Best of Malaysia Local Food & Cuisines
is the unofficial national dish of Malaysia. Its name is a Malay word that literally means ‘rice in cream, derived from the cooking process whereby rice is soaked in rich coconut cream and then the mixture steamed.
Traditionally, this comes as a platter with cucumber slices, small dried anchovies (ikan bilis), roasted peanuts, stir fried water convolvulus (kangkong), hard boiled egg, pickled vegetables (achar) and hot spicy sauce (sambal). Nasi lemak can also come with any other accompaniments such as chicken, cuttlefish, cockle, beef curry (beef stewed in coconut milk and spices) or paru (beeflungs). Traditionally most of these accompaniments are spicy in nature.
The chicken is prepared in traditional Hainanese methods which involve the boiling of the entire chicken in a pork and chicken bone stock, reusing the broth over and over and only topping it up with water when needed, in accordance with the Chinese preferences for creating “master stocks”. This stock is not used for rice preparation, which instead involves chicken stock created specifically for that purpose, producing an oily, flavourful rice sometimes known as “oily rice”.
Over time, however, the dish began adopting elements of Cantonese cooking styles, such as using younger birds to produce more tender meats. In another variation, the bird is dipped in ice after cooking to produce a jelly-like skin finishing, commonly referred to as Báijī (白鸡) for “white chicken”, in contrast to the more traditional Lǔjī (卤鸡, stock chicken) or Shāojī (烧鸡, roasted chicken).
(Thai: ต้มยำ, IPA: [tôm jām], also sometimes romanized as tom yam or dom yam) is a soup originating from Thailand.
Tom yum is characterized by its distinct hot and sour flavors, with fragrant herbs generously used. The basic broth is made of stock and fresh ingredients such as lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, shallots, lime juice, fish sauce, tamarind, and crushed chili peppers.
In Thailand, tom yum is usually made with prawns (tom yum goong), chicken (tom yum gai), fish (tom yum pla), or mixed seafood (tom yum talay or tom yum po taek) and mushrooms – usually straw or oyster mushrooms. The soup is often topped with generous sprinkling of fresh chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves.
Char siu (also spelled chashao, cha siu and char siew, 叉烧), otherwise known as barbecued pork, is a popular way to prepare pork in Cantonese cuisine. It is classified as a type of siu mei, Cantonese roasted meat dishes.
The meat, typically a shoulder cut, is seasoned with a mixture of honey, five-spice powder, fermented tofu, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, red food colouring (optional) and sherry or rice wine (optional). These seasonings turn the exterior layer of meat dark red, similar to the “smoke ring” of American barbecues. Maltose may be used to give char siu its characteristic shiny glaze.
Bak Kut Teh
The name literally translates as “pork bone tea” (肉骨茶), and at its simplest consists of meaty pork ribs in a complex broth of herbs and spices (including star anise, cinnamon, cloves, dang gui, and garlic), boiled together with pork bones for hours. However, additional ingredients may include offal, varieties of mushroom, lettuce, and pieces of dried tofu. Light and dark soy sauce are also added to the soup during cooking, with varying amounts depending on the variant.
Bak kut teh is usually eaten with rice, and often served with youtiao (strips of fried dough) for dipping into the soup. Soy sauce (usually light soy sauce, but dark soy sauce is also offered sometimes) is preferred as a condiment, with which chopped chilli padi and minced garlic is taken together.