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12 Best Local Dishes Of Malaysia You Must Try

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Tourist Attractions : Best Local Dishes Of Malaysia You Must Try

Malaysia is a melting pot of many traditions, cultures and people and has many different dishes to offer. There’s something for everyone, from street food to vegetarian meals.

Malaysia offers a wide range of culinary delights for those with an adventurous palate.

A mixture of Indian, Chinese and Malay cuisines makes Malaysia’s best local food. Malaysian cuisine seems like a fusion between all the cultures. They all taste amazing!

Malaysians share a common passion for food. The Malaysian, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or language, is a passionate foodie.

local dish of malaysia

West Malaysia, located in the middle of Southeast Asia has been a major part of the maritime spice trade for many years. At the famous port of Malacca, merchants from India, China, and South Asia exchanged their goods for valuable commodities such as clove, nutmeg and pepper.

Fusion food is a way of life in Malaysia. Malaysian cuisine draws culinary influences from many different sources. This can sometimes make the distinction between ‘local’ and ‘Malaysian’ an extremely contentious issue.

Penang, Kuala Lumpur’s capital, Penang and Ipoh, which are all islands, are magnets for local foodies. However, you can also explore other cities and towns in the country to discover more regional specialties.

We hope you enjoy this guide, which includes 12 Malaysian dishes that we can recommend to you.

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The most famous Malaysian dishes :

Nasi Lemak # 1

This Malay dish is considered the country’s national dish. Nasi, the Malay word meaning rice, is used to describe it. Although it looks easy, each component needs to be prepared.

Nasi lemak, a staple in Malaysian cuisine is a delicious meal that can be enjoyed at any hour of the day. It is made up of fluffy, aromatic rice with coconut milk, pandan leaves, and other herbs. You can also add sambal (spicy condiment), fried anchovies and peanuts to the dish.

Nasi Lemak

The rice must be carefully cooked with pandan leaves and coconut cream (santan). It is usually served with fried anchovies, boiled eggs, cucumber slices, and Sambal (a spicy chili paste).

This dish is a Malay staple. The traditional version of Nasi Lemak, which is a Malay classic, is thought to have originated from a small village in Malacca. According to legend, Mak Kuntum, a widow, would allow her daughter Seri to cook while at work. One day, she accidentally spilled coconut cream into the pot of boiling water.

Beef Rendang # 2

Rendang is a popular type of food in West Sumatra, Malaysia and other parts of the world. This slow-cooked meat dish is made with coconut milk and spices.

It can be made from beef, chicken, duck, or water buffalo, or vegetables like jackfruit and cassava. You can season the meat with various spices, such as galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, and chilies.

Beef Rendang

The meat is cooked slowly in the liquid to tenderize and absorb all the flavours. This slow cooking method is called “slow braising” and it is a great way for beef to be infused with deep flavour.

Rendang, a traditional West Sumatra meat dish, is from the Minangkabau area. It is typically prepared for important ceremonial occasions such as wedding feasts or Hari Raya (Eid al-Fitr).

Large quantities of meat (usually beef) are slow braised with coconut milk and various spices (ginger, turmeric leaves, chilli, galangal, lemongrass, etc.). Once the liquid has evaporated, the meat is ready for eating.

Char Koay Teow # 3

One of Malaysia’s most popular street foods is Char Koay Teow. This delight has a Chinese influence. 

Char Koay Teow

It’s made with thick rice noodles and sauteed with high-temperature charcoal, fat, oyster sauce, egg yolk, soybean sprouts, shrimp, Chinese sausage, and so on.

Laksa # 4

It is a cross between a thick soup and a heavy sauce. The Laksa sauce is what makes a Laksa different. It is the key ingredient that distinguishes each Laksa. 

You can serve it with meat, fish, or tofu. You can make the soup coconut- or tamarind-based. A strong laksa paste brings out the authentic flavor of this dish. It is made with galangal, turmeric and chilies.


The Malaysian fusion cuisine that combines Chinese and Malay/Javanese food is believed to have inspired this spicy noodle dish. It is also popular in neighboring countries like Singapore, Indonesia, and Brunei.

Murtabak # 5

This delicacy is a very popular one that was brought to Malaysia by Indian Muslim traders from the Tamil Nadu region. It is similar to a stuffed pancake. It has egg, onion and spices. It comes with curries and dahl, just like Roti.

This snack is a kind of pancake that’s filled with sweet fillings, like peanuts or sugar. There are more than ten variations of this dish, each with a unique name and different ingredients.


This is one of the most delicious things you can eat in Penang or Kuala Lumpur. It is a delicious combination of sweet and salty. It’s a popular choice of delicious food to try in Malaysia.

Curry Mee # 6

Curry Mee (also known as Curry Laksa) is another Malaysian dish. Imagine a mixture of Indian, Chinese, Thai, Thai, and Malaysian cuisines. Curry Mee will give you that. 

There are many types of laksa. The most popular is the curry laksa. This coconut milk-based curry includes thick rice noodles, chicken and shrimp as well as tofu and bean sprouts.

Curry Mee

Although the noodles used for the curry laksa can vary (it could be yellow noodles or rice vermicelli or thick white noodles), the majority of the curry soup is made with coconut milk.

The broth , which is made from boiling mackerel bones and ground spices and herbs, is a Penang favorite. The broth is served with thick rice noodles, shredded seafood, and sliced vegetables (cucumbers, onions, and lettuce).

Cendol # 7

This dessert is very popular in Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Coconut milk mixed with palm sugar syrup and served with green noodles made from rice and pandan flour. 


You can top it with any kind of topping, even cooked beans. It can be served cold with or without shaved Ice.

Ais Kacang # 8

Ais Kacang also known as Ais Batu Campur (or ABC). Desserts made from shaved Ice are quite common in Southeast Asia and East Asia. However, Ais Kacang is distinguished by its bright multicolored hues and variety of toppings.

Ais Kacang

It usually contains red beans, palms seeds, sweet corn and agar-agar cubes. The mountain of ice can then be drizzled with red rose syrup or condensed milk.

Char Kway Teow # 9

This most popular Chinese dish has been stir-fried in pork fat. However, there are halal versions for Muslim diners.

Its recipe looks simple but it requires a lot skill to fry the rice noodles and soy sauce, chili belacan prawns, and cockles in a wok at high heat.

Char Kway Teow

This dish is a favorite of Penang’s street vendors. Most Malaysians won’t attempt to replicate its unique charred aroma at their home.

Roti Canai # 10

Roti Canai, a Malaysian specialty, is very popular in mornings. It is flatbread served with lentil and curry. This can be enjoyed in street stalls, watching as the vendors make the dough.

Roti Canai

Hainanese Chicken Rice # 11

This dish is a staple of Malaysian and Singapore cuisines. It was invented by Chinese immigrants from Hainan, an island province. 

They adapted their recipe for Wenchang chicken according to the availability of local ingredients-creating a beloved icon in the process.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice is a combination of poached chicken and seasoned rice. It is often served with chili sauce and cucumber slices.

Nasi Goreng Kampung # 12

“Kampung” literally means village. Nasi goreng kampung is a traditional recipe found in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Nasi Goreng Kampung, an Indonesian Fried Rice. It is quick and easy to make a meal from one pot.

Nasi Goreng Kampung

Preparing the chili paste is the most labor-intensive part of the process. The rest of the work is done by frying the rice in olive oil, garlic, belacan (shrimp paste), and anchovies.

FAQs About Food In Malaysia

What is special about Malaysian cuisine?

The use of herbs, spices and traditional cooking methods is the secret to authentic Malay cuisine. The Malay cuisine was a fascinating culinary experience because ingredients were mostly harvested from the backyard or the woods in the past.

Why is Malaysian food popular?

As the cuisine is majorly a combination of Malay, Chinese and Indian because of it’s geographical location; the variety of ingredients is very rich and the taste has become inevitably delicious.

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