Foodies will be excited in Malaysia! The different ethnic groups have different cooking traditions and recipes, and there are some delicious fusion dishes to tempt visitors too. On peninsular Malaysia, you’ll find Malay, Indian, and Chinese dishes on menus. Neighbouring countries and former colonial powers have also had an influence on Malaysia’s food scene, with elements found from typical dishes in Thailand, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the UK. There are several similarities with the cuisine in Singapore and Indonesia, and Peranakan groups have also made their mark on Malaysia’s gastronomy.
Vegetarian and Muslim travellers
Vegetarian travellers will find it relatively simple to dine in Malaysia, with an abundance of Chinese restaurants that serve pure vegetarian dishes and veggie- (and vegan-) friendly Indian dishes aplenty. Muslim travellers will have no difficulties finding halal meats.
The best dishes to try
Common dishes include various curries over rice, the unique fish head curry, noodles, a Malay meal called laksa, roti, popiah, soups, chilli crab, oyster omelet, rendang, fried chicken, and spicy sambal.
- Roti Canai – Sweet or savory. (Milo Roti Canai is amazing) Roti Canai is a type of elastic dough between a pancake/crepe and bread. Its delicious. When savoury you dip it in a curry sauce.
- Banana Leaf – Rice, choice of curries and a mix of other accompaniments all on a banana leaf. Eat with you right hand (no knife and fork!)
In Malaysian Borneo, the cuisine has been influenced by the various indigenous groups that have long inhabited the island. Some similarities can be found with Indonesia and mainland Malaysia, though in general there have been fewer outside influences on Bornean cooking. Rice is a staple in most areas and seafood is popular. Locally found herbs, wild plants, and fruits are often used as ingredients.
Sarawak laksa is popular in both Sarawak and Sabah. Other dishes to try when travelling in Malaysian Borneo include:
- Marut salted meat dish of jaruk
- The unique kolok mee egg noodles
- The Iban dish of mansok pansoh
- The Kadazandusun dishes of pinasakan and hivana
- Ambuyat from Brunei
- Also look out for belacan, midin, tuhau, and kueh chap.
Food Lovers go to Penang (Georgetown) the capital of food of South East Asia!