‘It is undeniable that food is every Malaysian’s identity’

Malaysia is a bustling melting pot of cultures and a very unique nation in South East Asia, not only for its colourful racial and cultural diversity, but for its vast array of cuisines. It is undeniable that food is every Malaysian’s identity; speak to any Malaysian and ask them what they miss about home and the answer will definitely be the food. There will always be restaurants or hawker stalls open at any time of day so you can grab a bite whenever you want. With Malay, Chinese and Indian being the three main races, the Malaysian cuisine has been drastically influenced by the combination of the delicacies from these three cultures. Here are a few of my favourite dishes that I miss the most: 

Nasi Lemak 

The renowned national dish of Malaysia. With its literal meaning of ‘fat rice’, nasi lemak is a delicacy from the Malay culture typically eaten as a breakfast dish. It comprises of coconut rice, sambal (chilli), fried anchovies, peanuts, cucumber slices and hard-boiled egg wrapped in a banana leaf package. This flavourful and spicy dish is the perfect way to kick start your morning with a little heat! 

Cendol & Rojak 

As Malaysia is situated in the tropics, cendol is a popular dessert to quench one’s thirst. It is a mountain of shaved ice topped with coconut milk, gula melaka (palm sugar syrup), green rice jelly and additional condiments such as red bean and sweet corn. This sweet and creamy dessert can be enjoyed anywhere; by the roadside, in your local kopitiam (coffee shop), or in shopping centres. Cendol is often enjoyed with another delicious Malaysian snack rojak, meaning ‘mixture’ in colloquial Malay, that consists of shrimp fritters and fried tofu dressed with shrimp paste. The combination of the sweet and icy cendol dessert with rojak fritters is the definition of a Sunday late afternoon indulgence for Malaysians.

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sylvie tan

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October 2021
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