Malaysia malay cuisine · Malay cuisine in Malaysia  TodayTourism All Destinations | Europe | Asia | North America | Africa | South America | Oceania | Hotels

Malay cuisine in Malaysia


Malay cuisine in Malaysia

Nasi lemak with sambal ikan bilis (curried dry anchovies), cucumber, chicken curry, pork floss and an egg
Nasi lemak with sambal ikan bilis (curried dry anchovies), cucumber, chicken curry, pork floss and an egg
The Malays were Malaysia's original inhabitants, besides the Orang Asli. Subtlety is not a priority in Malay cooking, as it is characterized by a liberal use of spices (the most important are star anise, cinnamon/cassia, cardamom and cloves - dubbed rempah empat beradik or the four spice siblings), pungent edible rhizomes (mainly galangal, ginger and turmeric), coconut milk (santan in Malay), and occasionally fresh herbs (lemongrass, fresh coriander, pandan leaves and various kinds of wild herbs or ulam). Most Malay dishes are curries, stews or dips of one kind or another, but all full of flavour.
  • Nasi lemak (lit. "creamy rice") is the definitive Malay breakfast, consisting at its simplest of rice cooked in light coconut milk or coconut cream, some fried ikan bilis (anchovies), peanuts, slices of cucumber and a dab of chilli on the side. Originally, the 'ikan bilis' was cooked together with the chilli & spices to make "sambal tumis ikan bilis" but it makes more commercial sense to the business man to have them separated as it is easier to make & the fried anchovies will last longer. A larger fried fish or chicken wing are common accompaniments. More often than not, also combined with a variety of curries and/or sambal (see below).
  • Rendang, occasionally dubbed "dry curry", is meat stewed for hours on end in an intricately spiced (but rarely fiery) curry paste until almost all water is absorbed. Beef rendang is the most common, although relatively recent variations with chicken and mutton are not uncommon.
  • Sambal is the generic term for chilli-based sauces of many kinds. Sambal belacan is a common condiment made by mixing chilli with the shrimp paste belacan, while the popular dish sambal sotong consists of squid (sotong) cooked in red chilli sauce. Sambal ikan bilis, a common accompaniment to nasi lemak, consists of small dried fish with onions, chilli and sugar.
  • Satay are barbecued skewers of meat, typically chicken or beef. What separates satay from your ordinary kebab is the slightly spicy peanut-based dipping sauce.
  • Kangkung belacan is water spinach wok-fried in shrimp paste (belacan) and hot chilli peppers.
  • Mee rebus is egg noodles served in a sweet and slightly spicy sweet potato-based gravy, usually with a slice of hard boiled egg and some lime.

  • The Most Frequently Asked Travel Questions about Malaysia


    Where To Stay & Best Hotels in Malaysia - updated Jul 2024

    SAVE up to 75% on Last Minute deals! Search for discount Malaysia hotels, motels, apartments, hostels, guest accommodations and vacation resorts. Book now and pay at the hotel. Instant email confirmation!


    >>> SEARCH FOR DEALS <<<

    WHERE TO TRAVEL NEXT IN 2020


    Malaysia Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

    Europe | Asia | North America | Africa | South America | Oceania | All Destinations