Food, glorious food! I’ve made no secret of my love for food and desire to eat new things in our travels, and Malaysia has definitely bought home the bacon – well, not actual bacon, but you get what I mean.
Any way, back to Malaysia and it’s incredible food. After not being too impressed with the food in Indonesia, we were hoping that Malaysia would be the country to tantalise our tastebuds, and oh boy, it certainly delivered! With influences including Thai, Indian and Chinese as well as an abundance of others, there’s an endless list of food to try. I’m fairly certain that our time here has been spent equally between eating/sightseeing/catching transport… and there’s NOTHING wrong with that.
As well as the variation in cuisine, there is a huge variation in the eating styles here in Malaysia (in case you couldn’t tell by the name of this article). Eating in different environments throughout the country was just as much fun as eating the food itself.
Here are some of the different types of eateries you can can come across in your travels through Malaysia.
Your accommodation doesn’t include breakfast? Have no fear! You won’t go more than a few hundred metres without coming across a Nasi Kandar eatery… and in those eateries, they make the most incredible breakfast* dish known to man – Roti Canai.
Roti is an indian inspired flatbread, made with flour, butter and water, and is flattened to extreme proportions, folded and then fried and smashed into a beautiful, flakey bread.
It’s served with curry, either a dhal or a delicious gravy – which you mop up with torn off pieces of roti. It’s actually the best.
The going rate for a single roti is about 1.20 RM per piece (0.40 AUD), so stock up on a few of these with an ice milo for breakfast to keep you going for hours.
* It is also socially acceptable to eat roti at any time of the day. All day, if you wish.
2. Hawker Stalls
I used to have concerns about eating street food, but my experiences in Malaysia have converted me. Hawker stalls are everywhere in Malaysia – either permanently established on a street corner or side street, or popping up on weekends.
Most stalls will have a range of cuisines to suit every palette – Japanese, Korean, Indian, Chinese – you name it, it’ll be there. They’ll generally only serve around ten different dishes, with prices clearly labelled – and everything is cooked fresh and hot to order.
The larger stalls will have numbered tables – grab yourself one, wander around and view all the menus before placing your order and providing your table number. Your dish will be served to you at the table, where you pay the waiter.
The going rate in most hawker stalls is from 5 RM to around 15 RM ($1.60 – $5.00 AUD), depending on the dish.
3. Food Courts
If eating in the street doesn’t tickle your fancy but you’re still after cheap and cheerful, then food courts are your answer! Found in shopping malls (and Malaysia has PLENTY of those!) on either the lowest level or the highest level, they are a great alternative to hawker stalls in the street – with the added bonus of air conditioning. They have a similar set up – a range of cuisines available and a dedicated drinks stall.
4. Michelin Star Dining
Ok so I realise there is a big jump between food courts and Michelin stars – but really all that’s in between these categories is fast food chains and restaurants – establishments you can find anywhere. In Kuala Lumpur, you can have the very unique opportunity to dine in a Michelin star restaurant – in a shopping centre – and for a ridiculously cheap price.
Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese steamed dumpling and noodle restaurant, with branches throughout Asia, the United States and Australia. Without a lot of experience with this cuisine, I made sure to try its legendary xiao long bao – and I can’t begin to even describe how exquisite it was. With its delicate flour skin, incredible fresh flavours and the spurt of steaming soup, it was definitely one of my best culinary experiences.
I tried several types of dumplings and buns, including a red bean and chocolate dumpling (heavenly!) for dessert and had a drink with my meal – all for 31.20 RM – that’s just $10.20 AUD!
With prices ranging from just 3 RM through to around 30 RM per dish, dining at Din Tai Fung is a must visit in Kuala Lumpur – where else can you dine at a Michelin star restaurant for so cheap a price?!
Malaysia, you have blown us away with your diversity, both in your cuisine and how to enjoy it. I think we’ll be sorry to leave to be perfectly honest. Better get my fill of roti before we’re off… and maybe some more dumplings.