Street food of Malaysia is packed up with tasty, delicious and mouth-watering dishes which are a mixture of Chinese, Indian and Malay cuisines. While you stroll on the streets of this country, worship in the beautiful temples, enjoy the serenity of its beaches and the humble hosting of the locals, do dive down into the hawker centers to taste the real street food. It is very difficult to identify few must-try food in Malaysia because, at every step, this country has a surprise element that you cannot resist.
One of the must follow rule while looking for street food in Malaysia is never fret to find the best as at any hawker center, you will find entire Malaysian street food on the menu. People often have a perplexing notion about what to eat in Malaysia but trust us, no matter wherever you are, a hawker stall/ center will always be there for your service. No Malaysian food guide can possibly accommodate all the good food that is on offer. Here, we have tried to include the most sought for and popular delicacies.
6 Street Food of Malaysia For The Foodie In You
1. Nasi Kandar
Malaysia is one such place where you will find an enormous Indian community. This Malaysian Indian community has given rise to this delicious dish. ‘Nasi’ in Malay means rice which is a critical element of this dish. ‘Kandar’ refers to a wooden or bamboo yoke that Indian street vendors used in the old days; they would balance a container of food on each end of the yoke, then sell their food on the streets carrying their merchandise. This Nasi Kandar is basically rice and curry because where there are Indians, there has to be curry!
Cooked, boiled white rice is served with an assortment of side dishes like beef cubes, fried squid, chicken, omelets, bottle guard, eggplant etc. This dish entirely depends on the skill and offering of the cook as sometimes, rice is served with fewer than 50 side dishes. At the end, after crowding up your plate with rice and accompaniments, to make it more messier, red curry is flooded which gives it a different taste altogether and creates a blast of flavors in your mouth.
The reason it tops this Malaysian street food guide is that this dish has its sub-varieties and based on the side dishes, it can be made either a veg or a non-veg dish making it an ideal street food for vegetarians in Malaysia.
2. Satay Celup/ Lok Lok
A dish with two names is the one, where you pay to cook your own food. While strolling on the streets, whenever you see a group of people, sitting in a circle, chatting, laughing and there is steam coming out from the center of the circle, you should know that it is this dish that is being cooked over there!
The main method of cooking here is boiling. Raw or semi-cooked food items like cockles, quail eggs, fried bean skins, meatballs, fish balls, kidneys, prawns and many others are placed on a skewer. You have to boil them until they are cooked, all while sitting, talking and enjoying. It just gives you a feel of a campfire in a middle of the city street.
If someone calls you for Satay Celup, get ready to boil your food in hot peanut sauce. This name is popular in Melaka whereas if you are being called for Lok Lok, then there is boiling soup stock waiting for you to boil your food in it. It is more likely in Kuala Lumpur. A definite must try food in Malaysia not only because of its taste but for that warmth and joy you get in cooking your food while sharing your sweet memories and exchanging pleasantries with strangers as if you are sitting near a bonfire.
A plate of salad with a perfect balance of sweet and sour is what Rojak is about. Fruits and vegetables like green mangoes, cucumber, bean sprouts, deep-fried tofu, and green apples are chopped into bite-sized slices, flooded with prawn sauce and garnished with crushed ground peanuts. The whole dish is brought together by the dressing, which combines sugar, lime juice, chili, and shrimp paste thus striking a perfect balance and giving a delicious, never eaten before salad plate. If you are looking for what to eat in Malaysia, this is the right one for you!
4. Mee Siam
Mee Siam literally means Thai noodles, but it is not available in Thailand. A different version of it called ‘Mee Kati’ is made in Thailand which has an addition of coconut milk. Name aside, Mee Siam was invented by the Peranakan and is a staple in all Malaysian street food guides. It is made of thin rice vermicelli noodles stir-fried in tamarind, rempah (spice paste) and tau cheo (soybean paste), then topped with salted soybeans, hardboiled egg, dried bean curd, shrimp, chicken, shredded omelet, and spring onion. The spice mixture creates a spicy/sour/sweet taste that can’t be found in any other Malaysian noodle dish. It is also one of the most sought for street food of Malaysia.
5. Tauhu Sumbat
For all the vegetarians, wondering what to eat in Malaysia, here’s a treat for you – hop over to a hawker selling Tauhu Sambat. A popular street food for vegetarians in Malaysia, it is basically stuffed tofu. A light appetizer, this dish has fried tofu, which is cut open and stuffed with sliced cucumber and bean sprouts then drizzled with spicy chili sauce. It is a simple soothing, tasty dish.
6. Nasi Lemak
Any Malaysian street food guide is incomplete without the mention of this dish. It is considered to be the unofficial national food of Malaysia as claimed by many food bloggers. Nasi Lemak consists of rice steamed in coconut milk, which imparts a creamy texture. The rice is served on a banana leaf with a dab of spicy sambal, deep-fried anchovies roasted peanuts, cucumber, and sliced-up hard-boiled egg. It can also come with additional foods such as cuttlefish, chicken, cockles, beef rendang, and pickled vegetables, among others. This dish is a must try food in Malaysia as it is also the flag bearer of street food of Malaysia.
Summing It Up
All the dishes mentioned in the above list are just the introductory dishes. You will be surprised to see what the street food of Malaysia menu card has for you. Your stomach will give up due to overeating but your mind will be tempted to have more and more. Malaysia has an amazing mix of food items mainly because it is a mixture of many different cuisines. So get on the streets and enjoy what this country offers you!