Malaysia is a multicultural country with diverse food cultures that reflect the influence of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and other ethnic cuisines. Malaysian cuisine is known for its unique blend of flavors, spices, and textures. Rice is a staple food in Malaysia, and it is often served with various curries, vegetables, and meat dishes. Noodles are also a popular food, and they are usually served with a variety of sauces and toppings. One of the most popular dishes in Malaysia is Nasi Lemak, which consists of coconut milk-infused rice served with various sides such as fried anchovies, peanuts, sliced cucumbers, boiled eggs, and spicy sambal sauce.
Malaysia also has a variety of snacks and desserts, such as kuih (small, sweet cakes), cendol (a dessert made of shaved ice, coconut milk, and pandan-flavored noodles), and kaya toast (toasted bread spread with coconut jam). Overall, Malaysian food culture is a reflection of the country’s diverse heritage and traditions, and it is known for its bold flavors and unique culinary combinations.
Here are some signature dishes that represent the taste of Malaysia which have evolved through the years to have more local traits in them.
Photo: Satay Kajang Haji Samuri
Skewered grilled meat such as chicken, beef, lamb paired with rich peanut sauce and sambal – the perfect condiment to enhance the taste of the satay.
Google Map Locations and Reviews – Satay
- Sate Kajang Hj. Samuri | G Flr, Bangunan Dato Nazir, Jalan Kelab, 43000 Kajang, Selangor – Satay Kajang Hj. Samuri’s succulent and flavorful skewered grilled meat is definitely a class above.
Hours: Mon – Sun | 10.30 am – 8.30 pm
Tel: 03-8737 1853
Website: satekajang.com.my | Other Locations
- Willy Satay | Branches: Kajang, Puchong, Keramat Mall (KL), Taman Medan (PJ), Shah Alam, Johor (BBU, Gelang Patah, Larkin, Seri Alam) – popular with thousands of positive reviews
- Satay Station | Main: 55, Jalan Pandan Kemajuan A, Kampung Pandan Dalam, 55100 Kuala Lumpur | Branches: Klang Valley and Port Dickson (Negeri Sembilan) – Beef satay is very chunky and juicy
- Satay Zainah Ismail | 1077, Lorong Kiri 20, Kampung Datuk Keramat, 54000 Kuala Lumpur – Amazing reviews
- Satay Semeling 8770 @ Abang Din & Kak Shah | 12, Jalan Raya Semeling, Kampung Mata Hari Naik, 08100 Bedong, Kedah
Mee Goreng Mamak
Photo: Teh Tarik Place
Fresh egg noodles stir fried with tofu, veggies, potatoes, cucur udang (prawn fritters), fresh prawns, chicken meat, egg, chili paste and soya sauce. The recipe to a delicious plate of mee mamak goreng lies in the sauce that is usually made with roots such as shallots, garlic to boost flavor and with the right amount of sweetness, saltiness and spiciness.
- Sri Steven’s Corner | OUG | Facebook | No. 74, Jalan Hujan Rahmat 2, Taman OUG, KL
- Teh Tarik Place | tehtarikplace.my | Various Locations in Klang Valley
- Nasi Kandar Pelita | Various Locations in Malaysia
- Melur and Thyme | Add: A-G-15, Blok A, Jalan PJU 1A/3J, Taipan 1, Ara Damansara, 47301 PJ, Selangor | melurandthyme.com
Photo: Deen Maju
A truly Malaysian food, Nasi Kandar originates from Penang. Customer picks from a wide variety of dishes and curries to go with white rice. The rule of thumb, there has to be an overflowing amount of sauce/ curry to banjir (flood or drench) the rice.
- Deens Maju Nasi Kandar | 170, Jalan Gurdwara, George Town, Penang – Definitely local’s top choice of nasi kandar stall, with over 7k mostly amazing reviews on Google | DeenMajuFacebook – Great curry and fried chicken
- Tajuddin Hussain Nasi Kandar | 45-63, Queen St, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang | TajuddinHussainFB
- Restoran Nasi Kandar Line Clear
- Penang: Beside 161 & 177 Penang Road, George Town, 10000 George Town
- KL: 170, Jalan Raja Abdullah, Kampung Baru | Facebook
- Restoran Kudu Bin Abdul | 335, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Chow Kit, KL
- Original Kayu Nasi Kandar | Branches
Penang: No. 15, Lebuh Nipah, Bukit Jambul, 11900 Bayan Lepas
Klang Valley: SS2, Nu Sentral, Platinum Sentral, Kota Damansara, PJ33, Sri Damansara, Mid Valley City, Cheras, Jalan Duta, Bangsar
- Hameediyah Restaurant | can order from Grab or foodpanda
- Nasi Kandar Pelita Ampang KL | Add: No. 113, Jalan Ampang, 50450, Kuala Lumpur | Tel: 03-2162 5532 | pelita.com.my
Chef Fauzey Nasi Lemak Goreng
Photo: Chef Fauzey Nasi Lemak Goreng
This food truck located behind the old bus station at PJ Old Town, Section 3, offers a very unique twist to Malaysian good ol’ nasi lemak. The rice is fried with Chef Fauzey’s secret spice mix instead of the usual rice cooked in coconut milk. Popular side dishes are the ayam goreng berempah (spiced fried chicken) and sambal prawns. Long queue during dinner time when the stall opens. A meal would cost less than RM10.
Location: Jln Othman Bus Station, Petaling Jaya
Hours: Monday – Friday | 6.30 p.m – 10.30 p.m
Tel : 019 376 5886 | Chef Fauzey Facebook
Photo: Ana Ikan Bakar Petai
Fish (Siakap (Seabass), Snapper, Tilapia, etc.) or other seafood grilled with chili paste (dried chili, ginger, garlic, onions, dried shrimps, turmeric, galangal), tamarind juice, kaffir lime leaf, brown sugar, salt wrapped in banana leaf. This dish is aromatic, crispy, spicy, with a sharp tartness, perfect to eat with white rice.
- Ana Ikan Bakar Petai | Jalan Tanjung Lumpur 26060 Kuantan, Pahang | +60 13-998 9175 | AnaFacebook – Here you can pick from their wide selection of fresh seafood spread, and the cooking style to go with the seafood of your choice. Their specialty is the ikan bakar petai (stink beans).
- Ikan Bakar Seri Melaka, Jalan Bellamy | No 2, Medan Ikan Bakar Jalan Bellamy, Off, Jalan Bukit Petaling, 50460 Kuala Lumpur | SeriMelakaWebsite – There are a few ikan bakar stalls there, Seri Melaka is in the middle.
Banana Leaf Rice
Photo: Kanna Curry House
Rice, 3 vegetarian dishes served on a banana leaf with generous amount of thick and flavourful fish/ chicken/ mutton curry gravy, condiments such as rasam, raita (yoghurt salad) & poppadum. Top it off with the side dishes of your choice; fried chicken/ squid/ fish, chicken curry, asam fish, etc. You have the right balance of taste and spice.
Google map locations and reviews
Locations (Klang Valley)
- Kanna Curry House | 29, Jalan 17/45, Seksyen 17, Petaling Jaya, Selangor | +6016-201 6920 | KannaFacebook | Branches in PJ, Kepong, Puchong, Klang
- Acha Curry House | 42, Jalan SS 2/4a, SS 2, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor | AchaFB
- Sri Nirwana Maju Restaurant | 43, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar, KL
- Bala’s Banana Leaf | 25, Lorong Ara Kiri 1, Bangsar, KL
- Curry Leaf Seremban | 1273-1275 Jalan Rasah, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan | CurryLeafSerembanFB