Malaysian cuisine is a true reflection of the country’s multi-ethnic makeup, with three major ethnic groups, namely Malays, Chinese and Indians forming the majority parts of ethnic groups in Malaysia.
With historical migrations and previous colonial presence from foreign powers, Malaysia’s culinary history can be traced back to traditions of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian and Bornean roots, with influences ranging from Thai, Portuguese, English, Chinese, Dutch, Arabian and British cuisines (to name but a few).
The result today, is a very diverse population with an incredible fusion of culinary traditions from numerous backgrounds which consequently form a symphony of flavours that make Malaysian cuisine that we know today, very diverse and complex. With 75,000 Malaysian-born residents in London – 21,209 in Greater London, and 11,331 in South East England – we can assume that Malaysian cuisine is quite popular in London.
If Malaysian cuisine is a novelty to you, it can be quite overwhelming to get started on food choices. In this post, I will be writing about London’s favourite Malaysian dishes so that you know whichever dish I mention here, will easily be available in London:
1. Nasi Lemak
Coined by some as Malaysia’s unofficial National Dish,
Nasi Lemak is one to add to your list.
A must-try. Often consumed for breakfast, this dish is quite versatile in that, it can be eaten in different times of day with additional sides such as fried chicken, rendang (I’ll get to it later on), and curries. Perfect. The dish itself contains steamed rice mixed with coconut milk and pandan leaves which create that rich fragrance and aroma.
We Brits know Satay skewers, and truthfully, we’re fond of it. As something we can’t go long without whenever in an Asian establishment, let me give some history behind this iconic sauce.
Coined as sate in Malay, derived in Indonesia, the satay sauce itself is served with unique variations in different countries; Nevertheless, Malaysia is often regarded powerhouse of the infamous Satay sauce made with peanut-based sweet and
slightly spicy sauce, with meats
marinated in local spices.
3. Mee Goreng
Also known as bakmi goreng, this constitutes one of the popular street foods in Malaysia which consists of fried noodles stir-fried in the wok with shallots, chillies, and soy sauce and garlic, often being served with chicken or shrimp. Known internationally, this dish truly is an insane fusion of spices where you can evidently see the influences of different culinary touches – a must-try.
A slow-cooked dry curry infused with ginger, turmeric, kaffir limes and chilli, echoing sweet, savoury, and sour elements of the dish.
Complemented by the richness and creaminess of coconut as well as the pungent taste of asam keping (sour sun-dried fruit), this dish makes for an awesome dish easily eaten with either rice or roti (flatbread).
5. Nasi Goreng
Literally translated to ‘fried rice’, this dish is iconic (rightly so).
Simple enough, this dish is made with rice stir-fried with garlic, chilli, kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) making it an easy favourite street food, popular in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei. Tip: It’s popular to eat this dish with a fried egg on top, so don’t forget to order with it!
This post lightly touches on the countless variety and diversity offered by Malaysian cuisine which cannot possibly be summarised in a single post. However, these dishes are all traditional that both locals and tourists eat, so it’s a good starting point for anyone with no prior experience eating Malaysian food.
Luckily for you, the reader, here at AllEat we have countless options for Malaysian cuisine so you have an abundant amount of choices for you to enjoy, ranging from mild to spicy, sweet to sour. Whatever flavours your palate enjoys, we have it.
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