Foods not to miss in Malaysia

As a major foodie, whenever I visit a new destination, one of the things I look forward to the most is sampling the local cuisine. Every country has their own signature dishes and unique blend of flavours that sets them apart from the rest, and I love discovering those little differences. Malaysia’s cuisine wowed me with it’s diversity and here are a few dishes I think you shouldn’t miss out on!

Architecture in Melaka, Malaysia

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak is considered to be the national dish of Malaysia. The dish consists of rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf, and it can be eaten any time of day – breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Of course, the rice isn’t just served on its own; it’s usually paired with an assortment of items including cucumber slices, fried anchovies, peanuts, a hard boiled egg, and a nice dollop of a spicy sauce. Absolutely delicious!

Hokkien Mee

Hokkien Mee refers to a fried noodle dish which originated in the Fujian province in China. In Malaysia this dish usually consists of yellow noodles in a thick soy sauce with either prawns or pork. A great option if you’re in the mood for Chinese fare.

Roti Canai

This meal has Indian origins and has become very popular in Malaysia. There are several variations of roti, but it is the preparation (which includes eggs and ghee) that makes the difference. Intended to be a bread that looks like pita, but tastes nothing like it, roti canai is a favourite among locals, and the best part is that you can eat it any time of day!


This is a very tasty, somewhat spicy, skewered meat dipped in a sauce that is certain to awake any sleeping senses you have. The great thing about this dish is that it can be prepared with a variety of meats like chicken, goat, pork or fish. The peanut sauce is probably where the secret lies, it gives the meat a nice little kick of flavour.

Asam Laksa

This dish is a little tangy and tart. The broth has a nice tamarind flavour, and that’s paired with  noodles, cucumbers, pineapple and fish. If you’re considering ordering this dish, keep in mind that there is also a curry laksa, which is slightly different.

For foodies who are always hungry for more, WithLocals has recently started offering cultural experiences that allow you to explore the local cuisine of a place. Through cooking courses and organized dinners with a local family, travellers have the option to delve into the food and learn about what it says about a place.

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