Visiting Malaysia for the SEA Games 2017? Or just taking a holiday in this tropical wonderland? If there’s one thing you must know, the Malaysian street food is just as diverse as the colourful mix of people of different cultures here.
We love our food, especially snacks at the local hawker or street stalls. And it is part of the must-try Malaysian experience every tourist to try our street food and be surprised with how much flavour you can get in just one bite.
Let us introduce you to the 12 most unique Malaysian street food that are as weird as they are delicious!
1. Putu Mayam
The first thing you will think of when you see putu mayam is a lump of stringy white noodles with a heap of brown sugar dumped on top of it. Well, that description sure does not paint a pretty picture, right? But, wait, do not entirely reject it because you might regret for doing so.
Putu Mayam or Idiyappam is a South Indian snack that is made up of rice flour and coconut milk. The flavour of Idiyappam is so rich and milky which is then balance out with the sweetness of jaggery or brown sugar. It is indeed a snack that will just whet your appetite for the rest of the snacks listed below.
The word “otak” is a Malay word that basically means brain. Otak-otak is a grilled fish cake made from ground fish mixed with tapioca starch and spices. The colour of the otak-otak is orange and by just seeing the colour, you will, instantaneously feel hungry.
The grilled Otak-otak will then, be wrapped in a a square-piece banana leaf and usually is served in most warungs and restaurants as snacks. It is usually served to the customers as appetisers and the customers have the option whether they want to eat (you will need to pay for them, of course) or not.
3. Salted Egg Fried Squid/Chicken
Who does not love a good fried chicken or fried squid? The crunchy skin is just a delightful welcome to the soft, moist meat awaiting to satisfy your hungry stomach. However, you will never guess that a simple dish as a fried chicken can be made extra special with some salted egg batter.
For you Westerners reading this, for you a fried chicken or squid is already as fattening as it can ever be but with a little salted egg magic, it is going to taste even better.
Have you ever seen a bowl of brown, milky soup with squiggly green worms and red beans swimming in it? Out of curiosity, you would be brave enough to try it because you would want to know how green worms taste like but we hate to disappoint you by telling you the truth.
The green worms are actually made using rice or sago flour. Therefore, there is nothing bizarre or exotic about it. Just extraordinarily good, that’s all!
5. Chee Cheong Fun
Chee Cheong Fun or its direct translation, pig’s intestines is a famous chinese street food here in Malaysia. Due to its sketchy name, it is a dish that has made Malaysian Muslims afraid from trying it due to the idea that the dish is made up of *gulps* pig’s intestine.
The idea of eating a pig’s intestines does not go well with most non-Muslims too but don’t worry! The dish is actually made of meat and vegetables wrapped in a thin layer of rice flour skin. So, nothing fishy there!
6. Cartoon Cakes
Cartoon cakes are among of the best-selling Malaysian street food snacks in every pasar malam (night markets). The cakes are actually bahulu! You might feel hesitant to take the first bite but the freshly baked bahulus are so light and fluffy that you will stop feeling sorry about eating them!
7. Cola Chicken
In the West, it is normal to find dishes consist of meats marinate in hard liqueur like rum or whiskey. However, here in Malaysia, if you want your products to be enjoyed by everyone regardless of race and religion, you have to make your food halal.
Thus, the cola chicken is born! The chicken is soak in cola and then fried till crispy and nice. The taste? As sinful and as wonderful as you can imagine a chicken soaked in cola.
8. Grilled Oyster
Oysters are usually eaten raw as it is believed that they retain their aphrodisiac values if eaten that way. Malaysians are not keen of eating anything raw. Rather than slurping the oysters, we prefer to chew and enjoy the texture of the oyster. Therefore, the grilled oyster is created.
With 3 types of flavours for you to choose from including cheese, garlic and spicy, these special flavours are added to the oysters while they are being grilled to enhance the taste of the oyster itself. Drooling now, aren’t you?
9. Fried Durian/Jackfruit
For lovers of durians, you would love to know that there is a different way to enjoy your durians. It’s quite common to find Malaysian street food being sold at roadside or pasar malam stalls, selling fried durians and even jackfruits for a tea-time snack or late-night munch.
The taste of durian and/or jackfruit is further enhance when deep-fried. So, make sure you get it before leaving Malaysia.
10. Mushroom Bun
The mushroom bun is actually a type of pau or bao that is steamed until the surface is browned, where it mimics the colour and texture of a mushroom head. Mushroom buns are delicious to eat during cold, rainy days with a cup of hot tea or coffee.
11. Apam Balik
If you love to eat pancakes, this is one local Malaysian street food that you will love to try. Apam balik is basically pancakes made with a peanut and corn filling that makes apam balik simply a good snack to munch on. Apam balik is so cheap that you cannot believe it is so delicious. Now, you know that price does not determine whether a food is delicious or not.
12. Ice Ball
The next time your friend suggests that the gang frolic around under the hot sun visiting historical sites or interesting places around you, be sure to go to place that offered an ice ball as a cold, delicious treat. An ice ball is simply just an ice ball that is flavoured with sugared liquids like grape, strawberry, cola and the traditional gula melaka.
It is a cheaper and more satisfying version of any ice-cream you have tasted before. Believe us, if Ben and Jerry’s knew about the existence of ice balls, they will take ownership of it by now!
So, the next time you are going around pasar malams in Malaysia, do not forget to try all of these 12 Malaysian street food listed above. They might not be aesthetically pleasing but we can guarantee you 100 percent that the taste and flavour will surprise you beyond expectations.