As Caz from the incredible travel blog YTravelBlog will attest, Malaysian food is delicious, and the team here at TravelDoIt couldn’t agree more.

There are literally hundreds of dishes that we could recommend to you, with tens (if not hundreds) of localised variations on each one; but here’s just a taste of eight Malaysian foods you must try not matter if you’re heading to Penang in the north, Kuala Lumpur in the centre or Malacca in the south.

Claypot Frog Porridge

Claypot cooking is highly popular amongst the large Chinese community across Malaysia due to the wondrous flavours that are unlocked using this method, but whilst typically the claypot dishes you’ll see advertised with include chicken as the main ingredient, there are some stalls (especially in Penang) where you’ll be able to eat this rather curious frog-based variation.

claypot dry chilly frog
Creative Commons by spo0nman, on Flickr

Roti Canai

Fan’s of Indian cuisine will love this dish that can start, or end a meal.

This flatbread can either come with a number of vegetarian or meat-based curries which you eat with your hands and the flatbread as a spoon to mop up the liquid, or you can alternatively have it stuffed with banana, chocolate or durian.

Roti canai
Creative Commons by roboppy, on Flickr

Asam Laksa

Not only a delicious dish of noodles but more often than not a colourful delight for the eyes; flavoured heavily with the sweet taste of tamarind and lemongrass, this fish broth dish is almost always full with all sorts of vegetables.

Asam Laksa
Creative Commons by Azizul Ameri, on Flickr

Nasi Lemak

Mark of Migrationology is a huge fan of Nasi Lemak, and as he says himself; “you’re going to lick your plate completely clean.”, and we know just what he means.

Eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this particular dish can be found in restaurants and at hawker stalls throughout all of Malaysia, but it’s also available as a packaged dish for those who want to eat it on the go.

As you’ll see above, the mixture of rice cooked in coconut milk, a boiled egg, small fried fish and a tangy spicy sauce can be bought from street vendors at the side of the road in these cute pointy banana leaf packages and eaten absolutely anywhere.

Nasi Lemak - West-bound Temerloh Rest Stop
Creative Commons by avlxyz, on Flickr

Nasi Lemak
Creative Commons by framboise, on Flickr


It’s not surprising that this particular dish popular throughout Asia has begun to be a popular choice for those returning home to prepare for themselves such is the delicious simplicity of this Malay snack.

Having skewered your choice of meat that takes your fancy (lamb and beef being the most common), you grill the meat over hot coals and allow the fatty juices to run off, hit the coals and add a mouthwatering smokey flavour to the meat. And if that wasn’t enough, the resulting cooked meat is then dipped in a more-ish peanut sauce that has a sweet, yet mildly spicy taste.

Creative Commons by angloitalianfollowus, on Flickr


Found on road sides and in food markets across Malaysia, Otak-Otak is both cooked and served in it’s banana leaf container which is typically steamed or grilled to combine the combination of flavours inside.

Though solid in appearances, this snack has a mushy texture which crumbles between your fingers as you eat it, possibly due to the mixing process of coconut milk, flour, egg, garlic and the main component, fish paste. The colour may vary depending on the part of the country, this main difference will be the inclusion of chilli – a Malaysian favourite.

#otak-otak | Malay cuisine
Creative Commons via izya₪zzati, on Flickr

Chicken Rice Balls

Incredibly popular in the UNESCO town of Malacca, Chicken Rice Balls are a variation on a classic Chinese recipe that would usually come served in a bowl.

Though rather simple, these rolled up balls of rice that have been steamed with the stock that cooks the chicken until it easily slides off the bone for the remainder of the dish creates a basic, but delicious meal.

Creative Commons via Santo Chino, on Flickr


Served throughout South East Asian, but particularly well know throughout Malaysia is the dessert, Cendol.

Over the top of a base layer of shaved ice and palm sugar is a mix of coconut milk, green rice-jelly noodles, creamed corn, glutinous rice, grass jelly and plenty of palm sugar syrup.

Creative Commons via angloitalianfollowus, on Flickr