Some of the best dishes in Malaysia.
16. Sambal udang
The Baba Nyonya people, also known as Peranakan or Straits Chinese, are mainly of Chinese descent, originally from Fujian province in southeastern China.
They settled along the coast of Malaysia mainly in Penang and Melaka, as well as parts of Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. These days, they're famous for their incredible food.
A popular Peranakan dish, sambal udang is all about prawns. Whole prawns are sent swimming into a delicious pool of sambal -- chili paste -- that's flavored with prawn paste. The addition of tamarind juice gives it a tangy kick.
17. Asam pedas
Nazlina Hussin, founder of the popular Penang cooking school Nazlina Spice Station, says it'd be outrageous not to include asam pedas on any short list of her country's best foods.
A fish curry popular throughout peninsular Malaysia, it's commonly made with freshwater fish or stingray.
Asam, which means tamarind, features heavily, along with ginger, shrimp paste, garlic, chilies and other herbs.
Eaten with a meat or vegetable dish, lemang is glutinous rice mixed with coconut milk, which is cooked in bamboo.
The time-consuming process to make lemang starts by lining hollowed-out shoots with banana leaves.
The bamboo is left over a fire to slowly cook the rice in a process known as tapai.
The result is sticky, wet rice that can, and regularly does, make a nice substitute for its plain Jane counterpart.
19. Otak-otak (brains)
Perhaps named by someone with an offbeat sense of humor, otak-otak gets its graphic moniker from its appearance, not its taste or ingredients.
This fish paste mixture of spices and diced onions is loosely wrapped in a banana leaf and barbecued over charcoal until the pinkish contents become warm and the leaves are slightly charred.
No fuss or frills when it comes to eating -- picking at it straight from the leaf is the only way to do it.
20. Tepung pelita
A kind of kuih (Malay-style pastry), tepung pelita easily takes the cake when compared to its post-dinner relatives. At some point just about everyone has over-indulged in this two-layered coconut milk-based sweet.
On the top layer, thick coconut milk with salt; on the bottom, a similar milky liquid mixed with sugar and pandan leaves to turn it green.
Served in bite-sized pandan leaf bowls, the packaging of tepung pelita makes it easy to fulfill those gluttonous desires.
Few snacks come saltier, or more gratifying, than rempeyek.
This top Malaysian food is commonly made by deep frying a doughy batter into a thin brittle and topping it with peanuts and anchovies.
The amount of salt can vary and there are variations that use dried shrimp or garlic instead of anchovies.
Rojak ("mixture" in Malay) is essentially a fried dough fritter with fruits and veggies, though there are regional variations.
But vegetarians shouldn't get their hopes up. The whole mixture is combined with Malaysia's ever-popular shrimp paste.
It's the perfect combination of sweet, spicy and sour.
23. Putu piring
Like roti jala, putu piring is enjoyed in India and Malaysia.
Putu piring has the taste of a cake, with the added bonus of pockets of palm sugar.
It’s plate-like shape is formed by flattening the flour before covering it with a white cloth and placing it in a conical steamer.
To be continued…
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