7 Must-Try Malaysia Dishes (Slideshow)

Malaysia's food scene is a fusion of cultures from all Asia and Europe topped off with its own flair


No trip to Malaysia is complete without trying laksa, which could easily be considered Malaysia's staple dish. There are a varity of laksa dishes to go around (and some can be explosively spicy), yet it seem two variations reign most supreme: asam (meaning tamarind in Malay) laksa with fish, or curry laksa, which is made rich and creamy by its coconut milk broth.

Roti Canai

One of the most delicious breakfasts around, roti canai has its roots stemming from Indian culture. This treat of flakey goodness stretched out to be as thin as a sheet is then folded back up to create a pocket of warmth. It will often times leave a nice residue of ghee, or butter, greasing up your fingers, but it is worth every bite. Roti canai is served with a couple of curries for your dipping pleasure.


Cendol is a strangely delicious Malaysian dessert. Cendol is a cold dessert that consists of these green, jelly-ish strands served in a concotion of coconut milk, locally-made brown syrup and shaved ice. Cendol teaches you not to judge a book by its cover.

Nasi Lemak

Nasi lemak is the creme-de-la-creme of Malaysian food. This common-as-ever meal consists of coconut rice, spicy sambal, crunchy dried anchovies, roasted peanuts, cucumber, and egg — which can be either hard-boiled or flat — all packaged in a banana leaf.  

Apam Balik

A very sweet Malaysian treat, apam balik is a among one of the world's popular pancake-style snacks. Stuff in the apam balik is sugar, peanuts, and sometimes you may even find a dash or two of corn sprinkled in there. A great dessert fix.  

Char Kuey Teow

You can't go to Malaysia without having a taste of char kuey teow. Drawing its influences from China, this dish may seem like a simple rice noodles, but Malaysia will prove you wrong. The noodles are fried with pork lard, which is always a sign of a good char kuey tow, and mixed in along with soy sauce, chili, cockles, bean sprouts, prawn and egg.


You can have your choice with rendang, be it beef, chicken, vegetables, or shrimp — whichever suits your fancy. This dish is typically mistaken for a curry, but it seems there is a big difference between the two. Rendang is slowly simmered so that the meat (or fish and veggies) can asbord the spices of the ginger, turmeric, kaffir lime and chilis until the liquid disappears.