Day 39: Malaysia

Malaysia is home to numerous architectural marvels, baffling bio-, ethnic-, linguistic, and religious diversity for a country of its size, a food they are so proud of that it is featured on their money.  Bahasa Malaysian is the official language (there are ten dialects!) and there are 137 other languages spoken in Malaysia.  English is prominently used throughout the country though there is much discussion on how it has been "pidgin-ized" into a language affectionately called "manglish."  but Malaysian food is an assortment of pan-Asian fusion with Javanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, and Sumatran cuisine.  Malay's are so proud of their food that it is featured on their currency.  

Try the starters (Roti on the outside, and Satay).  The curry flavors from India and the peanut sauces from Asia speak to Malaysia as a hub of pan-Asian fusion food.


There are a number of places to get great Malaysian food, but through some careful research (the recommendation of an Indonesian friend), we went to Mamak and were not disappointed.  The difference between Mamak and other Malaysian places is the quality of their sauces.  Mamak means "street vendor" and they serve a number of Malaysian street foods.  We tried the national dish, Nasi Lemak.  This rice dish is served with anchovies, curried lamb, peanuts, and chili paste with a coconut milk rice as the base.  Through traditional served in a banana leaf, it is pictured here on a plate.  It is a common breakfast food in Malaysia.

Nasi Lemak, the national dish of Malaysia 

Don't be too quick to pass over the vegetarian menu (vegetarians: they have a good selection, meatatarians: the veggies taste like meat!).  We tried the sautéed water spinach (Kang Kung Belacan) all had the same reaction: "this is what every vegetable should taste like."    

When we ate the sautéed water spinach we all said the same thing "This is what every vegetable should taste like. 

Finally, don't leave without trying rendang. This was voted the world's best food on an international poll, so any time I get a chance to try it, try it I must.  This savory dish is stewed beef with sweet curry flavors.

Malaysian Rendang has a lighter and sweeter flavor than its Indonesian counterpart.