Malaysia cuisine is extremely diverse. Each racial group has contributed to the great Malaysia gastronomic heritage. Generally, Malay and Indian cuisine are spicier while Chinese cuisine is milder in taste. There are also cuisines of other ethnic groups, and a growing range of international cuisines. To add to appeal, eating out in Malaysia is relatively inexpensive.
Rice tends to be a staple food in Malaysia as in most countries in the same region. Noodles are another staple. Western style bread is a relatively new addition to the Malaysian diet, having gained acceptance only in the last generation or so. Even so, bread is generally consumed as part of breakfast. Vegetables are usually available year round & its climate allows for fruit to be grown year round. Most tropical fruit is available in Malaysia as demand for fruit is quite high.
Natural, home-grown ingredients figure prominently in Malay food. Coconut, chili, lemon grass, lime leaves, spices and turmeric are basic ingredients cooked with fish, meat or vegetables. A traditional accompaniment to meal is a hot sambal made of ground chili, prawn paste and condiments. Desserts in Malaysia tend to make use of generous amounts of coconut milk.
Malay food is best eaten at roadside stalls, hawker centres or at home.
The Chinese enjoy rice as a staple served with a number of generally non-spicy vegetables and meat dishes but noodles feature prominently in great variety and combinations. The noodles are usually served in a soup base or fried with sliver of meat, prawns and vegetables. Curried noodles usually come with chicken and taufoo
Spices are the heart and soul of Indian cooking. But the quantity and proportions vary with the geographical boundaries. Spices are freshly grounded and added in many different combinations. Spices commonly used are coriander, turmeric, cumin, chilies, fennel, and fenugreek. Other fragrant spices added are cardamom, clove, cinnamon and star aniseed.
Nyonya food was invented by the Peranakan people of Malaysia and Singapore. It uses mainly Chinese ingredients but blends them with South-East Asian spices such as coconut milk, lemon grass, turmeric, screwpine leaves, chillies and sambal. This form of cuisine was the result of inter-marriages between Chinese immigrants and local Malays, which produced a unique culture. Here, the ladies are called nyonyas and the men babas.
Thai food also features strongly in Malaysian cuisine and a localized version of Thai favourites like Tom yam is widely available.
Hawker Food is Malaysia Paradise
You can have dinner in Malaysia at any price category. The hotels with four and five stars have expensive restaurants with international cuisines, like: Western, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Thai, German, French and they are all on western prices.
Or you can eat at hawker centres and hawker stalls. Eating at Hawker Stalls is highly recommended in Malaysia. It's very cheap, and you also learn a lot about the food of Malaysia.
We can forget all those silly questions like: "Can I eat that food?" or "Do I get ill"?. We don't have to worry in Malaysia. There is no need to be afraid, when you want to eat at the hawker stalls, go for it.
Sometimes you see a sign in a restaurant, saying "approved by the Department of Health". It is just advertising gimmick, all food outlets and restaurants are under control of the Department of Health.
There's a huge variety of hawker food all over Malaysia,. especially Penang is famous for its hawker food. The more popular hawker centers are at "Gurney Drive" and "Global Bay".
In Kuala Lumpur, you must visit "Jalan Alor" for the hawker food experience.
The experience of having meals at a hawker center is enormous. When you go to Malaysia, you cannot miss having food at a hawker center, if you are going to experience the food paradise feelings. Hawker stalls around big cities in Malaysia offer variety of food and value for money.
How to go about at the hawker stalls
When you come to a hawker center you have to look for a vacant table seats or prepare to share with strangers if all the tables are occupied. Each table has a number. You have to remember that number well, because the table number is a locator.
These hawker centres always have a lot of hawker stalls who specialize in their own style of cooking or beverages. First, you have to select a stall and then the dishes you wish to order. You may go to different stalls for different dishes, the choice is all yours. But, you must remember to tell the stall your table number.
Because it's difficult to choose and the dishes come quickly, it's better to have someone sitting at the table with money. He can pay every time a dish is served. The prices of the dishes are between RM 2 and RM 6. When you return to your table some, you will notice, that there are already so many dishes. Enjoy your meal! Tipping is not recommended!