Top 9 Malaysian Foods To Die For

by Mark Wiens on April 26, 2011 · 30 comments

Malaysia is hands down one of the finest destinations in the world to satisfy any culinary yearning.

The dynamic mixture of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisines are just a few of the popular influencing flavors.  Throughout my stay in Malaysia and a number of recurring visits to Kuala Lumpur, I developed an acute addiction to the powerful tastes of Malaysian foods.

Roti Canai

Roti Canai

1. Roti Canai

A roti canai is made from thin dough, cooked into a pasty like bread, and dipped into a fragrant curry sauce for a burst of tastiness. A roti canai makes a flavorful treat anytime of the day, but it is commonly eaten for breakfast along with a cup of milky tea (teh tarik).

Chili Pan Mee

Chili Pan Mee

2. Chili Pan Mee

It all begins with a foundation of freshly cooked noodles followed by a handful of ingredients like minced pork, fried garlic, a runny half poached egg, and a sprinkle of green onions. The signature dried flaky chili sauce is what truly makes chili pan mee one of the great Malaysian dishes, a flavor so delectable that it’s impossible not to boast about.  Super Kitchen chili pan mee is one of the best Kuala Lumpur restaurants to eat the dish!

3. Malaysian Satay

Usually made with beef or chicken, Malay satay’s are mildly marinated and lightly barbecued. They are enjoyed best with a tangy peanut sauce that literally melts in your mouth. Be careful, before you know it, you will have eaten countless skewers without even noticing!

Malaysian Grilled Stingray

Grilled Stingray

4. Grilled Stingray

It’s a fish that can be fatal in the waters, but is nothing short of pure pleasure when it reaches the grill. Wrapped in a banana leaf with a combination of spices, the stingray sops up all of it’s fish juices and retains the brilliant taste of the marinade.

5. Char Kuay Teow

Char kuay teow is a wonderful mixture of stir fried rice noodles along with a choice of meat or seafood and flavored with dark soy sauce. Often an egg is added to the dish, coating the noodles with an even more brilliant taste!

Nasi Campur

Nasi Campur

6. Nasi Campur

There are few things that I get more excited about in life than Nasi Campur. It’s literally an all out feasting competition involving a few of the most powerfully flavorful dishes in the Malay food repertoire. You are given a plate of plain rice and instructed to pile on whatever pre-made dish that suits your liking. I tend to go straight for the chili fish, spiced eggplant, jack fruit coconut curry, and fried okra!

Nasi Kandar

Nasi Kandar

7. Nasi Kandar

Especially famous in Penang, Malaysia, Nasi Kandar is a dish that consists of rice and a choice of different fried meats or Indian style curries. There’s usually an option to order other Malay-Indian delicacies like daal, naan, biryani, or tandoori chicken to accompany a nasi kandar feast!

8. Nasi Lemak

Known as one of the national dishes of Malaysia, nasi lemak is a comfort food and a dish to truly look forward to. There are a number of variations to the dish: the traditional triangle of rice wrapped in a banana leaf (kind of as a snack) and a meal version served on a plate. The plate begins with a scoop of fragrant coconut rice and is accompanied by sides such as dried anchovies, hard boiled eggs, fried chicken, roasted peanuts, and another Malaysian chili sauce to die for!

Malaysian Laksa

Curry Laksa

9. Curry Laksa

All the flavors one could possibly dream of are represented in a single bowl of luscious Malaysian curry laksa. The version I love the most, starts with thin rice noodles that are covered in a rich coconut cream curry. The list of ambrosial toppings includes shredded chicken, shrimp, fried tofu, a handful of cilantro, and finally a juicy squeeze of lime!

This is merely a sample of the meals within the staggering smorgasbord of Malaysian cuisine.  From Penang to Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur to Malacca, there’s so much food to explore in Malaysia!

About the Author:

is the author of 155 posts on Go Backpacking.

Mark was raised in central Africa before migrating back to the US for University. After graduating, he decided to continue traveling the world. On Migrationology, he shares the cultural side of travel from a slow paced local perspective that often revolves around his love for eating all forms of food. Join him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @migrationology, and add him on Google Plus.

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Categories: Features, Food, Malaysia
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30 Comments

Anthony April 26, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Mark you have made me hungry now! Where am I going to find that food in Mexico….arhhhh. A delicious post and the photos are amazing. I would mind trying grilled stingray, sound interesting.

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Mark Wiens April 27, 2011 at 4:47 am

Thanks Anthony, hmmm have no idea about Malay food in Mexico, but please eat some Mexican food for me too!

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Charlotte February 7, 2013 at 11:28 am

u forgot to put about ‘nasi lemak’..i love malaysian food^^

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Anonymous April 27, 2011 at 2:55 am

We got Roti Canai every morning at our hostel as well as loads of other great food when we were in KL recently, loved it!

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Mark Wiens April 27, 2011 at 4:48 am

Great Kristy, I think Malay food has to be one of my all time favorite cuisines, and KL could be one of the greatest eating cities in the world!

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Juno Kim April 27, 2011 at 4:23 am

You are killing me man! I loved Malaysian food. I think I went out for Satay every night. :) Great post!

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Mia April 28, 2011 at 8:48 am

I’ve never tasted such food, and from what I see the Malaysian cuisine is a mix between Indian and Arabic food.

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jaafarzdr December 1, 2011 at 2:57 am

Actually Mia, Malay food is not a mix between indian and Arabic food but has its own unique flavour. It uses more spices and herbs and the level of taste is more complex than either. You should try it to find out!

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Barcelona Apartments May 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm

The curry laksa looks great!! I didn’t know Malay cuisine, as you mention is similar to Thai cuisine

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Amer@TendToTravel May 9, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Wow, you’ve got all of my favourite food in there! It seems like you know Malaysian food exactly like a local!

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Stephen May 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Awesome list. Laksa is definitely the favorite of mine. And it differs slightly from Penang to Melaka to Sarawak. I had it almost every morning while traveling through Malaysia. And I agree, Malaysia is right up there as one of the best food countries.

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Callum Worthington May 21, 2011 at 2:29 am

Ah this makes me reminisce of my time in Kota Kinabalu and the wonderful night market food there! As good as Vietnamese food is, I would love a roti canai right now!

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rob March 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm

I lived there in KL for 3 years, the food is to die for.
roti cani with half boiled egg every weekend,
nasi lemak from the best stall in the golden triangle riigh next to the road traffic
washed down with teh tarik or teh o ice limu.
new visitors to malaysia should be warned that some of the spicy food such as the laksa can upset your stomach.
you forgot cendol the sweet desert
food hygene is not allways the malaysian strong suit, but they have cast iron stomaches
regards

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jan March 24, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Curry is my first love – (sorry Marty) – these photos capture it perfectly – luckily I am having curry for dinner tonight!

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cheryl April 26, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I am Malaysian & I loooovvveee Malaysian food. It is just the best food in the world and not being in Malaysia right now makes me missed the food so much…anything from asam laksa to curry laksa, nasi lemak, char kuey teow, satay, roti canai sends me drooling…..& I make the best braised duck ever, recipe from my mom….yuuummmmm

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Kevin May 4, 2012 at 6:16 am

hi im a malaysian and i currently im not at my home country. After reading this blog , it makes me feels like to return to my home and enjoys all my country food.. great blog , cheers..Try adding Ayam Rendang , Nasi Paprik , Ikan Masak 3 Rasa , Steamed Fish in Chinese Restaurant , Ayam masak Cili Hijau, Grilled Chicken Wing , Oyster with egg..etc. All i can say Malaysia is highly recommended for those who loves to eat when travel.

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Jolene May 15, 2012 at 7:28 am

I am going to Malaysia for the first time in October. I am counting down the days, now that I see that food is there to eat, I want to days to go faster. can’t wait to eat it all.

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Adrian June 10, 2012 at 9:25 am

Yummy! I am a Malaysian and have been promoting Malaysian and roti canai in Kolkata
India,Zhongshan china, and at present in changping(dongguang)china.also nyonya cuisine ! That Malaysian cuisine looks great too you posted looks great too! Well! If you ate in Malaysia do try the nyonya cuisine, it has a flavor of Chinese,Malay,India,Thai, a pinch of Portuguese too,I have teaching and promote nyonya cuisine like pai tee,(top hats,roti canai,mutton curry,nyonya laksa, and many more! Bon appetite !Selamat Makan!

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Adrian June 10, 2012 at 9:36 am

I am a Malaysian chef ! It was great of you mark to loved our food ! Do try nyonya cuisine if you are in Malaysia again!
Best Regards

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sammy July 20, 2012 at 11:47 am

Malaysia has a wide variety of food but the dominant ones are Malay, Indian and Chinese. Nasi lemak (rice dish), rendang ayam (braised sweet and spicy chicken), mee siam (noodles) and nasi campur (rice with few dishes) are the typical Malay food. These dishes usually has coconut milk, chilli, onion, anchovies, lime. Indian food is mainly roti, naan served different types of curries or banana rice leaf which comes with some condiments.
They also alot of coconut milk and spices like turmeric, paprika, cumin, star anise and etc. When you go to any major shopping malls (Pavillion, Lot 10), they will have a food court at the Lower/Underground Floor level and the typical Chinese food you will find is chicken rice (roast or steam chicken), noodle soup, porridge, yong tau foo (fish paste in bean curds, veggies served in soup), bak kut teh (herbal soup with pork with beancurd, fried pastry and rice). If you go to the hawker stalls (Jalan Imbi, Jalan Alor, China town), you will find good stiry fry noodles such as Hokkien noodles (dark soy sauce base), Cantonese noodles (thin rice noodles and flat rice noodles in egg sauce), beef noodles (rice noodles with egg sauce) noodles), yee mee (egg noodles with chicken or pork).

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Radha July 20, 2012 at 9:08 pm

You didn’t mention bak kut teh soup or chicken rice. What about Hokkien mee?

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Elle at Solo Female Nomad July 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Malaysian food is seriously the best food that I have ever tasted. One of my favorites were a malaysian noodle dish; the name I cannot remember, and Roti. Roti is incredible, and I will now be thinking of those for the rest of the evening!

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wizview July 23, 2012 at 7:45 am

Malaysian food is generally taken to mean Malay, Indian & Chinese food, as these are the dominant ethnic groups in the country. Tourists often get confused when describing Malaysian food. There are also serious sensitive religious taboos to eating in Malaysia which tourusts should be aware of

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Sarah September 12, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Curiously, I was just at Singapore last week and I tried quite a number of these foods on the Island itself, and one of my colleagues, a local dude, told me that “laksa”, “char kuay teow”, the “satay” were all Singaporean delicacies! We stayed at Capri by Fraser’s apartment hotels at Changi City, and I headed over to the food center along East Coast Park to try the stuff. I wonder if they’re any different from the ones you mentioned!

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Charlotte February 7, 2013 at 11:32 am

as i know, Singaporean came from Malaysia but ended by made a new country..juz like the combination of chinese,indian etc.

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Rachel October 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Hi Sarah, what if I told you Singaporean themselves often come to Malaysia to grab for delicious foods? Especially Malacca & Penang. The taste of the similar foods in Malaysia is definitely more authentic & taste much more better than Singaporean versions.

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Gary Ng November 8, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Reading this post makes me might proud to be a Malaysian.

Whilst there is no single food that could be considered truly Malaysian (compared to say, Japanese, Korean or Thai), what makes Malaysian food so special is that it is a celebration and blend of the great recipes of the Chinese, Indian and Malay archipelago :D

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tsk December 14, 2012 at 12:31 am

if u like the chili pan mee at super kitchen, u will definitely love kin kin pan mee at jalan tunku abdul rahman, opposite the super kitchen’s main branch. I hv been eating it for the past 15 years.
imho its way better than super kitchen’s. just hv a try when you are in kl.

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Lukas June 26, 2013 at 1:10 pm

CURRY LAKSA mean u kill mu now i stay 1.5 year in malaysia now i working in malay restaurant and i love LAKSA but no curry laksa its so many type of this fish soup why u say curry its special eweryting in this coutry have curry style i thing u need go travel to India there u can feell the curry hehe petople i can say only the best laksa in perak state aroun Kuala Kangsar mniamiiiii ps. who newer try malay food please dont listen another people and dont start fom Penang food meybe sothe meone say its the best DONT START THERE !! go there last .

Lukas

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Lukas June 26, 2013 at 1:12 pm

ps. sorry my english no good :))

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