Fall in love with Malaysia’s food.

The foods, Malaysian foods of this vibrant country – cooked by warm-hearted people – seemed to erase the lines between religion, race and culture. Each dish tasted like it was marinated in history, cooked with pride and served with utter conviction of its place in Malaysia.

Chef Bak Kut Teh, catch him in Batu Ferringhi food court in Penang, Malaysia.

The ingredients were freshly plucked from farms and gardens throughout the land, and the dishes were as multi-faceted as the people themselves.

Vegetables go wild at Bangsar night market.

There was a national pride that poured from the very pores of every Malaysian person I met, and yet they were completely unaware of it.

Malaysian food is a mosaic of cuisines from a multitude of ancient cultures.

Food is celebrated twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week – when a local was not eating they were inevitably having  long discourses on food.

Whether it is Hokkien or South Indian, Malay or Baba-Nyonya, Muslim-Indian or Malacca Portuguese there was one distinct ingredient stewing in the many cultural pots…Malaysian pride.

Food lovers quickly learn to speak the language of Malaysian food.

Crisp vegetables in creamy Baba-Nyonya sauces, and spicy, slow-simmered tamarind-based South Indian fish curries co-existed in symbiotic harmony with Mamak’s nasi kandar. 

Hokkien fork-tender meat broths, and Chinese fast-fried noodles, Char Kway Teow didn’t battle for precedence, instead they owned their moments.

Char kway teow, whipped up on the spot in the food court of Sri Hartamas shopping area.

Added to these historical foods were modern day evolutions using new and interesting ingredients to influence old dishes. And one cannot ignore the new cultural explosion happening too – there are foods of Philippines, Hong Kong, Korea, Ireland, Thailand, and more.

Your every craving will be fulfilled.

Nasi Lemak came wrapped in a pretty little package. I relished opening my tiny green breakfast pyramid to reveal the perfect meal of tangy sambal with salty anchovies, creamy coconut rice, crisp cucumbers, and a plain boiled egg to absorb all those yummy flavours.

Friendship cafe in Damas suites complex served the freshest Nasi Lemak.


One dish I will never forget was an oxtail soup served at a tiny pub (Rennie’s, Petaling Jaya) in Kuala Lumpur. It tasted like many cultures singing one sweet song, it tasted like Malaysian life in a bowl.

Rennie’s House of Oxtail. Historical joint, memorable oxtail soup.

I never knew beurre noisette (brown-butter), shallots and black pepper, tossed with butterflied prawns over a charcoal fire could taste like a Guyanese childhood soul food, and a French fine-dining dinner all at once.

Batu Feranghe food court every evening in Penang, Malaysia.

This sweet potatoes and coconut milk based soup was made with lemongrass, Belacan (Malay shrimp paste), and finished with wilted sweet potato leaves. Pure, clean impressive food. Belacan adds the most delicious umami flavour to Malaysian dishes.

Best Nyonya food in Penang is at Nyonya’s Breeze Desire. She is absolutely brilliant at what she does.

Organic pork, grown in Cameron Heights, made the cleanest bacon imaginable. Served on a Caesar salad of fresh, crisp, chemical free goodness.

When you’re craving something familiar just pop into Healy Mac’s Irish pub in any city – Penang, Malacca, and Kuala Lumpur.

One morning I needed a North American breakfast just because I did. The café owner whipped up this simple and delicious meal of farm-fresh eggs, fried potatoes, and just-delivered green.

Friendship cafe – from the best Nasi Lemak to the best “Canadian Breakfast”

Eating, sunning and swimming in Malaysia will soothe your mind, body, and soul.

Come eat, glow, and grow with us, on our Culinary Tour Malaysia.

Join us on our next tour MAKAN, MAKAN MALAYSIA! 

Leaving April 15th, 2017,  for 14 glorious days and nights.


Samantha McLeod

Vancouver based food and travel writer.

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