Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Malaysian Cuisine

 Malaysian cuisine reflects the multicultural aspects of Malaysia. The influences from India, China, and Indonesia mesh to create the Malay ethnicity. The various ethnic groups in Malaysia have their own dishes, but many dishes in Malaysia are derived from those multi-ethnic influences. So while I love the flavors, taste, and spices used in Indian, Chinese, and Indonesian food, when together they are not pallet pleasing. The problem is, the flavors used in those cuisines are so distinct and strong, when used in unison your tongue is confused because it can't capture and enjoy a particular flavor. I  have concluded that I don't care for the combination of texture and consistency of Malaysian food.
    When I was a kid, my mom always got angry with me if I said food was gross or nasty. She would tell me that it was "Na3mat Allah" or the blessings of God and we should be thankful. So, out of respect to my mother and the blessings of God, I won't use either term to describe Malaysian food. Rather, I will say it is "not my favorite".  
This looks more like dinner than breakfast!

 Each morning at our hotel, they had this HUGE breakfast buffet. It had the western foods of cereal, waffles, fresh fruit, pastries and yogurt. But it also had authentic Malay breakfast of 4-6 different curries and rice. It may just be me, and I may not be familiar, but I consider curry and rice to be a lunch/dinner food. The first morning we went down to eat, I was so overwhelmed by all the choices. I was feeling only mildly adventurous so I tried some curry.
    There was a silver lining however. If you don't want to eat rice with your curry, Malays sop it up with Roti Canai, a thin bread cooked on a hot iron skillet, it is EXACTLY like Libyan ftat! If you don't know Libyan ftat is a thin bread prepared the same way that is eaten with honey. I was so excited to see something I was familiar with and longing. While I ate it the Libyan way instead of the Malay way, it was still delicious. I especially appreciated it on Eid. It is always a tradition in my family to eat Ftat on Eid morning, this Eid I was as far away from my home as imaginable, but I still got my ftat!


  1. Haha this is SO funny, my mom used to always make us say "it's not my favorite" too!!

  2. I thought only Bengali's from the homeland had rice three times a day ;) I swear, every time we visited, they tried to force feed us rice at all hours of the day! That bread though, looks amazing! a Much softer and flakier looking parata, may be?