Starting with Malay food, even as they are known so, I believe that all Malaysians enjoy the delicacies available in Malaysia- such as the ‘Keropok Lekor’ which originated from Terengganu, ‘Apam Balik’ with nuts, sugar and corn, and so much more. For those who prefer a little bit of spice, ‘kangkung belacan’, ‘Ikan bakar’ and the famous ‘nasi lemak’ may be of choice. Malaysia Malay communities have a soft spot for these spices as their ancestors begun here in ‘Tanah Melayu’ which is famous for the spices found here. Near the northern part of Malaysia, some cuisines from southern Thailand also made it to Malaysia such as the ‘Nasi Paprik’.
For the Chinese community, their recipes are brought from ancestors in China. Even so, some recipes are influenced by the other communities in Malaysia. Dishes such as ‘rojak’- mixture of fruits and various things with shrimp paste, ‘Bread with curry chicken’ which can be found in the town of Kampar in Ipoh are all examples of hybrids recipes. Original cuisines includes ‘Bak kut teh’, ‘Bak Chang’, ‘Char kway teow’, ‘Hainanese chicken rice’ and many more. Since the Malay communities in Malaysia are Islamics, they are forbidden to consume pork by the teachings. Even so, most Chinese recipes are made Halal after changing certain ingredients by using chicken meat as substitutes. From this, we can also see ‘char kway teow’, ‘Pao’ and other recipes sold at halal food outlets.
As for Indian cuisines, they are found to be similar to their roots in India. In Malaysia, Indian Muslims, also known as Mamak also created a wide range of recipes and practices. Banana leaf rice, ‘Thosai’, ‘Idli’, ‘Briyani’, ‘Chapati’, and Curries are the original Indian recipes. Among the Mamaks, Nasi kandar- a Malaysian style dish mixture, and is one of the most popular dishes in Malaysia. It resembles economical rice sold at most food outlets but comprises of mixtures with mainly various types of curries and rice. Mamak stalls have also become one of Malaysian favourite pit stops.
With the unique blend in Malaysia where three main cultures call home, its vast variety of cuisines do make people ponder upon it. Tourists come all over the world to see it. Malaysians cannot live without it. If you are a Malaysian, ask yourself; can you not have all three riches and only live with one? I would say no. It is no doubt that Malaysia’s food variety created a food lust that can only be found within the country. Through this, we can see the interaction among fellow Malaysians and how well they blend in to the various cultures among themselves. For more information regarding Malaysian cuisines, go to website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_cuisine.
DAPHNE TANG HUI ZYEN