The richer member of the laksa family, thanks to coconut. (Learn how to make curry laksa here!) The rempah (spice paste) of turmeric and ginger and lemongrass, chilies and belacan, imparts flavor to the coconut milk broth; along with noodles, it'll be topped with shrimp, tofu puffs (that soak up the rich broth), cucumber, fish balls, and eggs.
As easy to find as a sandwich in America, nasi lemak could be considered Malaysia's national dish—a little banana leaf parcel that cradles a bed of coconut rice with spicy sambal, crunchy dried anchovies (ikan bilis), roasted peanuts, cucumber, and egg (sometimes sliced of hard-boiled, sometimes cooked like a flat omelet). Read more
HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE
Like many of Malaysia's signature dishes, it originated somewhere else (Hainan, natch) but adapted to suit local taste. It's chicken boiled in stock and served cool alongside rice (which has also been cooked in chicken stock) and dipping sauce. "It is quite different than it is in Hainan Island--we have added chili to the ginger and garlic condiment it goes with," says Malaysian food writer Helen Ong. "We like our food spicy!" Read more
Stir-fried noodles, which take many forms. You'll often see yellow noodles quickly wok'd up with soy, garlic, shallots, and chilies; along with them might be shrimp or chicken, beef or vegetables. It's fantastic street food; many hawkers use roaring charcoal fires, and their smoky flavor really makes anything cooked over it. Read more
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