Malaysia’s top 100 foods

Malaysia Food Hawker
Courtesy Ramayana/Creative Commons/Flickr

(CWCS) – Wondering is there a complete list of Malaysia food that include most (if not, all) of Malaysia cuisine? You won’t be disappoint to see – from award-winning Penang food (& overrated, perhaps) to Malay Food & Peranakan food (eg. Baba Nyonya food, Chitti food, Jawi Peranakan food, Serani food, Mamak food). We even go beyond to include food from Sabah Sarawak. 

To spoil you with endless choices, here are 100 of Malaysia’s top dishes, in no particular order.

Baba Nyonya Food

Baba Nyonya are the Peranakans (child of interracial marriage) with descent of Chinese from Southern China (mostly men) and Malay ladies. Baba Nyonya Food is uniquely found in regions with larger Chinese population like Penang, Malacca in Malaysia.

Baba Nyonya cuisine is characterized with a strong Malay influence using typical Malay spices intermarrying Chinese ingredients & cooking methods, however Peranakans flavor varied with proximity to Thailand (states: Penang, Kelantan, Perlis, Kedah) have more highlights on its sour taste (from Tamarind) and sour notes (from Torch Ginger flower, Lemongrass, Kaffir Lime leafs).

  1. Jiu Hu Char

Jiu Hu Char / Stir Fry Yam Bean with Dried Squids Lettuce Salad Wraps

A typical starter dish in Baba Nyonya cuisine, usually served during occasion on Chinese New Year.

  1. Pai Tee

Pai Tee / Crispy Tart Shell filled of spicy, shredded greens and prawns

A exquisite starter dish in Baba Nyonya cuisine, and is easily adaptable for fine dining. Require skills and a lot of manual labor as the tart shells are not baked, but fried each using a copper mould dipped in hot oil.

  1. Otak-otak

Otak Otak Malaysia
Otak-otak / Spiced Fish Cakes wrapped in Banana Leaf

Otak-otak, is a general term for fish paste wrapped in Banana Leaf. It is found in many places of Malaysia & Singapore with different recipe varieties of (1) wrapping technique (2) fish types (3) cooking (either steam/grill). The Nyonya version – Penang otak-otak is slightly more creamy wrapped in open boat shape while Malacca otak-otak is wrapped in full parcel.

Muar otak-otak is famous, as it is a fishing village close to sea, using Wahoo fish specifically as it has lesser bones and it’s meat is rather stickier, when you eat is firm not soft, elongated wrapped with toothpick at ends. The 2 most famous spots to have it are Xiao Mei Famous Muar Otak-Otak 麻坡正宗小妹乌达 and Otak-Otak Cheng Boi, 阿梅麻坡烏打.

Satar/Sata is Otak-otak sibling from Terrengganu.

  1. Kari Kapitan Nyonya

Kari Kapitan Ayam / Nyonya Captain Chicken Curry

Kari Kapitan (Eng: Curry Kapitan or Captain Curry) is one of the significant dishes of Baba Nyonya. Kapitan which its name derived from the high-ranking government position exclusive title given by Chinese Qing dynasty to straits Chinese male who often held Malay court position. Not all Kapitan are Baba Nyonya, however the name of the dish suggest maybe it is named after one of the official’s favorite dish. 

Kari Ayam (Eng: Chicken Curry) and Rendang might be few of its distant relatives.

  1. Pong Teh

Pong Teh
Pong Teh / Braised meat with potatoes in Fermented Bean Paste and Soy Sauce Gravy

Pong Teh (Eng: Braised Pork) is a braised meat dish with potatoes cooked in a gravy consisting of fermented bean paste and soy sauce. It is said that the word ‘pong’ could be a mispronunciation of the Hokkien word ‘hong’ for stewing in soy sauce while ‘teh’ could mean ‘te’ which is pig trotters in the same dialect.

  1. Asam Pedas

Asam Pedas / Nyonya Sour Spicy Fish Stew with Lady Finger

Asam Pedas (Eng: Sour Spicy) is another iconic Baba Nyonya fish dish where elements of sour taste and sour notes are being highlighted, therefore is a must-try in Malaysia. Fish ingredient can be of different variety – (1) Ikan Pari (Eng: Sting Ray) most iconic of its kind, (2) Ikan Kembong, (3) Ikan Tenggiri, (4) Ikan Sembilang, (3) Ikan Jenahak.

  1. Satar

Otak Otak Malaysia
Otak-otak / Southeast Asia spiced fish cake in leaf parcels

Otak-otak, is similar to 

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