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Malaysian Cuisine

Posted: 18th May 2015 08:44

Malaysian cuisine, like its population, is multi ethnic, with roots in Malay, Chinese, Indian and Thai dishes.  It owes its variety to its intricate and often turbulent history, which has seen it become part of many European and South Asian empires during the last 2,000 years.

Malaysian dishes are typically a medley of rice and noodles infused with chilli peppers.  Meats include beef, pork and chicken, and particularly notable is seafood which includes prawn, crab, squid, cuttlefish, clams and octopus.  Sauces often stem from Chinese influences, and soy is common though sweet, sour and spicy pastes are common.  Naan breads often accompany Malaysian dishes, which is testimony to Indian influence, whilst western white bread is also widely eaten.

Malaysian cuisine is often as visually engaging as it is tasty.  Testament to this is a popular dish called banana leaf rice; curried meats served with white rice in an exotic banana leaf and traditionally eaten with the hands.  The rich dark soy sauces of Hokkien Mee, a fried pork dish with thick yellow noodles, are a stark colour contrast.  Malaysians grill their food to perfection and satay meats are a popular choice, which come swathed in a rich peanut sauce.

Food is a fiesta in Malaysia and the Pasar Malam (night time markets) are filled with the inviting aromas of chargrilled meats, whilst huge steel woks bubble with dark viscous sauces.  On the opposite side of the culinary spectrum are the world class restaurants abundant in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.  Bijan is one such fine dining restaurant, which seeks to bring out the sophistication in Malaysian cuisine.  Kuih is a popular practice in luxury dining and consists of snack sized portions of desserts and savoury dishes.  Kuih banquets are often very vivid and extravagant, with popular choices including Nian Gao (a sweet rice cake) and Fun Guo (steamed dumplings).