Four Mouth-Watering Malaysian Meals You MUST eat in Penang Anthony Middleton November 30, 2012 Asia, Malaysia 18 Comments Being a self-proclaimed, intense ‘foodie,’ good gastronomy is always high on my agenda when I travel and a bad meal has been known to completely ruin my whole day. The more I eat and the more that I travel, the higher maintenance my palette becomes. Simultaneously, I feel the burning desire to find a destination that matches my seemingly impervious standards, whilst making my stomach growl for more of it culinary delights. I lost hope whilst travelling in Malaysia. The eternal optimist was searching for the white flag. I didn’t think that my belly could ever be as happy as it wanted to be. That was of course, until I went to the lip-smacking, gorgeous food haven of South East Asia that is Penang. Malaysia has been greatly influenced by the long-ago traders from neighbouring countries, such as Indonesia, India, the Middle East, and China. Malay food is best described as mildly spicy and flavourful as it utilises a melting pot of spices and herbs with seasonings playing a significant role in Malay cooking, as they often enhance the food taste and flavours. Whilst wandering with a sad belly through Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, a pattern emerged when talking to fellow foodies; talk of a place called ‘Penang.’ Word on the street was that Penang is the best food that Malaysia had to offer, the golden challis of Malay food if you like. I dropped everything I had planned, and got a ferry straight over there and I was not disappointed. And on that note, I’d like to share with you four of the best meals that Penang has to offer, feel free to salivate at any given time: Nasi Lemak The direct translation of Nasi Lemak is ‘fatty rice,’ but don’t let the fact that its literal simplification is merely lost in English translation, put you off a perfectly good meal. This dish is extremely creamy, rich and soaked in coconut cream and dons the title of “National Dish of Malaysia.” That’s some pretty impressive bragging rights! Traditionally, this comes as a platter of food wrapped in banana leaves, with cucumber slices, small fried anchovies, roasted peanuts, hard-boiled egg, and a choice of a hot spicy sauce, Nasi Lemak’s versatility means it can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch and dinner – any time of day! Asam Laksa You have the forging of Chinese and Malaysian culture to thank for this crowd-pleasing spicy noodle soup, also the Indonesians like to claim to be part of the creation (just another thing for them to fight about). The origin of the name escaped me, as I was too busy thinking about second helpings. Asam Laksa is a sour fish soup with noodles, thick rice noodles also known as laksa noodles are most commonly used in this dish which really compliment the stock that seduces your tongue in seconds. If you like a sour taste to your soup, then Asam Laska is best eaten in Penang as they have their own version ‘Penang Laska.’ Thank me later. Roti Canai There is no doubt who can stake their claim for the foundation of this food – a massive “thank you” to India, for bringing this to my world (and stomach). Simplicity can sometimes be beautiful and this dish is the perfect example. Imagine either a very thin, or very thick (as you get to choose, with its immense varieties) Naan bread. You can order plain, stuffed with tuna, cheese, cooked with lentils or beans – the list is endless. No need for utensils with this meal as you fold up your Roti and dip it in the flavoured curry of your choice. The ideal Roti is hot, flat, fluffy on the inside but crispy and flaky on the outside – enjoy! Chilli Pan Mee No onions in mine of course ;) Chilli Pan Mee is a Chinese-Malaysian cuisine typically served in soup, together with dried anchovies, minced pork, mushrooms, and sweet potato leaves. Original Pan Mee is served in soya sauce, but Chilli Pan Mee gives you the best of both worlds, with the different flavours exploding in your mouth – I prefer a bit of pork belly in mine. Oh Chilli Pan Mee…I could have a bowl, or two, or three. You burn and tingle and turn my taste buds, makes my toes curl with ecstasy and that is why you had such a hold over me! Honourable Suggestion – Teh Tarik Not a food as such – Teh Tarik is the crack cocaine of tea. If you have a sweet tooth and are a fan of the gift from the Gods that is tea – be warned! One sip of this bad-boy and you’ll be waking up in the middle of the night, wandering the streets for your next “hit.” Disclaimer: Thailand still kicks Malaysia’s buttocks with regards to food, but Penang is definitely worth a visit for a complete gorge-fest. What is your favourite on the Malay menu? 18 Responses Financial Samurai November 30, 2012 SO DAMN GOOD! I love every single one of the dishes!! We’ve got some Malaysian restaurants in San Fran, but clearly no comparison. Can’t beat their prices too! Sam Financial Samurai recently posted..What Should I Do Before Quitting My Job? 15 Things To Consider Reply Anthony December 3, 2012 Financial Saumuri – You’re a man of acquired taste! Reply Katie November 30, 2012 Had Malaysian food one time in Manhattan. It was great. I’m sure it’s that much better when you’re there. Reply Anthony December 3, 2012 Katie – overall I wasn’t too impressed (probably because I was always comparing it to Thai food), but Penang does the best dishes in the country. Reply Jade - OurOyster.com December 3, 2012 mmmmmmmmm roti chanai….. sooooo hungry Jade – OurOyster.com recently posted..Travelling With Children – Interview With GreenGlobalTravel Reply Anthony December 3, 2012 Nom Nom Nom Reply Callie December 3, 2012 omg LAKSA. That was my favorite thing in Malaysia – I ate it every day for about two weeks! I didn’t have chili pan mee though, and I am thinking I might have to go back just to eat some. Callie recently posted..GRR, BABY. VERY GRRR! Reply Anthony December 4, 2012 LAKSA FTW!! Reply Ayngelina December 3, 2012 Finally a food post, what took you so long? Ayngelina recently posted..Salivating in Seattle Reply Anthony December 4, 2012 Ayngelina – I’m scared that once I’ve started, I’ll never stop and turn into a food blog!! Reply Enwil December 5, 2012 I just had dinner and this post is making me hungry again. Enwil recently posted..Why You Wont Regret Switching Your Keyboard Layout From QWERTY To DVORAK Reply Anthony December 5, 2012 Eat more – you’ll be as big as me soon Reply Cheryl December 14, 2012 You need to go to Singapore then – you’re going to love the food there! Reply Ian of Borderless Travels December 29, 2012 Those dishes look amazing. I’m back in Canada for a bit so I’ll have to head to Toronto for some Malaysian. Ian of Borderless Travels recently posted..Japanese martial arts: Training in Shorinji Kempo Reply Franca January 18, 2013 We are in Penang as I write and we couldn’t agree more with you. I personally love Roti Canai (the banana version is even better if you are looking for something sweet), Dale is in love with the Nasi Lemak, in fact he thinks it’s the best meal he had in Malaysia so far. We haven’t tried Chilli Pan Mee yet, we must follow your recommendation and have some before leaving the island. Franca recently posted..Knee Deep in the Deer of Nara Reply Ruth February 15, 2013 Ohhh wow, my mouth is salivating like crazy at this moment. The other day I saw an episode of No Reservations filmed in Penang. My husband said it is one of those places where you sit on a chair and order one of everything from the menu. Your post reinforces his desire. Ruth recently posted..Badwater: Salt Crystals at the Lowest Point in North America Reply Travel Makes Me Tick December 8, 2013 Thailand has nothing on Malaysia as far as I’m concerned (and not only in the food department, actually). The mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay cuisines within one country is hard to beat in my book! And Penang, it’s just the best of the best Travel Makes Me Tick recently posted..Thinking ultimate relaxation? Think Pulau Kapas, Malaysia. Reply Anthony Middleton March 24, 2014 I’m torn between 2 lovers Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Name* Email* Website Comment Notify me of followup comments via e-mail Related Posts 7 Reasons Why Burma Wasn’t Perfect How To Get The Best (and Swankiest) View Of The Petronas Towers The Only White Man in the Village South Korea Sucked and I Want My Money Back Related Posts Orangutan Spotting in Borneo Travel Photo Of the Week: Cute Burmese Girl South Korea Sucked and I Want My Money Back Jumping Off the World’s Highest Bungee Jump in Macau (Video Proof Included).