Do you know any Malaysians? If you answered yes that would mean you would be familiar with our obsession with food. As a child growing up, I took the abundance and diversity of Malaysian foods around me for granted. This weekend as I looked through my Me Want Food album (yes, I do have a photo album just for food…) I thought why not share them with you.

I had a lot of fun putting this list together and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it too. If you have tried any of them on the list, please let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear what you thought of the dishes.

The list is in no order of preference – I love them all!

1 – Telur Setengah Masak + Roti Bakar

15 dishes you must try in Malaysia - Michelle Was Here
Half boiled eggs + Burnt toast

When translated, this dish is simply “half boiled eggs + burnt toast”, which makes it sound pretty unappealing but don’t be fooled! Though a slightly acquired taste, this combo is a popular breakfast or mid-afternoon snack. The eggs are technically not boiled and instead soaked in freshly boiled water for about 7 minutes. The eggs are then removed from the water, and served (as above) with soy sauce and ground white pepper for taste. The Roti Bakar is thickly sliced bread toasted on a grill. It is served with butter and coconut jam (so good)!

Where to find: This is available in most coffee shops in urban and suburban areas of Malaysia.

Try it here: Yut Kee, Kuala Lumpur

2 – Roti Telur

15 dishes you must try in Malaysia - Michelle Was Here
Roti telur with curry gravy, sambal and dal

This dish probably needs no introduction. Roti Telur (meaning egg bread in Malay), is available almost everywhere today. Here in Australia, the plain ones (Roti Canai) are usually available in the frozen section of most Asian grocers. In spite of its ubiquity, it’s still a dish I gravitate towards when in Malaysia where it is freshly prepared upon your order. The making of the roti is also quite a show, where the dough gets moulded then tossed in the air several times before getting neatly folded like a hankerchief to cook.

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Where to find: Practically in every Malay or Indian coffee shop across Malaysia.

3 – Mee Fun Kueh (in broth)

15 dishes you must try in Malaysia - Michelle Was Here
Handmade noodles in pork and anchovy broth

Mee Fun Kueh (me-fahn-koo-eh), also known as Pan Mee (Pah-n Mee) is a Malaysian Chinese non-halal noodle dish. The noodle is handmade from dough and is freshly cooked upon your order. When ordering, you can opt for your noodles to be the typical stringy kind or for it to be torn from the dough, like pictured above (my favourite <3). The dish are served in a pork-bone and anchovy broth, garnished with minced pork, fried anchovies and choysum, then served with a spicy shrimp paste chili sauce. So. Good.

Where to find: Available in most Malaysian Chinese coffee shops and/or hawker centres during the day. Look out for words Pan Mee on the stalls. If broth is not your thing, you can opt to order it as a dry noodle dish.

Try it here: Restoran Gembira, Petaling Jaya

4 – Wan Tan Mee

Wan Tan Mee - 15 dishes you must try in Malaysia - Michelle Was Here
Wan Tan noodles

Another noodle dish but I couldn’t help myself – I had to share it with you! Wan Tan/ Won Ton Mee is a popular Malaysian Chinese dish. The noodles are cooked, then coated with a mixed sauce with slices of barbeque pork and choysum. Where’s the wonton you ask? It’s served on the side in a little bowl of soup. Wan Tan Mee is usually had during brunch or lunch, and has a sweetish savoury taste.

Where to find: Available in most Malaysian Chinese coffee shops and/or hawker centres during the day.

Try it here: Restoran Okay, Petaling Jaya

5 – Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak, Village Park - 15 dishes you must try in Malaysia - Michelle Was Here
Nasi Lemak with Fried Chicken

Nasi Lemak (Na-see Luh-mahk) is a rice dish cooked in coconut milk with pandan (screwpine) leaves and served with a range of condiments; fried anchovies, fried peanuts, a few slices of cucumber, and a generous (if you’re lucky) serve of sambal. This forms the base dish and is the standard serve of what you’ll get when you order a plate of Nasi Lemak. But the dish doesn’t end here – most times you’ll get to add-on to your nasi by getting other staples to the dish: Fried chicken, beef rendang (maybe some mutton too), cockle and/or cuttlefish sambal. SO. GOOD.

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Where to find: Practically in every Malay or Indian coffee shop across Malaysia.

Try it here: Village Park, Petaling Jaya  <— You really must!

6 – Bak Kut Teh

Bak Kut Teh - 15 dishes you must try in Malaysia - Michelle Was Here
Bak Kut Teh with Yau Char Kueh

Bak Kut Teh (baak-koot-tayh) is hokkien for meat ribs in broth. This dish is popular among the Hokkien and Teochew community in Malaysia and can be found in other parts of South East Asia (that said, the Singaporean version of Bak Kut Teh is very different to the Malaysian). The broth is boiled for hours with pork-bones and a mix of Chinese herbs. Upon ordering your Bak Kut Teh, you can request for additional dishes such as offal, stir friend vegetables, and my personal favourite, Yau Char Kueh (chinese donuts). Enjoy this hearty meal with Oolong or GuanYin tea!

Where to find: The good ones are spread around town so it can be a little difficult to get to. Most Bak Kut Teh shops are standalone restaurants, unlike stalls in a hawker centre.

Try it here: Kee Hiong Klang Bak Kut Teh, Petaling Jaya

7 – Cendol

Cendol - 15 dishes you must try in Malaysia - Michelle Was Here
Cendol with grass jelly

Cendol (Chen-doll) is a sweet dessert that is a local favourite. It originated from Indonesia and can be found all over South East Asia. At first glance, Cendol can look a little questionable and it’s no surprise why! They do after all, look like little green worms swimming drowning in brown water. The little worms (the Cendol) are made from rice flour and it gets the green from the pandan (screwpine) extract. It is usually served in a syrup made from palm sugar and coconut milk, along with shaved ice.

Try it here: Cendol Truck, Petaling Jaya or Joo Hooi, Penang

READ ALSO: Travel Itinerary: Penang in 3 days

8 – Nasi Kandar

Nasi Kandar - 15 dishes you must try in Malaysia - Michelle Was Here
Nasi Kandar with Fried Chicken, Okra Curry, Fried Squid and Papadam

Nasi Kandar (Kaahn-Daar) is a dish that originated from the north of Malaysia, Penang among the Indian-Muslim community. It is essentially a meal of steam rice served with a variety of curries. The name Nasi Kandar (nasi means rice, kandar means balance) came from its beginnings when hawkers selling food at ports would carry the rice and curries in two buckets balanced on their shoulders with a long pole. Today though, we are spoilt for choice. A plate of nasi kandar means an sinful amount of side dishes (as pictured above).

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Try it here: Kayu Nasi Kandar, Selangor or Line Clear Nasi Kandar, Penang

9 – Nasi Dagang

Nasi Dagang - 15 dishes you must try in Malaysia - Michelle Was Here
Nasi Dagang

Nasi Dagang is one of those dishes that is unique to the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Nasi Dagang literally means Trading Rice, and is a popular breakfast dish in the North Eastern states of Malaysia (Terengganu, Kelantan) and the Southern border of Thailand. What makes this dish so unique is the way the rice and curry is cooked. Unlike other curry dishes (like ones you would have for Nasi Kandar), Nasi Dagang curry is prepared in a Malay-style with very different spices, which is what gives it its distinctive taste. The result is a beautiful concoction of sweet and savoury.

Try it here: Stalls on the right upon entering Pasar Besar Dungun, Terengganu (produce market)

10 – Laksa Terengganu

Laksa Terengganu - 10 dishes you must try in Malaysia - Michelle Was Here
Laksa Terengganu

Laksa Terengganu is nothing like the laksa you know – it’s not even well-known among locals! Another specialty dish in the Eastern states, no curry paste is involved in this dish. The broth is simply a rich and full-bodied gravy made from minced fish paste, Vietnamese paste, lemon grass, garlic, ginger, wild ginger flower and coconut milk. It is then served with thick vermicelli noodles and julienned cucumbers. For extra oomph, you can add in blended chili into the dish, turning the dish into a pretty coral hue.

Try it here: On the way Kopitiam, Terengganu


Have you had any of the dishes here before? What did you think of them?


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10 Food Dishes you have to try in Malaysia

13 thoughts on “10 Malaysian foods you have to try (in Malaysia, of course)”

  1. Wow that all looks sooo good! In the UK we have boiled eggs and toast for breakfast and i love it so much, especially when the yolk is still runny 🙂

  2. Yes drooling! I love all these dishes! Esepcially Nasi Lemak, Laksa and Roti Telur! This makes me miss Malaysia so much! I think its time to book a sneaky trip! Thanks for inspo! <3 x

  3. This all looks and sounds scrumptious! I’m very interested in that Laksa Terenggan. Those flavors are some of my favorite and I haven’t met a noodle I don’t like! I have never had any Malaysian food, hell I didn’t really know what it would consist off but all of this looks great.

    1. Laksa Terengganu is really unique and many. Of my friends haven’t tried it too. But it really is a must! The east coast of the peninsular is so different and really more apparent in their dialect and food. If you do ever head that way, let me know!

  4. Love this round up! Malaysian food is my absolutely favourite cuisine – I could literally eat it everyday…although it wouldn’t do well with my waistline!!! I 100% agree with Village Park for the BEST Nasi Lemak in town in KL.

  5. Ohhh I missed some of them. TheBak Kut Teh and also Nasi Dagang they look delicious. Maybe I missed the Nasi Dagang because it is from the east coast I have been just in Malaka and after west coast. Next time I will look for it 🙂

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