Malaysian food is renowned for its diversity and blend of spices. It is a vital part of any visitor’s experience in this country, and below is a general guide as to what culinary delights to expect in Malaysia.
Due to the great diversity of cultures in Malaysia, food recipes are based on an interesting mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures, creating an abundance of food and styles to suit all tastes.
One of the main characteristics of Malaysian food is that it is often hot and spicy. If you are not used to spicy food, a glass of sugarcane, coconut water or plain water could save your pallet!
Malaysian food is normally accompanied by rice or noodles and consists of meat or fish dishes accompanied by vegetable dishes that are often steamed and very healthy. Food is often dipped into sambal belacan, made up of shrimpt paste, fresh chillies, anchovies and tamarind juice.
Marinated pieces of meat on bamboo skewers are barbequed over a charcoal fire. Satays come in many varieties of meat; chicken, beef, mutton, pork and even seafood. Satay is dipped into a satay sauce before it is eaten. If you are not used to spicy food, use the sauce moderately or you will run the risk of burning your taste buds. Besides the sauce, satays are also eaten with sliced onions, cucumber and “ketupat” (Malaysian rice cakes).
This is rice cooked in rich coconut milk and pandan leaves. Nasi Lemak is a popular Malay dish in Singapore. It is eaten with fried ikan billis (or anchovies), nuts, egg and fish. Nasi Lemak is often accompanied by a specially made chilli paste. You can make your own Nasi Lemak combinations in most Nasi Lemak food stalls. Side dishes like luncheon meat, fried chicken wings and fish cakes also go well with this Malay coconut rice.
Rice noodles soaked in rich, spicy soup, is another specialty. The main ingredients of the soup are lemon grass, shrimp paste, coconut milk and, of course, red hot chillies! Served with half-cooked clams, shredded chicken, tofu (or beancurd), bean sprouts, nuts and hard-boiled egg, its aroma is quite delicious. If you enjoy very hotly spiced food, ask for sambal chilli paste to be added to your laksa.
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