The Top 10 Healthy Malaysian Dishes

Rojak | © FUSIIING/Shutterstock
Michelle Leong

Just because Malaysian cuisine is finger-lickin’ good, doesn’t mean it can’t also be healthy. And hey, we won’t ask you why you’re on a diet — we’ll just show you how to lose the pounds without going dull.

Loved by over 40s

Nasi Kerabu

Nasi Kerabu

This is the dish that gym-goers fantasize about. Protein, fiber, and a healthy dose of blue-colored carbs? Yes, please, and thank you. The Kelantanese cuisine is prepared with herb-infused rice, boiled salted egg, fried fish or chicken, and assorted vegetables on the side. It’s yummy without the tummy.

Ikan Bakar

Ikan Bakar

You don’t know grilled fish until you’ve had Malaysian grilled fish. Marinated with turmeric, ginger, galangal, chili, garlic, fresh lime, and belacan (shrimp paste), this dish will make you ditch those bland, creamed fish fillets and move to Malaysia for real.



Rojak isn’t just local slang for “hodgepodge.” It also also refers to the hodgepodge of pineapple, cucumber, green mango, cucumber, jicama, and — depending on where you are in the country — cuttlefish, deep-fried tofu, or Chinese-style fritters. This healthy cocktail is typically tossed with a sweet shrimp paste with ground peanuts.

Chicken rice

Chicken rice with cucumber slices

This is the reason Malaysians haven’t all become obese yet. Tender poached chicken in runny soy sauce served with rice and a bowl of clear broth? You’ll be coming back for more (without piling on the pounds). The cucumbers on the side will add to your daily fibre intake, too.


Indian Chapati

Alternately spelled “chapati,” this roti (bread) of Indian origin is typically eaten with calorie-laden curries, but you can always “health” it up by filling it with chicken kebab (for the protein) or eating it with plain yogurt. It’s delish either way.

Soft-boiled eggs

Asian popular traditional breakfast of half-boiled eggs with soy sauce and pepper

If you’ve never gone to a kopitiam (coffee shop) and ordered this before, it’s time you did. The soft-boiled eggs typically come in their shells, and you’ll have to crack them open and eat with soy sauce and white pepper. It’s (affordable) protein in a cup.


Pengat, Malaysian Nyonya dessert with sweet potatoes

Occasionally confused with bubur cha cha (another sweet dessert), this Nyonya dessert is made with sweet potatoes steeped and boiled in coconut milk, sugar, and pandan leaves. Banana and yam slices may be added, too. If you’re going for healthy starches, this is it.

Nasi Ulam

Nasi Ulam

This flavorful herb rice salad will make you forget you’re on a diet. Featuring turmeric rice tossed with kaffir lime leaves, shallots, basil, mint, lemongrass, wild betel leaves, and shredded coconut, this dish is all about variety without calories. Add a touch of sambal (spicy shrimp paste) and you’ll be faithful to your diet — and this nasi (rice).

Assam laksa

Assam Laksa

Unlike other noodle soup dishes, this one’s high in fish and low in fat. The broth is typically made with fresh mackerel or yellowtail kingfish, and garnished with pineapples, mint leaves, and bunga kantan. Ask for extra fish and you’ll get your protein’s worth in this sour-spicy, tangy dish.


Nyonya Peranakan Popiah

The Vietnamese aren’t the only ones who can roll it without frying it. Featuring shredded jicama, shrimps, omelette, and fresh lettuce rolled and wrapped up in super-thin, crepe-like rice paper, this wet, flavorful snack is usually cut into bite-sized pieces. No chance of you overeating here.

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