I find it interesting that Malaysian food tastes so familiar yet so different at the same time. Perhaps because the Philippines has a similar landscape and weather conditions as Malaysia, we have the same ingredients off the ground. Be it proximity or be it influences, Malysian food provides a certain comfort and satisfaction to the Filipino taste buds. Here are some must-try dishes from Malaysia (truly Asia).
- Penang Char Kway Teow. First on our list is a staple Asian food item: a noodle dish. Char Kway Teow is basically Malaysia’s version of our local pancit dishes, but with a different set of ingredients: chives, eggs, prawns and beansprouts. The mixture is finished off by a rich sauce mainly composed of soy sauce and spices.
- Bah Kut Teh. From noodles, we go to pork. Bah Kut Teh is a Chinese dish best taken with Chinese tea (what else?). It consists of pork meat, veggies and flour sticks cooked in spiced herbal soup. Just like any pork dish, bah kut teh is best eaten with rice! Now you might not be able to replicate this concoction of a meal, so don’t miss the opportunity to eat it in Malaysia, particularly in Klang, Selangor.
- Chicken Rice. Oh yes, the chicken rice that you know in Singapore is also in Malaysia. Although most people would say that chicken rice in Singapore is the best there is, give Malaysia an opportunity to get the gold medal by trying chicken rice at the Lou Wong Restaurant. Hey, this restaurant wouldn’t be able to make a name for itself if it doesn’t cook a mean version of chicken rice. A flight to Malaysia from either Clark Airport or NAIA would all be worth it with a taste of the best chicken rice in this famed restaurant.
- Roti Canai. Although you can get Roti Canai in various restaurants in Manila, you wouldn’t get it for a very cheap price anywhere else. In Malaysia, roti is a staple food that you will find absolutely everywhere. It’s like Malaysia’s fish balls, basically. Tracing its roots to India, roti is a flattened dough with an addicting texture and the versatility of a true artist. You can eat it with Indian curry (any type of curry), or with condensed milk. You can also take it stuffed with all the goodness of either banana, sardines or eggs.
- Nasi Lemak. The most popular and most familiar-sounding Malaysian dish, nasi lemak is basic and complicated at the same time. Why basic? It’s just rice served with eggs, peanuts and anchovies. Why complicated? The rice is cooked with coconut milk, the anchovies fried to the right crispiness, and the spices impossible to replicate.