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Winning The Hearts Of The World With Malaysian Cuisines

July 12, 2014 Destination ASEAN No Comments Email Email

Ask any tourist what they like about Malaysia. Chances are, one of them is food. Yes, Malaysia is truly a food paradise. In fact, Malaysians love to eat so much that it has become part of our lifestyle and culture. When a Malaysian meets a friend, the first thing he or she will ask is “Have you eaten yet?”. This is our Malaysian way to say “How are you?”

Winning awards and accolades in cuisines.

Thumbs up to Malaysian cuisines. Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world, has listed Penang as the world?s number #1 foodies for 2014. Penang bagged the top spot beating other culinary spots like Australia, Spain, Italy and the United States. According to Lonely Planet?s editor Robin Barton, “Penang?s food reflects the intermingling of the many cultures that arrived after it was setup as a trading port in 1786, from Malays to Indians, Acehnese to Chinese, Burmese to Thais.”

Barton suggested readers to try Penang?s famous street food – Char Kway Teow, Hokkien Mee and Assam Laksa. As a matter of fact, Penang Assam Laksa was voted seventh out of 50 most delicious foods in the world by CNN. Malaysia?s sole entry beat out Indonesia?s Beef Rendang (No. 11), Singapore?s twin national dishes, Chicken Rice (No. 45) and Chilli Crab (No. 35), and Thailand?s Tom Yum Goong (No. 8), Nam Tok Moo, a meaty dish of grilled pork and toasted rice (No. 19), and its signature green papaya salad, Som Tam (No. 46).

Penang Assam Laksa is a tangy fish-based soup made from tamarind, dried slices of sour mangosteen, shredded fish (mackerel) and sliced vegetables, such as cucumber, onions, red chillies, pineapple, lettuce, mint and ginger. A visit to Malaysia will not be complete without a taste of this award-winning street food.

The triumph continues in Master Chef UK

Malaysian cuisines continued to make headlines recently. Catherine Chin Wan Ping Coombes made Malaysia proud by winning the coveted MasterChef UK 2014 with her starter of Wonton Soup, main course of Nasi Lemak, and dessert of Vanilla and Coconut Pannacotta with Charred Pineapple, Freeze-dried Mango and „Pineapple and Lime Air?. Nasi Lemak is an aromatic steamed rice with pandan aroma with cooked coconut santan and sizzling hot and spicy “sambal” or ground chillies with a thick gravy. To give it an authentic taste, roasted peanuts, salty dried anchovies and hard boiled eggs are added. Nasi Lemak is a national heritage cuisine of Malaysia and has evolved over the decades to include more varieties, such as fried eggs, cockles, sambal squids, fish, chicken, mutton and beef rendang. Malaysians love taking Nasi Lemak as breakfast, lunch, dinner and even supper.

Apart from Nasi Lemak, the Wonton Soup which is a Chinese speciality is made from meat flavoured with sesame oil, soy sauce and wrapped with wonton wrappers. The word “Wonton” means “swallowing a cloud” because the wonton floating on the soup resembles clouds. The food is tasty and best taken with noodles. In winning the MasterChef UK title, Catherine Chin has put Malaysian cuisine on the world map.

Satay, the king of all Malaysian cuisines

If tourists were to choose and vote for their favourite Malaysian cuisine, chances are, Satay will be the answer. Satay is a Malay gastronomic delight made from marinated, skewered and grilled meats on sticks and served with tasty peanut sauce. The commonly used barbecued meats are beef, chicken and mutton but today, Satay has evolved to include more varieties, such as fish, rabbit, venison and pork. In Malaysia, the well-known places to have a tasty bite of Satay is in Kajang town.

Satay is so popular among tourists and locals alike that there are franchises of Satay restaurants outside Malaysia in Europe and USA. As a matter of fact, Malaysia Airlines’ “satay service” was named the World’s Best Airline Signature Dish in the 2013 SKYTRAX World Airline Awards. Hence, it is often said, “To taste Satay is to enjoy a taste of Malaysia.”

More Malaysia Truly Asia cuisines

Besides these award-winning cuisines, Malaysia has other exciting cuisines that reflect its diverse communities and cultures. The ethnic Indians have the popular Banana Leaf Rice, Tandoori Chicken and Roti Canai (Prata). The Peranakan dishes are a unique mix of Chinese and Malay cooking styles and among them are Otak-Otak (Steamed Fish Paste), Perut Ikan (Fish Stomach), Enche Kabin (Fried Chicken with tangy dip) and Jiu Hu Char (Stir-fried jicama, cuttlefish and mushrooms wrapped in lettuce).

For Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia, the popular cuisines are created by the diverse tribes and indigenous communities there. Most of their specialities are made from wild plants, herbs and fruits as well as seafood and freshwater fishes. Among the popular dishes are Jaruk (Wild boar or fish cooked with rice in bamboo shoots), Hinava (fermented dish of fish, ginger shallots, chillies in lime juice) and Manok Pansoh (Chicken, mushrooms, lemongrass and tapioca leaves in bamboo shoots).

The best time to enjoy a taste of Malaysia is during Fabulous Food 1Malaysia, a three-month food festival held nationwide since 2009. This year, Fabulous Food 1Malaysia will be held from August to October, so make a trip this Visit Malaysia Year 2014 and indulge in a fabulously delicious food adventure here.

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