconut pandan rice. Topped with spicy with a hint of sweet sambal. A side of fried-to-perfection spiced chicken, rendang/ curry or a boiled egg. Finished off with crispy fried anchovies, sliced cucumber, and peanuts.
Image via thespruceeats.com
Dubbed the Malaysian kebab. Satay is flavor bomb marinated meat skewered on bamboo sticks. That is then grilled to smoky perfection. And, served with spicy sweet peanut sauce. Sometimes also with nasi himpit (compressed rice) or ketupat.
Satay is a celebrations staple delicacy. Any Malaysian longs for Eid every year. Just so they get to enjoy the addictive peanut sauce on loads of satay and nasi himpit or ketupat.
3. Banana Leaf
Image via goodyfoody.com
What many call the true Malaysian eating experience. Banana Leaf is rice served with multiple irresistible sides. The sides include curries, veggies, pickles, and papadom.
What makes banana leaf unique though is that it’s served on a banana leaf true to its name. Just as important, it should be enjoyed with your hands. Finger licking good!
Just about every state in the country has its own version of the truly Malaysian delicacy, laksa. And everyone will come to bat and say their state’s laksa is the best. Never heard of laksa? Well, laksa is essentially a bowl of noodles in an aromatic, creamy seafood broth.
The love Malaysians have for this bowl of rich spicy noodle goodness goes without say. The late food legend, Anthony Bourdain even named Sarawak Laksa one of the world’s best dishes.
5. Char Kuey Teow
Image via nyonyacooking.com
Char kuey teow is essentially stir-fried flat rice noodles. It’s done at lightning speed with few ingredients. But comes out every time as slightly charred perfection.
It’s cheap, quick, available almost everywhere, and insanely delicious. What more could you ask for in a dish?
Char Kuey Teow is now synonymous with Penang. And, any Malaysian will tell you that the island makes the best in the country. You can’t say you’ve tried good char kuey teow till you’ve had the chance of trying the delicacy in Penang.
6. Roti Canai
Image via kuali.com
Roti Canai is probably one of the most popular Indian Malaysian delicacies. It’s the Malaysian take on Indian flatbread. And, was originally brought to the region by Indian immigrants. Who, came from Chennai, hence the name.
Roti canai is traditionally served with curry or dhal. But is also popularly enjoyed as sweet variants. Why is this simple flatbread so loved? Simply because it’s cheap but insanely delicious.
Image via penangfoodie.com
The go-to Malaysian delicacy to cool off in the sweltering tropic heat. It’s a bowl of sweet, creamy, and cold hodgepodge. It’s very similar to Philipino halo-halo.
Cendol gets its name from the worm-like green jelly found in every bowl of cendol. Along with the green jelly, you get shaved ice, palm sugar, red beans, sago, and coconut or evaporated milk. Besides that, you can even get corn, nata de coco jelly, or longans in a bowl.
Image via rasamalaysia.com
Rendang is a spicy meat dish created by the Minangkabau people of Indonesia. It was originally used as a means to preserve meat in the tropics and as a ceremonial dish.
Now it has made commonplace on Indonesian, Malaysian, and Singaporean tablescapes. For Malaysians, rendang is a celebration staple food. Be it of chicken, beef, or lamb. It’s always paired with rice, lemang, or ketupat.
Many Malaysians will tell you that rendang is one of the best highlights of every Eid or celebration.
9. Nasi Kerabu
Image via youtube.com
This Malaysian delicacy originates from the Peninsular state of Kelantan. And, is highly popular in Terengganu as well as some parts of Southern Thailand. However, you can get it all over Malaysia.
Nasi kerabu is a distinct rice dish. Always served with meat (fish or chicken), pickles, sambal, keropok, and salads. But why is it distinct?
Simply because its rice is interestingly colored blue. Which is made by cooking rice with butterfly-pea flower petals. Nasi kerabu is a must try it for it’s sharp, aromatic, and unique flavors.
10. Chicken Rice
Image via tasty.com
What is a Malaysian delicacies list without the cheap eats staple of chicken rice on it? We all grew up eating it and loving it. You can get it anywhere in Malaysia, steamed or roasted, for a bargain.
It is a dish originally created by immigrants from Hainan. Now chicken rice is widely popular across all of South East Asia.
You’ve probably just found enough reason to pay a visit to Malaysia sometime soon. Plan for a trip of flavors down there and you won’t regret it. If you already live there, then lucky you! Make sure you’ve checked all these dishes off your list.