Delicious dishes in Malaysia that you should try while being here.
32. Chai tow kway
In this dish, rice flour and grated white radish is mixed and steamed into large slabs or cakes.
These are cut up into little pieces and fried with preserved turnip, soy sauce, fish sauce, eggs, garlic and spring onions.
You can have it “white” or “black” (with sweet dark soy sauce added). Also known as fried carrot cake or chye tow kueh, this grease-laden belly warmer is available at many hawker centers.
33. Wonton mee
You'll find variations of wanton mee, a dish of Chinese origin, all over Asia, but the one in Penang stands out.
Springy egg noodles are served al dente with a sticky sauce made from soy sauce and lard oil. A spoonful of fiery sambal is added to the side.
It's topped with pieces of leafy green Chinese kale, sliced green onions, pickled green chilies and wontons. The wontons are either boiled or steamed, as you'll find them elsewhere in Malaysia, or fried, in a unique Penang twist.
34. Goreng pisang
The popular Malay snack of goreng pisang (banana fritters) is one of those dishes that has variations in banana-growing countries around the world.
The deep-frying helps caramelize the natural sugars in the bananas, making them even sweeter than they were to begin with. Some of Malaysia's Chinese versions have unusually delicate and puffy batter.
35. Chicken curry kapitan
This isn't an ordinary curry. A Peranakan dish, chicken curry kapitan has a tangy flavor made from tamarind juice, candlenuts, fresh turmeric root and belacan (shrimp paste.)
As for the name, kapitan was the title of an Indian or Chinese leader in Penang. Legend has it a kapitan once asked his cook "what's for dinner tonight?" The chef replied, "Chicken curry, Kapitan!"
It would be a crime against the dumpling gods to leave this fancy little package off a list of Malaysia's top foods.
More of a side than a main dish, ketupat comes in several varieties. Basically, it involves weaving a pouch made of palm leaves around a handful of rice. The rice expands and compresses, resulting in a neat little bundle you can dip in your curry or rendang.
37. Jeu hoo char
Another Peranakan great -- we could easily put together a list of 40 delicious Peranakan dishes -- this salad features a finely shredded mixture of stir-fried carrots, onions, mushrooms, pork and cuttlefish.
This dish is particularly popular during festivals -- especially Chinese New Year.
38. Kaya toast
Kaya is a sweet and fragrant coconut custard jam, slathered onto thin slices of warm toast with ample butter. It's as divine as it sounds, particularly when downed with a cup of thick black coffee.
Many locals have this for breakfast supplemented by two soft-boiled eggs with soy sauce and pepper.
39. Ais kachang
Shaved ice desserts are always a popular treat in the tropics.
Ice kachang (ice with beans) evolved from the humble ice ball drenched with syrup to be the little ice mountain served in a bowl, drizzled with creamed corn, condensed milk, gula melaka and brightly colored syrups.
Dig into it and you’ll discover other goodies hidden within -- red beans, palm seeds and cubed jellies.
40. Air tebu
While inhabitants of some regions in Asia prefer to gnaw on sugar cane (China and Vietnam, for instance), others take a more refined approach when it comes to extracting the sweet nectar within.
Much of the smoke wafting through Malaysia's bazaar crowds comes from pots of boiling, frying liquid, but a significant portion also originates from the engine of a sugar cane grinder.
Stalks are fed into industrial-sized juicers; the liquid is collected and served by the bag and bottle. There's no dearth of syrupy drinks on offer, but air tebu is the only one that comes with a show.
Hope you enjoy your time in Malaysia!
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