More Malaysian Food Worthy of That Lonely Planet List

We’ve come up with more food to be included in that list everyone’s talking about.

A certain travel guide recently named curry laksa in Kuala Lumpur as the second-best food experience in the world, right after the pintxos of San Sebastian in Spanish Basque country. Now, we don’t have any problem with curry laksa taking the second spot in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist, the annual list that ranks the top 500 gastronomic experiences around the world.

What we’d like to do, however, is simply present the travel guides of world with more suggestion of delicious food that Malaysians not only love, but are truly proud of. So, fellow reporters, take out your pen and paper or crack them knuckles for some Googling, because we’re going on a culinary journey.


Kicking things off on a sweet note, the cendol is one of Asia’s many variations of shaved ice desserts. The delicacy’s staple ingredients are the green worm-like rice flour jelly, coconut milk and palm sugar syrup. You could also throw in extra options such as the kidney beans and grilled glutinous rice that is cooked in banana leaf. The crispiness of the slightly charred pulut perfectly complements the sweetness of the cendol broth, and all is well in the world.

Sarawak Laksa

The late Anthony Bourdain once called Sarawak Laksa as “breakfast of the Gods”. We may not know of his spiritual proclivity but we know one thing for sure: Sarawak Laksa makes for an amazing breakfast (and lunch and dinner).

Significantly different from the many types of laksa available in the Peninsular Malaysia, the Sarawak Laksa is made with sambal belacan, coconut milk, sour tamarind, garlic, galangal, and lemongrass. Served with rice vermicelli noodles and topped with strips of chicken and prawn, this Bornean iteration of the laksa is beloved by all Sarawakians and is ate together by families and friends no matter the time of the day.

Nasi Kerabu

A type of nasi ulam in which blue-coloured rice is eaten with dried fish or fried chicken, crackers, pickles and other salads. The blue colour of the rice comes from the petals of Clitoria ternatea (butterfly pea) flowers used to cook it, although the rice is sometimes cooked plain or with turmeric. It is often eaten with solok lada and is also eaten with fried keropok made from fish or prawn and is very popular in the east coast states of Peninsular Malaysia such as Kelantan and Terengganu.

Pan Mee

The Hakka-style noodle is typically served in soup, together with dried anchovies, minced pork, mushrooms, and a leafy vegetable such as sweet potato leaves or sayur manis (sauropus androgynus). It can also be served dry with a thick black soya sauce – also known as dried pan mee. Other serving styles include curry broth, chili-based broth, and with pork belly.

The dough of the flat noodle is made from flour (sometimes egg is added for more flavour). Traditionally, the dough is hand-kneaded and torn into smaller pieces of dough, however, nowadays, the dough can be kneaded using machine into a variety of shapes, the most common shape being flat strips of noodle.

Mee Goreng Mamak

The true exemplification of Malaysia’s multiculturalism, this dish takes noodles (what is traditionally regarded as an essential part of Chinese cuisine) and mixes it with an Indian way of cooking. Traditionally sold in mamak eateries, this dish features Indian spices, sauces, potatoes, and other fried goodies all mixed together in one wok. The best mee goreng mamak are found in Penang.

Cheese Naan

Unlike the panneer naan found in India that comes flavoured with ground coriander and paprika, the cheese naan found in the Malaysian mamak keeps it simple in terms of the filling, focusing on the crispiness of the naan instead. Melted cheese makes everything better and this naan is beloved by Malaysians from all walks of life.

Nyonya Kueh

These sugary treats by the Peranakan community is much beloved by all and can be seen being sold by all Malaysians. The most famous of these colourful kuehs is the kuih lapis, a multi layered cake traditionally eaten by the Baba Nyonya community during Chinese New Year to symbolise a ladder of continued prosperity.

Do you agree with our list? Check out the 5 must-try food in Petaling Street that we’ve listed here too!

Vimal Palasekaran

Vimal Palasekaran

Loud laugher. TV buff. Hispanophone.
Vimal Palasekaran

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