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Cuisine of Malaysia

Malaysian cuisine reflects the mix of cultures of Malaysia itself with influences from Malay, Indonesian, Chinese and Indian ethnic groups. Rice, noodles, bread, curry, fruit, coconut, seafood and chicken tend to dominate the dishes of this southeast Asian nation.

It's not easy to find authentic ethnic Malay food in Malaysian restaurants. However, you can take your pick of Chinese, Nyonya (a local variation on Chinese and Malay food - Chinese ingredients, local spices), Indian, Indonesian or (sometimes) Western cuisines. Satays (meat kebabs in spicy peanut sauce) are a Malaysian creation and they're found most everywhere. Perhaps the unofficial national dish of Malaysia is nasi lemak, which literally means rice cooked in coconut milk. This comes as a platter with curry chicken, cucumber, small dried anchovies, hard boiled egg and hot spicy sauce, among others. For breakfast, the Indian influence comes through -- there is roti canai (also known as roti chennai), which is layered Indian bread served with curry chicken gravy, or dosai, which are thin Indian crepes originating from southern India.

Some other notable dishes include fried soybean curd in peanut sauce, sour tamarind fish curry, fiery curry prawns and spiced curried meat in coconut marinade. Muslim Indian dishes have developed a distinctly Malaysian style. The variety of wonderful tropical fruits and fruit juices available is huge, and strange sweet concoctions include cendol (sugar syrup, coconut milk and green noodles) and ais kacang (beans and jellies topped with shaved ice, syrups and condensed milk). An unusual mix can be found with rojak, which is a fruit salad with a topping of thick dark prawn paste.

There are also localised Chinese cusine that are found in parts of Malaysia. Examples include:

The best Hokkien fried mee tends to be found in Kuala Lumpur. The best chicken rice with rice ball and bak kut teh served with sea cucumber are found in Malacca and the best assam laksa is found in Penang.

See also: cuisine

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