Meats on sticks over a BBQ – basic yet effective. Tapping into that childhood ‘fun’ way of eating your food. For satay, the “must have” ingredient which gives the dish its characteristic yellow colour derived from tumeric. Serve it up with a spicy peanut sauce dip, or peanut gravy, slivers of onions and cucumbers, and ketupat (rice cakes).. and you have a balanced meal of carbohydrate, protein, fats, and vegetables but tastes delightfully sinful.. not unlike junk food!
#9 Char Kuey Teow
Made from flat rice noodles or kway teow of approximately 1 cm or (in the north of Malaysia) about 0.5 cm in width, stir-fried over very high heat with light and dark soy sauce, chilli, a small quantity of belachan, whole prawns, deshelled blood cockles, bean sprouts and chopped Chinese chives. The dish is commonly stir-fried with egg, slices of Chinese sausage, fishcake, beansprouts, and less commonly with other ingredients. Char Kuey Teow is traditionally stir-fried in pork fat, with crisp croutons of pork lard. In Penang, Char kway teow commonly served on a piece of banana leaf on a plate, so as to enhance the aroma on the noodles.
To produce this delicious bowl of heaven, you need green rice flour noodles, coconut milk, shaved ice and red beans. The green colour comes from the pandan leaves.
#7 Roti Canai
Roti canai is one of the many Indian influences in Malay cuisine. It consists of flatbread served with a variety of yummy curries, usually dhal and mutton/chicken.
In Malay the word canai means “to roll out dough” – the dough usually contains lots of ghee (clarified butter), flour and water.
#6 Nasi Lemak
Nasi lemak literally means “fatty rice” because of the cooking process where rice is cooked in coconut milk with pandan leaves. It is traditionally served wrapped in a banana leaf, with ikan bilis (dried anchovies), sambal (a spicy sauce), boiled egg and roasted peanuts.
#5 Banana Leaf
One of the great south Indian cuisines we have the privilege of eating on a daily basis should we chose is, of course, Chettinad cuisine. Chettinad cuisine is the cuisine of the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu state in South India. If you love rice, you will definitely love the Banana Leaf Rice.
In banana leaf rice, white rice is served on a banana leaf with an assortment of vegetables, curried meat or fish, pickles, and the super addictive papadum ( look like giant, round, flat crisps). Most of the time, however, only the gravy of the curry will be served and no meat is served as it is meant to be a traditional Indian vegetarian dish but since I am no vegetarian, I love mine with mutton redang and dry chicken curry!
This meal can get really sloppy since it is traditionally eaten with the hand, but most of us have this down to a fine art!
#4 Bak Kut Teh
Pork ribs simmered in herbal soup, Bak Kut Teh is a well-loved Chinese dish. Often, regulars will request for “extras” like pork intestines and pork skin. Eaten with white rice, nothing beats a steaming hot bowl of Bak Kut Teh!
#3 Nasi Kerabu
Popular in the Kelantan and Terengganu, Nasi Kerabu is an authentic Malay rice dish which is blue in colour mixed with various herbs generally eaten with fish or fried chicken and fresh salads and pickle on the side. The blue color of rice is from the petals of butterfly-pea flowers (kembang telang) which is used in cooking it. It is also accompanied with Keropok.
Laksa is a delicious rich broth with noodles, topped with a variety of condiments depending on the region. It is particularly popular in Penang and Sarawak, each with their own variation.
The Assam laksa from Penang is distinct because it’s more fishy and acidic. Assam meansacidic in Malay, whereby tamarind is the souring agent. Thick rice noodles are usually used for Penang Assam Laksa.
The Sarawak Laksa uses coconut milk instead of a sour fish broth. It is served with either rice vermicelli noodles (bee hoon) or thick rice noodles. The Sarawak Laksa is topped with crunchy fresh bean sprouts, strips of chicken, prawns and slivers of omelette.
“To eat it seems to be the sacrifice of self-respect,” wrote 19th-century American journalist Bayard Taylor. French naturalist Henri Mouhot was a bit less delicate: “On first tasting it I thought it like the flesh of some animal in a state of putrefaction.”
Hate them or — as millions already do — love them, for many durians are nothing less than “hell on the outside and heaven on the inside.” That Southeast Asian saying in fact sums up the regard in which Durio zibethinus is held. For many in the region, the spiny, football-size fruit with the divinely custardy, yet potently odoriferous, flesh is as much a cultural icon as it is a treasured, eagerly anticipated food.
Growing on trees in moist, tropical climates throughout Southeast Asia, durians have a limited season and an extremely short shelf life. The trees themselves, sometimes as tall as 130 feet, are pollinated by bats. Three to four months later, the fruit, each weighing several pounds, plummets down, already reeking with its characteristic aroma. Because of the short duration of tasty ripeness, durians are expensive, and purchasing one is a solemn, smelly ritual: only by odor can one determine whether a durian is truly ripe. Not surprisingly for so valued a fruit, all parts of the durian tree are used in folk medicine. The flesh itself is regarded as an aphrodisiac.