Just like the country itself, Malaysian street food is exciting, eclectic, and bursting with myriad flavors. With its Chinese, Thai, and Indian influences, the best Malaysian food will blow your mind with a range of dishes that use exciting and exotic ingredients to create a palate-satiating fare.
From the famous Jalan Alor food street to the Gurney Drive, you can feast your senses and your tummy on a Malaysian street food tour from Kuala Lumpur to Penang. Let us take you along on this culinary hunt for the best Malaysian street food!
Penang Assam Laksa (Rice Noodles In Fishy Soup)
Malaysian street food recipes vary in different parts of the country. In Penang, the humble noodle soup dish (laksa) is transformed into a tangy and delightful concoction by adding Assam (tamarind) and many more flavourful herbs popular Malaysian street foods.
Flat thick rice noodles and mackerel shavings give the broth its flavor, while lemongrass, ginger flower, and Vietnamese mint leaves tantalize your taste buds with every spoonful. Add just a scoop of shrimp paste to this mix, and you’re in for a treat!
Rojak (Fruit And Vegetable Salad)
Don’t let the name deceive you into wondering what a salad is doing on the best Malaysian street food list. This quintessentially Malaysian variant is a sweet and sour preparation of assorted fruits and vegetables in shrimp sauce garnished with crushed peanuts.
It typically uses turnips, cucumber, green mangoes, bean sprouts, fried tofu, and green apples. The Penang style rojak uses guava and honey, too; the final dressing of sugar, chilli, lime juice, and shrimp paste imbues the dish with its unique flavour.
Ipoh Hor Fun
These unique flat rice noodles found nowhere else in the world have a delightful taste and an exciting story to tell. Brought to Malaysia by the Chinese immigrants at Ipoh (in Perak State), these noodles are said to get their unmatched flavour by using the unique spring water from limestone hills around Ipoh.
The rice noodles are served in a rich chicken and prawns broth with shredded chicken, prawns, mushrooms, spring onions, fish balls, et al. Also called Kai See Hor Fun, served with hot chillies in soy sauce.
Brought to Malaysia by the Hokkien immigrants from China, this is another Malaysian food offering a flavour overload with its range of ingredients. Yellow egg noodles cooked in a dark soy sauce are then topped with pork meat, squid, prawns, and pork lard.
A little sambal balacan gives it a nice spicy hint. The Penang variant is cooked in shrimp stock and garnished with fish cake, spring onions, and lime to give it a distinct flavour while keeping the primary dish.
Lok Lok/Satay Celup
Meaning “dip dip” is one ubiquitous Malaysian street food that offers various tastes in a single satiating meal. The idea is to choose from a range of Malaysian food skewers with varying prices and dip them in a steaming hot delicious broth.
This fun community eating around a single clay hotpot is now hugely popular through food trucks around the cities. The semi-cooked skewers include meatballs, prawns, cockles, etc., which are dipped in either hot peanut sauce or boiling soup stock.
Though Nasi Lemak is known the world over and available at most restaurants and cafes, nothing beats the fresh banana leaf packages sold on the streets. This popular Malaysian food is primarily a delicious and sumptuous rice breakfast dish.
The delightful coconut-cooked rice is idealized with boiled eggs, cucumbers, and fried anchovies in shrimp paste and chili sauce. This fragrant rice dish is considered the national dish of Malaysia.
Chee Cheong Fun
Chee Cheong Fun is originally a Cantonese dish belonging to southern China and Hong Kong, yet it is popular in Malaysia. Perfect as a hearty breakfast or a satiating mid-day Malaysian snack, this rice noodle dish is a must-feature on every Malaysian street-food list for its flavourful yet straightforward offering.
Though similar to yet distinct from the rice noodle rolls sold at dim sum stalls, this one uses thick rice noodles in a dark sweet shrimp sauce with some chili sauce.
This creamy and flavourful Malaysian dessert is a must-try for those with a sweet tooth and an appetite for unusual and exciting dishes. Prepared with coconut milk, palm sugar syrup, and ice shavings, Chendol is usually served in a tall glass or a bowl.
The green jelly-like noodles made from mung-bean flour and food coloring (from the pandan leaf, vanilla-like plant) give the dish its unique taste and drool-worthy appearance. Many vendors also garnish it with diced jackfruit and sweetened red beans called ‘durian’ before serving you this delightful Malaysian street food in Kuala Lumpur.
Char Kuey Teow
One of the most flavourful noodle preparations among the best Malaysian food, this smoky version is a must-try when visiting the country. Flat rice noodles cooked in a traditional Chinese wok at the high flame turn to this aromatic delight with a distinct smoky flavor.
Soy sauce, prawns, bean sprouts, spring onions, and sausages lend their flavors and taste to make it the king of Malay noodle dishes. The noodles are usually cooked in small batches to retain the smoky aroma. Specific unique versions are peppered with mantis prawns and crabs.
Batu Maung Satay (Grilled Meat On Skewers)
No Malaysian street food market is complete without the vast open ovens loaded with meat skewers being char-grilled to perfection. Marinated pork, chicken, and beef pieces on bamboo skewers are smoky hot with peanut sauce, cucumber chunks, and raw onions.
The sight of enthusiastic satay vendors fanning their ovens to serve you these perfectly grilled yummy chunks is enough to set your stomach rumbling!
Apom Balik is an unusual pancake that you will only find in the streets of Malaysia. The pancake is made from sticky rice with a creamy corn side. It is prevalent street food in South East Asia.
It is sweet, eggy, and fluffy. You will also find a peanut filling inside the pancake that offers a crunchy and peanut-ty taste to the pancake. The giant-sized pancake should be on your list of Malaysia street food to try.