When it comes to Malaysian food it’s a melting pot of cultures and an eclectic blend of diverse influences, flavours and a rich past. It’s vibrant in its own ways and has complex flavours with exotic spices and cooking techniques that will enthuse an epicurean to take a gastronomic journey of the cuisine.
With influences from Chinese, Indian , Islamic, Indonesian and Singapore Malaysian food has a great dietary culture that is unparalleled any other cuisine in the world.
So let us understand why the Malaysian cuisine is a melting point of cultures.
The basis for the classification of Malaysian, Chinese and Indians can be traced back to the British colonial era when a large number of people migrated from China and India to settle down in Malaysia.
So even to this day the influences of these races play a major role in the preparation and techniques of the cuisine in its own ways.
Malaysia is a tropical country and has a sunny weather throughout the year so people generally consume fruits and vegetables in abundance while also consuming meat and seafood that are reasonably priced and available.
The eclectic dietary approach not only maintains the right balance of nutrition and flavour but also caters to all ethnic races from across Asia to savour different kinds of food at one place.
So if you were to be from Thailand, China, India, Korea or Japan, finding your kind of food will not be an arduous task in Malaysia. In fact it will leave you craving for more and explore the many facets of this cuisine.
The northern parts of Malaysia have incorporated Thai flavour into their dishes due to migration of Thai people and also due to marriages of Malaysians with Thai people. The use of chilli sauce and bird’s eye chilli in many Malaysian dishes adds a touch of heat and spice, something that borrows from the Thai culture. In fact, the use of coconut milk is also influenced by Thai culture.
Halal food is one of the most common foods available in Malaysia. A lot of food influenced by the Islamic culture is widely available through out the country and festive feasts during id and Hari raya are also enjoyed.
The influence of Indian cuisine can be seen in the form of cooking techniques like tempering spices in oil and also frying the food to enhance the flavour. Many vegetables from India like eggplants, mustard and curry leaves are often used in Malaysian dishes today. The banana leaf meal is quite popular in Malaysia. Other dishes include chapatti, naan, roti that are quite common in Malaysian cuisine. The confluence of Indian and Malaysian food is called Mamak food, which cannot be found in India. Dishes like teh tarik, murtabak and Rojak are some of the dishes that are influenced by Indian cuisine.
Chinese dishes like dim sum, char siew and bak kut teh (herbal soup) are a few popular dishes. The technique of stir-frying and steaming is influenced by Chinese cooking.
With so many different influences on the Malaysian cuisine, it is quite a treat for people from across the world to savour these dishes.
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