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FOOD PORN: 15 Malaysian dishes to lust over

Ahhh Malaysia, an absolute foodie haven, where you’ll want to be eating six meals a day just to try everything on offer! With fusions of flavour from neighbouring countries and street vendors putting their own spin on dishes, you can rest assured your taste buds will never be bored. So get your baggy top/ stretchy shorts at the ready and prepare to indulge in some of the punchiest flavours of Southeast Asia….

1. Curry Laksa

 

A street food classic, this spiced coconut broth is packed full of flavour and topped with noodles, tofu puffs, shrimp, egg, fish balls and cucumber. Definitely getting bang for your buck!

2. The Roti Canai

Roti Canai (cha-nay) transcends all meal times. This flaky bread-pancake hybrid is perfect at any time of day (especially appreciated at 4am), and is used to lap up fragrant daal or is a delicious dish in its own right. Bit of a sweet tooth? opt for a mango, banana and honey version as an indulgent breakfast.

3. Satay

Yep, you’ll find this pure-peanutty heaven in the markets of Malaysia too! Skewered, seasoned meat is grilled and served with (hopefully a mountain of) spicy peanut sauce on top.

4. Nasi Lemak

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When in doubt choose Nasi Lemak. This Malaysian staple will keep you well fed through eight-hour bus journeys and beyond. Coconut rice, crunchy peanuts, fresh cucumber, crispy dried anchovies and spicy sambal make this the ultimate comfort food.

5. Beef Rendang

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A definite must-try for any meat eater. The rendang fuses slow-cooked tender beef with turmeric, ginger, kaffir lime and chili, creamy coconut and some added tang from the asam keping fruit.

6. Sambal Udang

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When it comes to Malaysian food, you can bet your bottom dollar there’ll be a shout out to sambal: a blend of chilies, shrimp paste and calamansi lime. Juicy fresh ‘udang’ (prawns) are smothered and stir fried in this tasty paste for a simple yet tasty meal.

7. Hokkien Mee

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Like a lot of Malay dishes, Hokkien Mee varies from region to region, and vendor to vendor, making sure you come back for a second try. The main ingredients are sliced pork, prawn and squid with egg and rice noodles. Kuala Lumpur serves it up dark and sticky whilst Penang go for a more broth-based option with a little added sambal (of course)!

8. Popiah’s

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Similar to a fresh spring roll, these thin and crispy wheat crepes filled with shredded veg and sometimes tofu or meat are a flavoursome snack or accompaniment to a Malaysian curry.

9. Kaya (coconut jam)

This is the kind of spread that you want to get a giant spoon and eat straight out of the tub it’s that tasty! Made from coconut milk, eggs and sugar, buy a tub from your nearest supermarket and turn that hostel free toast breakfast from zero to hero in minutes

10. Fish Head soup

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Not for the faint hearted. This dish delivers what it says in the title: a whole fish head stewed with vegetables, tangy tamarind and coconut milk.

11. Char Kuey Teow

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Woken up ever so slightly worse for wear? No worries, this national favourite is the answer! Thick, flat rice noodles are stir fried in pork fat, dark soy sauce, chili and belacan with prawns, beansprouts and egg. Stodgy enough to soak up all the efforts of last night, and yummy enough to finish the whole plate and then some.

12. Yellow watermelon

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Who knew? Just as refreshing as its red sister, this tropical holiday mascot can be picked up at most Malaysian fruit markets, ready to be chopped up and teeth sunken into on the go.

13. Salak (Snake fruit)

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Not only is this bizarre ‘snake-skin’ fruit fun to peel all in one go (waiting for a bus type entertainment) it contains the sweetest, fleshy segments inside.

14. Teh Tarik

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What the pumpkin-spice latte is to Starbucks, Teh Tarik is to a Kopi Tiam. Black tea is poured back and forth from two vessels to give it a frothy top before being mixed with condensed milk. The perfect accompaniment to your morning Roti Canai.

15. Cendol

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For a sweet snack, give a cup of this a go! Shaved ice, brown palm syrup, coconut milk and the star of the show: small strands of green dough made of rice and tapioca flour aka the ‘cendol’.

Has this got your little foodie heart desperate for a taste of Malaysia? Then head on over to our travel guide to a destination that is so hot right now… Langkawi.
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