12 Food Study-abroad Malaysians (always) Crave for

village park nasi lemak

Malaysia is famous for its food.
There are so many dishes that are unique to Malaysia and the amalgamation of cultures (mainly Malays, Chinese and Indians) have contributed to the “Malaysian cuisine” that we now know. When it comes to us Malaysians who study abroad, even though it wouldn’t be difficult to find Malaysian food overseas, some of the food just DOESN’T TASTE THE SAME!
*No hate here, just mainly because the atmosphere isn’t the same.* 🙂

So if you are a study-abroad student who’s still in Malaysia, hurry up and indulge yourselves in the luxury of being able to have all of these food before summer ends!

With that being said, if you are a tourist in Malaysia, you really should/ HAVE TO try these out, because these are exactly what us locals will die to have.

1. Nasi Lemak

Being the No.1 national dish, Nasi Lemak is our all-time favourite!
That sambal (the mighty chilli sauce that comes with it) is the one that makes the difference, unless you are that Malaysian who eat Nasi Lemak without the sambal. Bro, I am TOTALLY judging you now.

Personal favourite: Village Park Nasi Lemak, Damansara Uptown

2. Char Koay Teow –sometimes non-halal

I have to be quite honest here, I can’t quite find a good CKT here in London! Maybe it’s the wok hei (wok chi- you know the kungfu panda chi kind of chi? Lol kidding, it’s the flavour created when something is stir-fryed in a wok using high heat, with a bit of charring) that’s lacking. Or maybe because there are no si ham (cockles) and pork lard in the CKT here? Or also maybe, the noodles are slightly different here? Or maybe I just haven’t found one?
Or, all of the above?

char koay teow

There’s no personal favourite, hahah there are too many!
The best ones are in Penang, of course. 🙂

3. Satay 

I CANNOT FIND THIS HERE IN LONDON, WHY. *But when I googled I actually found one*
Similar to meat kebab, but abit more charred, coupled with Kuah Kacang (Peanut Gravy, with a bit of chilli oil). Usually comes with Ketupat (Malay steamed rice) and cucumber slices too.

satay kajang

Personal favourite: Restoran Malaysia, Kajang/ Restoran Haji Samuri, Klang Valley

4. Roti Canai

Usually called Roti Pratha in other countries.
And not just Roti Canai, we miss the entire Mamak stall/restaurant! In Malaysia, most Mamak food businesses runs 24 hours/ close at 4-5am, we can literally find food anytime! The Western equivalent? Kebab. LOL.
Teh Tarik, Milo Dinosaur, Roti Tisu, Roti Bom, Roti Banjir, Cheese Naan, Maggi Goreng, Chicken Tandoori… You name it, they have it.

roti canai

Mamaks are everywhere! I have no personal favourites too, although Murni is a common one in Klang Valley.

5. Banana Leaf Rice

I CANNOT FIND THIS HERE TOO, WHY. *But when I googled I actually found one, too, LOL*
This Southern Indian cuisine can be found in a lot of places in Malaysia, especially near Jalan Universiti/ Brickfields area if you are in Klang Valley. As straightforward as it is, rice is served on banana leaf and it comes with assorted vegetables as well as my favourite Papadom cracker. It is best savoured when drenched with curry(s) and dhal, and a Mango Lassi would be a perfect end to your hearty meal!

banana leaf rice

My favourite used to be Raju’s Jalan Gasing, but their original shop’s outdoor seating area was taken over by local authorities, resulting in a huge shrink in dining spaces. *It seems that they have a second outlet now, I have not been there.* However, the prices of dishes at any Banana Leaf Rice restaurant have sadly doubled in recent years, if anyone can give me any recommendation please? Thank you! 😛

6. Dai Chow 大炒 –usually non-halal

HK equivalent: Dai Pai Dong 大排档, SG equivalent: Tze Char 煮炒
KL Hokkien Mee, Wat Tan Ho, Yin Yang Chow… You name it, and they’ll cook upon order. What makes the difference – Pork Lard!

hokkien mee

Personal favourite: Mun Wah Hokkien Mee, KL (they specialise in Hokkien Mee, and their fried chicken wings are oh so delicious!)
Or Hakka Marble, Cheras, with a hakka twist.

7. Ramly Burger/ Roadside Burger

You will NOT find these anywhere else other than in MALAYSIA.
These are the Malaysian version of local burgers, and I can assure you that they are finger-lickin good! The patties are usually beef/chicken/lamb (although not necessarily Ramly’s! haha), some stalls might even have ostrich/ rabbit/ crocs and other exotic meat.
Double patty, Double Cheese, Double everything, or Triple everything, you name it, they make it for you.

brader john burger uptown

Personal favourite: Brader John Burger, Damansara Uptown.

8. Your local Kopitiam Breakfast

Half boiled eggs and a cup of Kopi-O *kaw kaw -means thick coffee* + kaya and butter toast. The standard kopitiam breakfast. Even if you can find these overseas, it’ll never taste the same bro. *insert sentimental music*

kopitiam half-boiled eggyut kee kopitiam

No favourites, but the best coffee shops are usually the Hainanese ones/ Ipoh ones.
As for Hainanese coffee shops: Yut Kee, Dang Wangi is pretty good.

9. Your local Pasar Malam (Night Market) Delights

I know, I miss them too! Sometimes it’s not exactly the food that I miss, it’s the atmosphere!

smelly tofu

Featuring the smelly tofu from the longest night market in Malaysia: Taman Connaught, Cheras

10. Your local ice-cream vendor

I am quite confident we have one of the cheapest local ice-creams in the world!
Do you remember those ice cream motorcycles that almost always go around with the paddle pop song? I bet we are all so glad that they still exist!
And if you are not a Malaysian, you are probably wondering, how cheap is cheap?
There you go, the ice cream at the photo below costs RM1.80 (2 scoops), less than 40p GBP/ 50 cents USD. HAHA

ice cream malaysia

Featuring the 30-yr-old ice cream stall next to The Store supermarket, Tampin, Negeri Sembilan.

11. Your hometown food

Laksa!!!! There are easily more than 10 Laksa(s) in Malaysia- Penang Asam Laksa, Johor Laksa, Terengganu Laksa, Kelantan Laksa, Nyonya Laksa, Curry Laksa, Sarawak Laksa, Kedah Laksa, Laksam…  and more. Haha!
My hometown? Chicken rice balls, cendol, Grilled fish in Portuguese style, Nyonya laksa, Nyonya Pai Tee, Nyonya Kuih and so much more!
But I am quite greedy lah, besides Malacca food, I like other people’s hometown food also, because I am a Malaysian ma. 😛

penang asam laksa

12. Bak Kut Teh –non-halal

You will NOT find these anywhere else other than in MALAYSIA, too. At least so far I have not seen one.
It is essentially pork cooked in herbal tea soup, and the best place to have BKT is at its birthplace of course, none other than Klang!

bak kut teh klang

We have halal ones around too, it is commonly called Chik Kut Teh.

13. Chilli Pan Mee (Noodles with minced meat and dried chillies paste)
14. Chicken Rice
15. Apam Balik (Malaysian Pancake)
16. Chinese/ Kampung Fried Rice
17. IKEA Currypuffs? HAHAHA (and meatballs, and froyo)
18. ALL the KUIH(s)
19. Dim Sum

Haha okay sorry I lied, how can the list end at 12!?!!!! And I haven’t even listed down all of them so it doesn’t quite end at 19 either! 😛

local breakfast malaysiasalted egg yolk custard bun

Last but not least, how can we ever forget the King of all Fruits- Durian!


durian durian

This post is dedicated to my home country.
Happy 59th birthday, Malaysia. ♥   #sayaanakMalaysia #Malaysiaboleh

Jo, x

Leave a comment x