Is there one dish that is truly representative of Malaysia? You may be in for a hard time if you try to pick one. Malaysia, with its mix of cultures, history and culinary styles, is one of the world’s true melting pots of tastes, flavours and styles. Each dish reflects the multi-ethnicity of the Malaysian population and there are also regional influences within Malay itself that add to the wide variety of culinary delights available.
Certainly one of the most popular choices for visitors and locals, nasi lemak is a dish of rice cooked in coconut milk. Depending on where you are in Malaysia, it can be served with a lamb or beef curry, seafood and spicy chilli sauce, or even with peanuts and eggs! It’s a delicious combination of the soothing coconut milk in the rice and the spicy fire of the accompanying dish.
This dish carries the influences of the Indian population in Malaysia, and while you could call this a curry its Malaysian roots include the base of coconut milk, which is added to the steamy stew. This is a popular dish with the locals, especially on holidays and at festivals.
With an increasing interest in Malaysia and its cultures and cuisines, laksa is probably the best known Malaysian style dish, starting to popup on the menus of some of the world’s top restaurants. This dish has a base of spicy noodles in a fish broth with either prawns or fish on top.
One inescapable aspect of Malaysian cuisine is the liberal use of chillies, curry and tamarind (asam). Chillies are used in almost all dishes, in salads and as a side dish (sambal) to accompany most meals.