Malaysia is a food-lover’s paradise, boasting cheap prices, traditional techniques and mouth-watering local cuisine. This vast country is packed with colourful food stalls, making it easy for travellers wanting to get a taste of Malaysian fare. Here are 15 delicious Malaysian street food dishes you need to make room for.
A cultural icon of Malaysia, nasi lemak is a dish is not to be missed. Fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk is paired with roasted peanuts, crunchy anchovies, boiled eggs, and most importantly, the sweet-spicy sambal. Culture Trip recommends pairing it with fried chicken for an indulgent, finger-licking meal. You can usually find nasi lemak served at many kopitiams, Malay restaurants and roadside stalls.
Satay is a popular Malaysian street food. Simply composed of seasoned meat skewered on a bamboo stick, this dish is meticulously grilled over hot fire. There are several options available including chicken, mutton and beef. Once done, this mouthwatering treat is served with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce.
This famous cheap eat is so popular that it has even graced the shores of New York City. A favourite among Malaysian locals as a late night snack, this Malaysian-style burger can be easily found at food stalls all over the Kuala Lumpur. Depending on the stall owner, you can find up to 10 types of Ramly burger offered.
If there’s any food that symbolises Malaysia, it would be rojak, which means mixture in Malay. The sweet version of rojak mainly consists of fruits and vegetables. The savoury type is usually made of fried bean curds, cut vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and other fritters. Both are coated with thick sauce that tie it together. This dish is best enjoyed freshly made – the food will become too soggy if you wait too long.
Fried bee hoon
Another staple Malaysian breakfast staple fried bee hoon is a simple dish widely enjoyed by locals. Grab yourself a plate of this delicious rice vermicelli and top it with fried eggs, sausages, and whatever takes your hungry fancy.
A popular lunch dish, chicken rice can be easily found at hawker centers all over Kuala Lumpur. This steamed chicken dish comes with a healthy drizzle of soy sauce and slices of cucumber for a refreshing crunch. Typically, you can also find roast pork belly and barbecued pork at these stalls if you feel like indulging yourself a little more..
The combination of sour and spicy in this fish broth will definitely have you wanting more. Many ingredients are used to create Assam laksa’s tantalising flavour, including shrimp paste, fresh shallots, and slices of pineapple.
Served from the back of a truck, lok-lok is another favourite late night snack for locals. At the back of the truck you will find luscious sticks of meat and vegetables, ready to be cooked in the hot pot. This convenient food is also budget-friendly.
Chee cheong fun
These thin rice noodle rolls, originally created in China, aren’t hard to find because they’re so popular. Chee cheong fun is typically topped with sweet soy sauce, along with various types of stuffed vegetables and fried morsels.
Char kway teow
Almost nothing can top a plate of greasy, savoury char kway teow. This famous street food dish can be found all over the country. Topped with prawns and bean sprouts, it will have you hooked from the first bite.
Kway teow soup
This warm bowl of silky noodles will have you slurping it all down before you realize it. The noodles are drenched in a clear broth made from chicken, prawn or fish. Toppings include fish balls, meat slices, vegetables, spring onions and at times, roasted garlic.
End your meal with something sweet. Tong sui stalls offer a fantastic array of desserts. Options include red bean soup, green bean soup, black-eyed pea soup, peanut paste soup, black glutinous rice soup and wheat porridge.
The perfect on-the-go dessert, apom balik is made wonderfully satisfying by a crunchy shell and sweet fillings. The most common filling combination for this palm-sized treat includes sugar, sweetened corn and crushed peanuts. It’s no wonder many find it hard to resist.
The easiest way to escape from the Malaysian heat is with a bowl of cendol. This popular dessert, served with a generous bowl of shaved ice, is topped with green rice flour jelly, coconut milk and palm sugar syrup. Cendol is one of the best cheap desserts in Malaysia, with the combination of sweet and cold guaranteed to have you slurping away in no time.
Affectionately known as the King of Fruits, durian is regarded to have a foul smell, yet wonderful and complicated flavours. Despite its thorny shell, the flesh is quite the contrast – being soft and smooth. The durian season usually peaks around June to July and it is a bucket-list experience during your visit to Malaysia.