6. Dry Mee Hoon with Minced Pork
Chinese noodles served in a pool of special dark gravy and topped with minced pork. Perfect for breakfast, while waiting for the city to wake up; or for a pre-dinner snack eaten while loitering around a hawker stall as you lazily people-watch. Eat with a hot cup of Kopi Tarik.
7. Nasi Lemak
Malaysians sure know how to start their day! The traditional Malay (all-day) breakfast of rice cooked in coconut milk (thus, the name), topped with fried dilis (anchovies), boiled egg, sliced cucumber, roasted peanuts and sambal (chili) and wrapped in banana leaf is sure to wake you up.
No wonder nasi lemak is Malaysia’s national dish and considered a national heritage!
Some restaurants add chicken or beef rendang to the platter which is quite delightful as well. I don’t eat the sambal though so I pretend it’s just food décor.
8. Chicken Rice
When all else fails, eat chicken rice. During the first month of my (almost) two year-stay in Malaysia, I depended heavily on chicken rice for my daily sustenance, having not adjusted well to the spicy Malay food.
Nothing is more simple (and healthier) than a meal consisting of poached chicken, slices of cucumber and rice cooked in a special chicken broth. And yet, the simple meal becomes magical when you complement it with one or all of the three tasty condiments: dark, caramelized soy sauce, minced ginger and you guessed it… sambal (chili).
If you’re the more adventurous type and willing to travel for two hours just to try something different, hop on a bus to Melaka. Once there, troop down Jonker Street and look for the Famosa Chicken Rice Ball Restaurant.
The proprietor’s standee will be there to greet you.
Don’t expect too much from the chicken balls, though. It’s just the usual chicken rice shaped into small golf-ball sized portions.
They say the shape keeps the rice warm for a longer period of time. But today, people enjoy it more for its novelty.
9. Ramly Burger
Ramly Burger is Malaysia’s version of Burger Machine and can be found at almost every street corner and night market. It was discovered online by H, and was on top of his personal KL To-Do list. Naturally, that was the first thing we looked for as soon as we set foot in KL. We didn’t have to search for long as there was one right at the corner of our hotel’s street.
Ramly Burger is all at once weird, complicated, sloppy and delicious. Preparation alone involves an energetic performance by Ramly (no, he’s not really Ramly, we just call him that).
For the ‘icing on the cake’, the patties are wrapped in fried egg, before being sandwiched between buns filled with various greens.
And while the result looks like a hodge-podge of a sandwich, the taste is nonetheless unforgettable.
Some people find Ramly Burger so delish that they buy dozens of frozen patties to bring home. Some even smuggle the patties back to Singapore where, for some strange reason, the burgers are not allowed to be sold.
Malaysia is a foodie paradise, a country where so much culinary secrets are just waiting to be discovered. I know I haven’t even mentioned the sumptuous Nyonya cuisine yet… or the mouth-watering rice cakes and sweets. And how about my favorite kopi and teh tarik, two wonderful drinks that deserve a post all their own? Or the endless array of street food one can savor in night markets.? Any more recommendations for my next trip? I’m always open to suggestions.:)