Over the last few years the West has really adopted Malaysian cuisine. The more familiar Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese and Thai cuisine tended to dominate Western knowledge of Asian styles, however Malaysian food has become a hot commodity in the US, Europe and Australia.
Malaysian dishes reflect the multi ethnic makeup of its population. The vast majority of Malaysia‘s population can roughly be divided among three major ethnic groups: Malays, Chinese and Indians. The remainder consists of the indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia, the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia, the Peranakan and Eurasian creole communities, as well as a significant number of foreign workers and expatriates.
Because Peninsular Malaysia shares a common history with Singapore, it is common to find versions of the same dish across both sides of the border regardless of place of origin, such as laksa and chicken rice. Also because of their proximity, historic migrations and close ethnic and cultural kinship, Malaysia shares culinary ties with Indonesia, as both nations often share certain dishes, such as satay, rendang and sambal.
The Most Beloved Dishes
Satays are probably the most popular for of street food. Marinated beef or chicken is skewered with bamboo kebab-style and grilled. The skewers are usually served with sliced onions, cucumber, rice cubes and a spicy peanut sauce.
Ikan bilis is dried anchovies and they’re often served lightly spiced and mixed with peanuts as a snack, but they also form a critical ingredient in the delicious breakfast dish nasi lemak which is a mix of coconut rice, boiled eggs and spicy shrimp paste.
Nasi dagang comes from the border with Thailand. It’s usually as a mix of different types of rice, cooked with coconut milk and fenugreek and then served with fish curry.
Banana leaf curry comes from the Indian influence in the country. This dish features an assortment of vegetable curries, rice and dhal, served on a banana leaf and eaten with your fingers. It’s a lot of fun to eat and usually very delicious
Laksa is another iconic Malaysian dish. It’s a spicy fish-based soup which is prepared creamy with coconut and loaded with rice noodles.
There are of course thousands of other dishes, but this you a good taste of Malaysian cuisine, one of our favorites.