When you search a travel website for a restaurant in Malaysia, you might be probably disappointed, for all you see are classy western restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. But, are you really gonna squander your trip experience there? Pretty much the same restaurants are also in your hometown, no? It's totally fine to get in a local family-run restaurant and realize how Malaysian foods are actually good. But, here is the list of what to eat first.
As the taste goes, I would say it gets abreast of Japan's Yakisoba and China's Chow Mien. I call them the big 3 fried noodle moguls. Mee Goreng is a world famous noodle made with vegetables, and prawn or meat, commonly found in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. There is also instant version. You can buy some before you leave for your homeland, so you wouldn't miss Mee Goreng so much at home.
Hainanese Chicken Rice
Who doesn't like chicken? I bet this Malaysian/Singaporean classic is gonna be automatically on your must-eat list when you travel to Malaysia. It's chicken! Hainanese Chicken Rice is an ace of Southeast Asia cuisine commanding due honor from CNN for being one of the 50 best foods in the world. The recipe of Hainanese Chicken Rice is relatively simple, so you may cook home for yourself as a prelude of your travel.
Ask any Malaysian person for a recommendation for Malaysian food and see who doesn't mention of Nasi Lemak? There are bunch of cultists out there chanting the eulogy of Nasi Lemak. It's a Malaysian staple dish that contains rice, coconut milk, cucumbers, and traditional anchovies chili sauce at its core and other various side dishes that would greatly influence the whole dish. My favorite is the one with rendang chicken.
When you first read the name of it, some of you might go "a.... leaf?!" Don't worry, I'm not really recommending munching a raw banana leaf like a herbivore. It's a widely loved dish in Malaysia containing white rice, vegetables, curried meat, pickles and crispy papadum. The banana leaf is not just a container, but also add some fresh scent to the meal that makes the dish more palatable. Of course, like Nasi Lemak, many different side dishes can be added upon.
Funny name, but it's seriously delectable. It's made of grilled fish meat paste mixed with herbs and onions wrapped in a banana leaf. Again, don't swallow it whole. Pick up the meat part from the leaf. In fact, banana leaf is too fibrous for human to digest.
Hokkien Mee (Black Mee)
Don't worry, the black color comes from soy sauce, which is pretty much omnipresent in East Asian cuisines. The main ingredients consist of egg noodles, vegetables, and prawns. But, in the north, Hokkien Mee refers to a spicy prawn noodles soup there. So be careful when you order it. But, black mee and prawn mee are both equally good and worthwhile to give them a try.
After having a tongue-scorching hot and spicy Southeast food, try Cendol. It will make you jump from agony to ecstasy. Don't waste your money on sorbets or frappuccinos. The sweet taste from coconut milk and rice jelly (sometimes also with red beans) can entertain your tongue better.
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Written by Gibbon
Born in Korea, he grew up in Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia. This young self-appointed ascetic abandoned his university and is currently on his spiritual journey in search of true meaning of life roving from mountains to mountains. His weather-torn and hair-covered appearance reminds of some mystical Bigfoot and he looks 20 years older than he is.