Malaysia is an exotic peninsula with a little bit of everything: city, nature, and lots of culture thanks to the multi-ethnic blend of Chinese, Malays and Indians. It is this inter-mingling of communities that has resulted in a unique variety of tasty yet affordable street food using ingredients adapted across cultures. Read on for 5 Malaysian dishes that should be on the bucket list of any self-respecting food lover!
You can’t go wrong with pairing chicken and rice! This popular dish serves boneless chicken slices either steamed (for all you healthy eaters) or roasted to a crispy golden brown. Eaten with rice cooked in chicken broth and sliced cucumbers, the dish is usually accompanied by a clear chicken soup (yes, more chicken) and a piquant dipping sauce of blended chillies and lime.
Ramly (pronounced Ram-Lee) Burger
Ramly is known as the connoisseur when it comes to street-side burger bars. With its humble beginnings as a roadside vendor, the Ramly brand has become a household name when it comes to delivering quality burgers and has created its own line of frozen burger patties. Think crispy fried patties of fish, chicken or beef, sliced lengthwise and rubbed with garam masala, before being fried again and served with mayonnaise, black pepper sauce, chilli sauce, onions, cheese and tomatoes (phew!) all pressed between two buttered buns. If vada pav and tandoori chicken had a baby, it would be named Ramly.
Don’t be fooled by the name of this dish. It is not a dessert, nor do carrots make up any of the ingredients. Instead, this savoury pancake is made up of pickled radish, garlic and fried egg mixed with oyster sauce and soy sauce, giving the dish its distinct sweet-salty flavour and characteristic black colour. The best versions of this dish have charred crispy bits that provide a heavenly crunch to this warm and chewy comfort food.
Pisang Goreng (pronounced Pee-Sung Go-Ring)
Literally translated as “fried bananas”, Pisang Goreng is a delectable afternoon snack best eaten on a rainy day (there are plenty in tropical Malaysia) and chai. The bananas are lightly coated in flour and sugar before fried to a golden crisp in very hot oil. Typically eaten with a fiery hot chilli sauce that singes the tongue, other hipster versions have recently emerged that pair the dessert with chocolate sauce or vanilla ice-cream.
Kong Bak Pao (pronounced Kong Buck Pow)
This is the ultimate in sinful eating, and comprises of thick slabs of belly pork braised (a method whereby meat or vegetables are slowly cooked in thick liquid) in a stew of soy sauce, ginger and garlic, among other ingredients. The meat is wrapped in lettuce and packed between soft fluffy buns. Eaten hot, the fat (sounds gross but tastes divine!) melts in your mouth and the meat is juicy and rich. Try not to have more than two or you will get a tummy ache from all the cholesterol!