7 Popular And Bizaarre Foods Found In Malaysia

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Countries are different when it comes to their food. Most countries all over the world have special dishes — those dishes that really represent the culture, even the scope and breadth — of their cuisine, and Malaysia is no different. Often visited by honeymooners, backpackers bent on spending a few days tromping all over temple grounds or holiday vacationers who want nothing more than to sip their coconut drinks by the beach, Malaysia is indeed one of the most exciting destinations in Asia. Count in the cuisine as one of the best vacation spots in the continent ever, especially for those who love a taste of the different, tropical, and exotic.

Here’s a list of local fare—some exotic, some very appealing, and some definitely different—you wouldn't want to miss if and when you find yourself spending time in Malaysia. 

Nasi Lemak
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Malaysians are big on rice. They always experiment with yummy varieties of rice meals and flavors. One of these is Nasi Lemak which is considered their national dish. It’s a popular Malaysian dish made up of white rice soaked in coconut cream. Its rice carries the strong aroma of coconut. Often wrapped in banana leaf and eaten with a variety of side dishes, the Nasi Lemak can be eaten at any time of the day.

Also, don’t forget to try eating this dish with a delicious bowl of spicy sauce, hard-boiled egg, roasted peanuts, slices of cucumber, and ikanbilis, as these side-dishes that wonderfully compliment the taste of Nasi Lemak.

Bak Kut Teh
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Bak Kut Teh is a traditional Chinese dish with meaty chunks of pork boiled in a broth for several hours with different Chinese herbs that includes star anise, cinnamon, cloves, dang gui, fennel seeds, and garlic.

Bak Kut Teh literally translates to ‘meat bone tea.’ Despite the name, there is no tea in it. The tea in the name refers to the Chinese tea usually served alongside the soup in the belief that it absorbs the fat in the pork-laden dish. Soy sauce is the go-to dip, along with chopped chili padi and minced garlic.

Typically eaten in the morning and served best with Youtiao, fried strips of bread that you can dip insoup, this dish is a regular best-seller among early risers—it’s a great, delicious way to meet the day!

Nasi Kandar
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Nasi Kandar is a northern Malaysian dish--from Penang—of steamed rice poured with mixtures of curries of fish or chicken. The sauce is usually called ‘banjir’ and is poured directly into the rice. Side dishes usually involve cubed beef, fried chicken, fried pawns, fried squid or fish roe.

Nasi means rice and Kandar is the pole of two huge containers of the rice. This used to be how Nasi Kandar was sold before. The term is still in use today. You can usually find it in Indian-Malaysian stalls.

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Steamboat is a special dish in English, more so because of its meaning and purpose. It is a large pot of simmering meat stock soup. But, it doesn’t stop there. After the soup, you will also be served with several plates full of raw fish, raw meat, noodles, vegetables, tofu, mushrooms and eggs. You can also request for anything else that may complement the meal. These are tossed into the soup and then, cooked.

It is best when you eat with family or friends. Enjoy your Steamboat feast!

Otak Otak
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Otak Otak is a bite-size combination of white fish, blend of herbs and spices, sometimes wrapped in a banana leaf. A lot of leaves and spices are often used so best to inform the cook if you want it less spicy or with no spices added—at all. This is often found in the frozen food or in the canned groceries section. The most popular destination for Otak otak is in the southern Malaysian town of Muar in Johor. Frequent visitors from nearby towns, and even from Singapore, often come by just to buy this dish in bulk.

Otak means ‘brains’ in Indonesian and Malay because it resembles mammal brains in its appearance: grey, soft, and squishy. But it doesn’t stop real foodies from taking and enjoying a hearty bite!

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Malaysians call durian as the king of fruits. It’s a large fruit with a strong, hard, and spikey exterior. Though most hotels and indoor shopping areas ban durians for its smell. While some find the smell all right, the aroma is often overpowering and offensive to others. You can find the raw durian at most road-side stalls in Penang while some vendors sell it as an ice cream or as cream puff filling. For those who haven’t tried it, better to just ignore the smell—if it gets to you—and enjoy it!

Onde Onde
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Onde Onde is a Malaysian dessert made with dough from rice flour filled with juice from the pandan leaf and coconut-rolled liquid palm sugar, coated with sesame seeds. The pandan leaf doesn’t add a strong flavor to the dish, but, it does give Onde Onde its green color. The palm sugar literally bursts in your mouth as soon as you take a bite. The cute Onde Onde has plenty of other variants all over Asia.

Author Bio: This article is written by Cristina Beltran – a blogger & writer at comparehero.my, Malaysia’s leading comparison website. This portal helps individuals in making the best decision by comparing rates from different credit card providers.

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