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Updated by Paul Wick on Sep 21, 2015
Headline for 10 Delicious Dishes in Malaysia - Must-Try Local Dishes
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10 Delicious Dishes in Malaysia - Must-Try Local Dishes

As one of Asia's culinary hubs, Malaysia is a food lover's dream holiday destination. From classic rice and noodle fare to desserts here are ten must-sample highlights in Malaysian restaurant menus.


Nasi Dagang

As a complete meal that is best enjoyed during lunchtime Nasi Dagang is no less popular than a Nasi Goreng in Malaysia. A classic rice dish, the plate includes a cup of coconut milk in steamed rice, a sambal made of fried coconut shavings and a fish curry. Boiled eggs and a 'solok lada' are also part of this dish which is served with pickled vegetables. A staple breakfast dish in the country's east coast in areas such as Kelantan and Terengganu, the dish finds its origins in an area known as Kampung Ladang.


Nyonya Laksa

As one of the most popular dishes in the Malaysian capital, a bowl of Nyonya Laksa provides visitors with a culinary experience to remember. As a revered local soup variety the delicacy consists of a thick broth made up of coconut milk and condiments. Other additions include cubes of tofu, curd puffs, fish cakes and noodles. The dish is garnished with cucumber slices and served hot.


Banana Leaf Rice

With its origins steeped in the South Indian cuisine of Chettinad, this beloved rice dish is a favourite among locals and tourists alike. Served on a banana leaf, the steamed white rice is consumed with a number of vegetable curries and meat while crispy 'pappadums' are also added for good measure.



As a well-known dessert and snack item available in the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Cendol is a veritable Malaysian culinary institution in its own right. Although the term is broadly used to describe all desserts made of shaved ice, a traditional cup of Cendol includes coconut milk and melted palm sugar as the main ingredients. The toppings can vary from corn, sticky rice, kidney beans and other candied fruits. Perfect for beating the heat during humid summer days, Cendol is an affordable but refreshing dessert for the masses.


Sang Har noodles

As a flat noodle dish the unique flavour of a bowl of Sang Har noodles is largely due to the river prawns prepared in classic Cantonese fashion with an eggy soup and noodles forming the base. Declared one of Malaysia's most delectable noodle dishes, the flavour of the prawn infuses delicately with the flat noodle to create a combination that is simply indescribable.


Nasi Lemak

Steamed in thick coconut cream this rice dish is served with a number of side dishes or tied in a pandan or banana leaf container. The fragrant rice dish is typically consumed with sambal, cucumber sliver and anchovies while cuttlefish sambal and roasted peanuts are other accompaniments.



Believed to have originated from neighbouring Sri Lanka, Apam is Malaysia's take on the hopper. A thick crepe that's flaky and crispy, this delectable snack is consumed with santan sauce and a variety of fillings including sweet corn and peanuts.


Nyonya Rice Dumplings

As a traditional dish Nyonya Rice Dumplings are blue coloured triangles wrapped in bamboo leaves. Served with meat fillings, the dish is available in most Malaysia restaurants and food stalls.



Malaysia's version of the spring roll, a Popiah is a crunchy snack with filling of lettuce, tofu, carrots, turnips and bean sprouts to name a few. Eaten with bean sauce, the beloved tea time snack is a local specialty of the highest order. Visitors based in Ascott Sentral Kuala Lumpur or any other centrally located service residence in KL will have easy access to cafes serving this dish.



A popular choice among healthy diners, a plate of Rojak consists of a number of local vegetables and fruits including pineapple, cucumber, mango and bean sprouts topped off with a sauce made of oyster sauce, shrimp and tamarind. Refreshing and intriguing, Rojak can be consumed on its own or as a side dish.