1. Mee goreng mamak
This Indian Muslim dish is the complete package. Yellow noodles. Beef or chicken. Shrimp. Soy sauce, veggies and eggs. A bit of chili tossed in for an irresistible jolt.
Sounds simple, right?
Sadly, you can try to replicate this one at home, but it’s just not going to taste the way it did when you chowed down at that gritty Malaysian hawker stall.
2. Apam balik
You haven’t truly experienced Malaysian food until you thrill your taste buds with this sweet treat.
A pancake-style snack wedded with the compact package of an omelet, apam balik is stuffed with more than a sufficient amount of sugar, peanuts and the occasional sprinkle of corn — it’s a dish that’s constantly being reinvented.
3. Nasi kerabu
If the blue rice doesn’t spark your curiosity, the lines of people around the country waiting to order this favorite Kelantanese dish should.
From the state of Kelantan in northern peninsular Malaysia, nasi kerabu gets its eye-grabbing color from telang flowers, which are crushed and mixed into flour.
The aquamarine dish is topped with bean sprouts and fried coconut, then drenched in spicy budu, a fermented fish sauce.
In true Kelantan style, you use your hands to dig into this one.
4. Ayam percik (chicken with percik sauce)
KFC’s popularity in the region (and across Asia) over other fast food chains won’t surprise those familiar with ayam percik.
Basically, it’s barbecued chicken slathered in spicy chili, garlic and ginger sauce mixed with coconut milk.
With the right amount of percik sauce, this staple Malaysian stall food packs more zing than anything the Colonel can muster.
5. Nasi lemak
Some call nasi lemak Malaysia’s unofficial national dish. Everyone else calls it delicious.
Nasi lemak is basically rice cooked in coconut milk.
It’s the sides that matter.
Depending on where you are in Malaysia, it comes with a variety of accompaniments such as hard-boiled egg, peanuts, vegetables, lamb/chicken/or beef curry, seafood and sambal (chili-based sauce).
Nasi lemak is traditionally eaten for breakfast but these days people are ordering it any time of day.