Signature Dish of Malaysia

Malaysian food is diversified  with culture

Today, there are many ways of people having a meal. Back then when we were a child, the only things that we know is our mother’s cooking.

But not to this day, whereby we are fed with a variety of food. The food industry has blooming even for the people who are not having the same culture could have a taste of it. 

As I was writing about this, I am thinking regarding sushi.

Even though the origin is from Japan, it still can be enjoyed by people from other cultures and it has been a popular food as well.

There is people to some extent learned how to make one. Others may make a living out of it. 

This cross-culture has been an example of other types of food. People are eager to learn from others and adapt the way of eating especially healthy food. Similarly in Malaysia, having a diversified culture has made us a Malaysian. 

I live in such a unique country where we have multiracial race which is  Malay being the biggest, Chinese and  Indian in the Peninsular Malaysia where I stay. The fusion of food between these cultures is the norm.

In Malaysia, there is no restaurant that specifies the origin of the owner. Back then when we visit Australia, they have to specify the origin of the restaurant such as Vietnamese Restaurant, Turkish Restaurant and many others.

But not here. We eat and enjoy the local food as Malaysian according to the menu.

I must say that there is a variety of food to be tested for. For instance Mee Goreng Mamak, Kue Teow Goreng, Nasi Kandar and Nasi Lemak. These are one of the many signature dishes one must have if foreigners comes and visits us. 

A glance through the history of the dish

Mee Goreng Mamak 

Mee Goreng Mamak is actually a stir-fried noodle cooked with dark soy sauce.

The noodles actually are yellow noodles made from wheat flour, water, salt and alkaline salt, and are partly cooked by boiling.

For me, Mee Goreng Mamak is a fusion of two different cultures, Chinese and Indians.

Yellow noodles are believed to be brought by Chinese immigrants and was cooked using the spices made from India. 

It is one of the most meal on the menu at the Mamak stall. (Mamak is a local term for  Malaysia  Indian Muslim hawker). 

Since they are hawker-style of meal they will prepare the meal upon order.

The way to cook the Mee Goreng Mamak is; sauteing the chopped onion and garlic. Using large heat, placed in the yellow noodles. Pour dark soy sauce and sweet soy sauce into the noodles. For garnishing, add in the hard-boiled potato, fried tofu and beansprout. And not forget to be mention egg is a must to be add.

For me. it is simple and considers a complete meal that is packed with carbohydrates, protein and some fibre. 🙂 

Nasi Kandar 

Nasi Kandar comes from a time when nasi (rice) hawkers would carry a kandar pole on their shoulder with two huge containers which one containing rice and the meals.

Traditionally nasi kandar must be served with the side dish and we consider it as nasi campur, or mixed rice. It was brought to the Malay by Indian Muslim trader back then. 

There is a variety of side dish that available to be eaten with the rice, such as fish curry, stir-fry ladyfingers, beef cook with soy sauce (daging masak kicap) and many others.  

The most common side dish that I  get is mixed of curry eaten with fried chicken and cabbage slice cooked with turmeric powder. 

Teh tarik is the drink that must go with it. 

Char Kuey Teow

2021 Kue Teow Goreng
One of the favourites, Kue Teow Goreng

As it named, char means stir-fry and Kuey Teow is a flat noodle. Hence, Char Kuey Teow is a stir fry flat noodles.  

When the dish was first invented, it was mainly served to the workers. The low cost of the dish made it affordable for them to use as the main source of energy. 

Now, it popular a portion of street food in Malaysia.

Different hawker has a variety of way to make their own recipes. They usually add cockles and prawn to make their cooking healthier. 

Despite slight difference in the ingredients, the most common thing that I notice between the hawkers there are using large heat to cook so that the noodles cooked fast and not soaked with oil.  

Nasi Lemak 

Hawker Food Nasi Lemak
All-time Malaysian favourite, Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak is forever a Malaysian favourite dish. I must say there is no better rice that complements it neither brown rice nor basmati rice. It just needs plain rice in it. 

Once I watched a documentary on a different type of rice to cook nasi lemak. They make a comparison between the plain rice which is packed with calories and the low glycemic index of brown rice in it. 

It was cooked by the expert. Nevertheless, two out of three tasters opted for the plain rice to eat nasi lemak. 

The origin of the Nasi Lemak is believed to be originated by the Malay farmers residing in the near coastal area. 

Back then people are common to utilised their surrounding to the full potential.

Their house is surrounded with water spinach (Kang Kong) and coconut tree which is the source for coconut milk. The coconut milk is the main ingredients used to cook the rice. 

When they first invented the recipe of nasi lemak they used ikan selar goreng or fried yellow tail scad fish as the main source of the protein.

Nowadays it has been used to eat nasi lemak together with a hard-boiled egg, fried anchovies and groundnut, few slices of cucumber and sambal. 

It was an endless story to begin with and there are plenty of good food to describe here. This is the food that I enjoyed the most.

In a conclusion, as the people from the young generation, I appreciate needing to know the origin of the signature dish in my own country. Somehow, it brings a proud feeling that we manage to live in unity and harmony through food. 

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