Snacks, in the eyes of Malaysians, are not the same compared to the Westerners who basically have pastries, candies and fast food as their everyday snack. Here in Malaysia, our snacks varied in each state since they have their very own special ingredients and preferences in taste. However, the snacks are shared and loved by all, irrespective of race and religion. Malaysians are also very creative in the way each snacks are made, for example, there are certain cakes that can be steamed such as the healthy yet delicious moist chocolate cake.
One of the states that offered delicious and numerous local snacks for us to choose from is Johor. Johor’s culture is believed to be brought by immigrants and traders who settled in Johor such as the Javanese and the Arabs, and their influences are translated in the different types of snacks produced there. Here is a list of some of the best local snacks that you can find in Johor:
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.
- Koleh Kacang
It is a kuih made from toasted green bean flour and lots and lots of coconut milk. This kuih is rich in aroma as well as flavour and can be found in most pasar, restaurants and sometimes by the roadside. The ingredientsto make Koleh Kacang include “Tahi Minyak”, a coconut milk reduction that turns into a dark colour and crumbly in texture due to the oil released. The crumbles are placed on the top of the koleh kacang as topping. This unique kuih is one of the traditional recipes that are hardly found these days. This kuih is popular among the old folks, such as our grandmothers and grandfathers.
- Kuih Som Som
Kuih Som Som is one of the traditional recipes that serves kuih with gula Melaka syrup. The kuih and the syrup are two different, separate recipes that are combined to make this appetizing snack that can be eaten at all times, including as a must-have breakfast food and celebrating festivals. Kuih som som can be made in various colours but usually, people use screwpine leaves (pandan) for its beautiful green colour and delectable scent.
- Kacang Pool
Kacang pool is a must try snack whenever you come to Johor and it is also can be found in other states of Malaysia since it becomes popular because of its flavoursome taste but simple to make. This snack is suitable to eat for breakfast or as an evening snack. The gravy of kacang pool is rich and creamy, topped of with a half boiled egg and comes with a thick bread that definitely hits the spot when you are hungry.
- Roti Jala
Roti jala is a Malay word which literally means “Net Bread”, due to its appearance that is similar to a fishing net. It can be eaten with curry and kuah durian which can be found in farmers’ markets and evening stalls across the streets. Besides that, this traditional dish is usually served as snacks in events such as weddings and holiday festivals. Roti jala is served in sets and a set usually comes in three to four pieces. Try it with a cup of warm tea or coffee and your day is complete.
- Telur Pindang
Telur pindang is hard-boiled eggs and they can easily be found in Malaysia, especially in Johor. However, the origin of this snack is from Indonesia. Telur pindang is different in taste and colour compared to regular hard-boiled eggs. These eggs are boiled in water and are mixed with salt, soy sauce, shallot skins, teak leaf and other spices. Telur pindang is usually served at weddings as door gifts or decorations. Check out our exclusive take on telur pindang here.
All of these snacks can be found all over Malaysia. The only difference is that different places tend to modify the original recipes because of their respective unique preferences in taste, for instance, Kelantanese love their food to be sweet. So, if you ever come down to Johor, make sure you try their version of local snacks and tell us what you think of them.