22 Best Dishes to Eat in Malaysia


Malaysia is a culinary paradise that offers a diverse array of dishes, reflecting the country's rich cultural tapestry. Each ethnic group—Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous communities—has contributed unique flavors and cooking techniques, resulting in a vibrant and delicious food scene. Here, we'll explore 22 of the best dishes to eat in Malaysia, delving into their origins, ingredients, and the unique aspects that make each dish a must-try. 

Alright, my stomach is rumbling right now... 

1. Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak is widely considered Malaysia's national dish. It consists of rice cooked in coconut milk, served with sambal (spicy chili paste), fried crispy anchovies, toasted peanuts, hard-boiled or fried egg, and cucumber slices. This dish is traditionally wrapped in banana leaves, which enhances its flavor and aroma.


2. Char Kway Teow

Char Kway Teow is a popular noodle dish featuring flat rice noodles stir-fried with shrimp, Chinese sausage, eggs, bean sprouts, and chives in a flavorful soy sauce. this dish boasts a smoky flavor known as "wok hei" (breath of the wok).


3. Laksa

Laksa is a spicy noodle soup with two main variants: Curry Laksa and Asam Laksa. Curry Laksa features a rich, coconut-based curry soup with tofu puffs, fish sticks, shrimp, and cockles. Asam Laksa, on the other hand, has a tangy fish-based broth made with tamarind, mackerel, and lemongrass, topped with fresh vegetables and a dollop of shrimp paste.


4. Roti Canai

Roti Canai is a type of Indian-influenced flatbread that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is typically served with dhal (lentil curry), chicken curry, or beef rendang. This versatile bread is a popular breakfast item and snack.


5. Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice features poached chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth, accompanied by a spicy chili sauce and ginger paste. Originating from Hainan in China, this dish has been adapted to Malaysian tastes and is a staple in many hawker centers.


6. Nasi Kandar (my favorite so far 😋)

Nasi Kandar is a dish of steamed rice served with a variety of curries and side dishes. Originating from the Indian Muslim community, it typically includes dishes such as fried chicken, beef rendang, and okra, all drenched in a flavorful curry sauce.


7. Satay

Satay consists of marinated meat skewers (usually chicken, beef, or lamb) grilled over charcoal and served with a spicy peanut sauce, rice cakes, and a side of cucumber and onion. The smoky, slightly charred flavor of the meat, combined with the rich peanut sauce, makes this dish irresistible.


8. Rendang

Rendang is a slow-cooked dry curry originating from Indonesia but immensely popular in Malaysia. Made with beef, coconut milk, and a blend of spices, it is cooked for hours until the meat is tender and infused with rich, complex flavors.


9. Mee Goreng Mamak

Mee Goreng Mamak is a stir-fried noodle dish commonly found in Indian Muslim eateries. It features yellow noodles stir-fried with eggs, shrimp, chicken, vegetables, and a savory-sweet soy sauce. A squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of crispy fried shallots add the finishing touches.


10. Assam Pedas

Assam Pedas is a spicy and tangy fish stew made with tamarind juice, chili, and various spices. The dish often includes vegetables such as okra and tomatoes, and is typically served with steamed rice.


11. Apam Balik

Apam Balik is a sweet, thick pancake filled with a mixture of crushed peanuts, sugar, and sometimes sweet corn or coconut. This popular street food snack is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.


12. Penang Asam Laksa

Penang Asam Laksa is a variation of the traditional Asam Laksa, originating from the state of Penang. The broth is made with mackerel and tamarind, resulting in a sour and spicy flavor. It is served with thick rice noodles and garnished with fresh vegetables and mint leaves.


13. Teh Tarik

Teh Tarik is Malaysia's national drink, literally meaning "pulled tea." This hot milk tea is made by repeatedly pouring the tea mixture from one container to another, creating a frothy top and a smooth, creamy texture. It is sweetened with condensed milk and is a popular accompaniment to many Malaysian dishes.


14. Nasi Kerabu

Nasi Kerabu is a vibrant blue rice dish from the state of Kelantan. The rice gets its distinctive color from butterfly pea flowers. It is served with a variety of side dishes such as grilled fish, salted egg, fried coconut, and a spicy sambal.


15. Bak Kut Teh

Bak Kut Teh is a flavorful pork rib soup cooked with a complex blend of herbs and spices, including star anise, cinnamon, and cloves. This dish is usually served with rice, fried dough sticks (youtiao), and a side of garlic chili sauce.


16. Kuih

Kuih is a term for a variety of bite-sized snacks or desserts, usually made with rice flour, coconut milk, and palm sugar. Popular varieties include Kuih Lapis (layered cake), Onde-Onde (glutinous rice balls filled with palm sugar), and Kuih Seri Muka (layered glutinous rice and pandan custard).


17. Ikan Bakar

Ikan Bakar is grilled fish marinated with a mixture of spices, wrapped in banana leaves, and cooked over an open flame. The banana leaves infuse the fish with a unique aroma and flavor, making it a popular choice at seafood restaurants and night markets.


18. Mee Rebus

Mee Rebus is a noodle dish featuring yellow egg noodles served in a thick, spicy-sweet gravy made from potatoes, shrimp, and curry. It is garnished with boiled eggs, bean sprouts, tofu, and a squeeze of lime juice.


19. Ayam Percik

Ayam Percik is grilled chicken marinated in a blend of spices and coconut milk, then cooked over a charcoal fire. The marinade gives the chicken a rich, savory flavor, with a slightly charred and crispy exterior.


20. Popiah

Popiah is a fresh spring roll filled with a variety of ingredients such as julienned vegetables, tofu, shrimp, and a sweet bean sauce. It is typically eaten as a light snack or appetizer.


21. Cendol

Cendol is a refreshing dessert made with shaved ice, coconut milk, green rice flour jelly, and palm sugar syrup. It is often served with sweetened red beans or glutinous rice and is a popular treat on hot days.


22. Pisang Goreng

Pisang Goreng is a popular street food snack consisting of deep-fried banana fritters. The bananas are coated in a light batter and fried until golden brown, resulting in a crispy exterior and a sweet, soft interior.



Malaysia's culinary landscape is as diverse as its population, offering a tantalizing array of flavors, textures, and aromas. Each dish tells a story of cultural fusion and tradition, making Malaysian cuisine a true gastronomic adventure. Whether you're exploring bustling cities or tranquil villages, these 22 dishes provide a delicious introduction to the rich and varied food culture of Malaysia. 

So, what is your favorite? let me know in the comment section, cheers

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