In an age when the term underrated gets chucked with impunity, it could be tricky to take us seriously when we say Malaysian food is not getting the worldwide recognition it deserves.

The amount of several delicious ingredients, Malaysian cuisine’s influences include Chinese, Indian and Malay.

In certain ways, it is much like Indonesian food, together with the two countries sharing several of the very same dishes. (Caution: debates over dish roots can turn nasty in these parts — such as the fire of the area’s food lovers.)

Regardless, as soon as you’re in Malaysia and eating, you will quickly dispense with historic concerns and wonder rather where your next meal is coming from and how you can you get to it earlier.

1. Mee Goreng Mamak

This Indian Muslim dish is the entire package. Yellow noodles. Beef or chicken. Shrimp. Soy sauce, veggies, and eggs. A little chili chucked in for an irresistible shock.

Regrettably, you can try to replicate this one in your home, but it is simply not going to taste the way it did when you chowed down in the gritty Malaysian hawker stall.


2. Nasi Lemak

Nasi lemak Malaysia’s unofficial national dish. Everyone else calls it yummy. Nasi lemak is rice cooked in coconut milk. It is the sides that matter.

Based on where you are in Malaysia, it includes many different accompaniments like hard-boiled egg whites, vegetables, lamb/chicken/or beef curry, fish and sambal (chili-based sauce).

Nasi lemak is traditionally eaten for breakfast but nowadays people are ordering it any time of day.

3. Rendang (beef, chicken or lamb)

Though sometimes erroneously referred to as a curry, Malaysian food aficionados point out that this luminous cauldron of coconut milk and spices is nothing of this type.

The difference is in how it’s ready: slowly simmered (to allow the meat absorb the spices) before the rosy liquid completely evaporates.

A popular, especially during festive seasons, rendang is located across Malaysia.


4. Laksa

A staple of Malaysian cuisine, laksa eateries have been migrating abroad recently, making appearances in Bangkok, Shanghai and further afield.

There are several variations. For anybody who enjoys a taste of this volcanic kind, this hot noodle soup can get you there in its curry form.

Some like it with fish, others prawns. Our favorite is Penang’s Assam laksa, where tamarind features heavily (“asam” is Malay for tamarind) to make a spicy-sour fish broth.

5. Satay

Though considered by many to be a dish native to Thailand, satay is really thought to have originated in Indonesia.

Malaysia has its own variants of this grilled skewers, served nationally in poultry, beef or pork forms (the latter in non-Muslim venues only).

Sauces differ from area to area, for example, peanut sauce that’s adored around the world.


6. Char Kuey Teow

Another one to thank China’s migrants for, char kuey Teow — produced with rice noodles — is one of Southeast Asia’s most popular noodle dishes.

The noodles are fried with pork lard, light and dark soy sauce, chili, de-shelled cockles, bean sprouts, Chinese chives and sometimes prawn and egg.

Essential to the dish is great “wok hei” or breath of wok, the tastes and qualities imparted by cooking on a wok with high heat.

7. Chai Tow Kway

In this dish, rice flour and grated white radish are blended and cooked into big slabs or cakes.

These are cut up into small pieces and fried with preserved turnip, soy sauce, fish sauce, eggs, garlic and spring onions.

You can have it “white” or “black” (with sweet dark soy sauce included). Also called fried carrot cake or chye tow kueh, this grease-laden belly warmer can be obtained at several hawker centers.

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