Eating my way through Malaysia

A glorious seafood feast I had in Kuala Selangor.

I always tell myself that if I don’t gain a kg or two after my summer break in Malaysia, then I probably landed in the wrong country. 

South East Asia is known for its diverse gastronomic scene and Malaysia, being a component of this little corner of the globe, is no exception when it comes to having some of the most iconic dishes in the world. We have it all – from fine dining to roadside stalls. 

After spending the past 9 months in Adelaide, I thought I’d go on an epicurean adventure back home to fill my tummy with familiar favourites and new tastes. So, here are some of the places I’ve been to and the things I ate during my summer break in Malaysia. 

Kanna Curry House 

Every Saturday, since I was a mere child, my family and I would have our breakfast at this banana leaf spot in Selangor. It’s been our tradition in some ways. So, the moment I landed in KL, I knew I had to pay them a visit and have my usual roti canai and fish curry with a side of deep-fried spiced onions, silver whiting, and quail. 

Mahbub Restaurant

Not every restaurant with a long queue at the front is worth the try but this one is. Every KL/Selangor resident and their uncles would have taken the pleasure in ingesting Mahbub’s nasi briyani ayam madu (honey chicken briyani) at least once in their lives. It’s an iconic dish.


I had about 3 to 4 seafood-heavy meals throughout my time back home. All in different states. It’s relatively cheaper here as compared to that in Australia so I just had to take the opportunity to eat as much seafood as I could before going back to my economical option – $3 Basa fish fillets and $5 prawns from Coles. As some of our favourite restaurants were out of state, it became a family affair. A whole day is dedicated to just eating seafood and we must enjoy them together. We had fried softshell crabs, seafood tom yum, butter prawns in all its crumbly glory, and salted egg crabs. 

Another favourite seafood dish of mine which beats any other seafood dishes, to be honest, is asam pedas ikan pari – stingray fins cooked in sour and spicy tamarind broth. Best served hot with white rice, even better if it was cooked by my aunt. Her version of it is unmatched!

Traditional Malay and Indonesian food

Yes, it isn’t hard work scouring for Malay and Indonesia food in Adelaide (and Australia as a whole) but the best ones are always found in its country of origin or cooked by its people. My aunt was born and raised in Indonesia, and later moved to KL, so she has mastered the art of cooking the dishes from these two neighbouring countries. Some of my favourites include the rich and creamy gulai nangka (jackfruit cooked in Malaysian/Indonesian curry), rendang ayam with pulut (sticky rice), gulai rebung (bamboo shoots cooked in Malaysian/Indonesian curry) and nasi lemak

These dishes are also commonly associated with Eid celebrations, so the house felt very festive on the days she cooked them. 

Something new

I’ve got heaps more foods I would like to share with you, but I don’t want to make you salivate any more, so I’ll finish it off with a dish I’ve never tried but quickly became my favourite once I took a bite – wonton noodles. A noodle dish of Cantonese origin that’s cooked with soy sauce and served with clear soup and chicken/prawn dumplings. My family loves it, but I had always been indifferent to it until my grandma brought them home from her hospital canteen. I must learn how to cook it before I leave.

That’s just a very condensed and shortened list of the foods I’ve had the pleasure of eating lately. They will be deeply missed when I leave, so until my flight takes off, I will be stuffing my face with more Malaysian food. 

Tagged in What messes with your head, food, eating, nutrition, Malaysia, international student