Malaysian Delicacies Every Malaysian Loves

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Malaysian Delicacies Every Malaysian Loves

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. Malaysia recently celebrated its 56th Malaysia Day. What makes you most proud of being Malaysian? For many, it has to be the food! Malaysia is a treasure trove for delicious, cheap eats.

Any Malaysian can tell you how much they love food. No food more than the homegrown stuff. It’s delicious, spicy, savory, flavorful, and full of comfort. Here are 10 Malaysian Delicacies every Malaysian loves.

1. Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak is just about as Malaysian as Malaysian delicacies could get. 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 anchoviessliced cucumber, and peanuts. Sometimes it comes with a little touch of salted fish for added umami.

All that mixed into a bite definitely hits home with the bomb of flavor and texture.

2. Satay

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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/ weddings every year. Just so they get to enjoy the addictive peanut sauce on loads of satay and nasi himpit or ketupat.

3. Banana Leaf Rice

banana-leaf-malaysian-delicacies

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What many call the true Malaysian Indian eating experience. Banana Leaf rice is rice served with multiple irresistible sides. The sides include curries, veggies, pickles, and papadom.

What makes banana leaf rice unique though is that it’s served on a banana leaf true to its name. It must be enjoyed with your hands. Some say that’s what makes it taste so good. It’s definitely part of the experience. Finger licking good!

4. Laksa

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. Its origins are hotly debated. Is it actually Malaysian or Singaporean? One thing is for sure. You can’t say it isn’t among any Malaysian’s favorite Malaysian delicacies.

5. Char Kuey Teow

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 the food haven 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 it in Penang.

6. Roti Canai

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Roti Canai is probably the most popular Indian Malaysian delicacy. 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.

7. Cendol

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 or Korean bingsu.

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. The toppings also include peanuts and any kind of fruit. Of course, Durian Cendol is a thing in Malaysia.

8. Rendang

rendang-malaysian delicacies

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Rendang is a spicy tender meat dish created by the Minangkabau people of Indonesia. Think of it as stewed and spiced to perfection, flavor-packed meat. It was originally used as a means to preserve meat in the tropics and as a ceremonial dish. Now it’s just a means for a good foodgasm.

Now it has made commonplace on Malaysian, and Singaporean tablescapes. For Malaysians, rendang is also a celebrations 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

nasi-kerabu-kambing-malaysian delicacies

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. It’s always served with some meat (fish or chicken). Ayam percik is the go-to and most traditional meat side. Then, expect pickles, sambal, keropok, and cut up veggies. Also, roasted/ toasted and ground coconut and fish powder. Which, is definitely what makes the dish.

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

Chicken Rice at Nasi Ayam Thien Thien

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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.

How is a simple rice and chicken dish so delicious? It’s deceptively simple. The dish was originally created and brought by immigrants from Hainan. Now chicken rice is widely popular across all of South East Asia.

This deceptively simple dish even managed to make it into CNN’s world’s 50 best foods list in 2018. So, it’s might in taste is no joke. To add, it’s also quite healthy.

The Malaysian Delicacies Don’t End Here

This list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Malaysian Delicacies. Doesn’t all this food make you proud to be Malaysian? Also, aren’t you glad you live where all this food exists readily? Yum! Malaysians don’t joke when it comes to their food game.

Even if you weren’t as lucky to be born Malaysian, you’ve probably just found enough reason to pay a visit to Malaysia sometime soon. Plan for a trip of flavors down here and you won’t regret it.

If you love food and want to see more of it, follow our Instagram account @myprimabuzz. You’ll get daily posts of aesthetically pleasing, mouth-watering dishes. Check out our PrimaBuzz.com Facebook page too. The food posts don’t disappoint! Also, follow @mybuzzytime for popular local dish recommendations.

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Kuscera Youngblood About the author

Her writing is focused on millennial content. Particularly local content. She's passionate about the local scene and wants more people to know about it through her writing. Check out her articles on primabuzz.com, which she actively writes for.