It’s time for another Compass & Fork dinner party! Here is a banquet of famous Malaysian dishes featuring laksa, noodles, creamy chicken curry and dessert.
Welcome to another Compass & Fork Dinner Party menu, this time featuring a banquet from the culinary diverse nation of Malaysia. Diverse, because of the many culinary influences at play in Malaysia. With Georgetown, Penang being a major, colonial trading town, people from around the region flocked to Penang for the employment opportunities. Bringing their favorite ingredients and recipes with them, migration has directly led to this diversity of diet available in Malaysia.
This has directly resulted in many Malay, Chinese, Indian, and even Portuguese influences on the local, mainstream culinary scene. As well, Malaysia has developed its own fusion cuisine, called Nyonya. We feature some Nyonya dishes in our banquet today.
There are many famous Malaysian dishes and there was no shortage of recipes to choose from. In putting together this Malaysian banquet, we have chosen a noodle dish, a laksa, a mild and creamy chicken curry, and a banana, mango dessert, featuring coconut milk.
But how do Malaysians celebrate when they go out for a meal? Read on to find out.
Eating Out In Malaysia
Firstly, Malaysians do eat out a lot and that can be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. More typically, they eat street food, where meals are prepared, cooked and served from mobile kitchens and enjoyed on nearby table and chairs (usually plastic). Street vendors aggregate together, so there is usually a good choice of meal options available on the street.
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Street food is popular because it is cheap and quick. And the quality? It’s good! A vendor selling poor quality food just doesn’t last as the competition is cutthroat. Like anywhere else, Malaysians vote with their feet and buy from those vendors offering the best quality of food. And, just ike other places in South East Asia, many of the street vendors are being forced off the street and into the shopping malls.
Celebrating events at a local restaurant is also very common in Malaysia, and especially in Kuala Lumpur. There is no shortage of eating options available and it is common to see large tables of people enjoying a special meal.
It is a banquet because of the practice of serving all dishes at once (with the exception of dessert) in communal serving dishes, with people serving themselves. We love the art of the South East Asian banquet and it is because you have the opportunity to try small amounts of lots of dishes rather than just whatever you order.
And what about drinks?
Drinking in Malaysia
Drinking alcohol is not a big thing in Malaysia as wine and spirits are expensive. Expect to pay a lot more for a drink then where you live, as Malaysia imposes high import duties on alcohol. Local beers are a little more reasonable but still expensive by world standards. Given average wages are lower than in most Western countries, it basically means the average Malaysian does not drink alcohol.
But there are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks on offer with fruit and coconut milk drinks being very popular and reasonably priced. As well, tea tarik, the informal, national drink of Malaysia, is a real favorite. Watching the preparation of tea tarik being “stretched” in front of you is one of those little things you see when traveling which you never forget.
As for what to drink with these famous Malaysian dishes, I would go with a cold beer. That’s the alcohol of choice in Malaysia, and it goes well with each of our main course dishes.
A Banquet of Famous Malaysian Dishes
You can serve all these dishes banquet style or serve one at a time. The idea of the banquet is to help yourselves from communal dishes on the table. Our banquet consists of a fabulous noodle dish, laksa (Malaysia’s culinary gift to the world), a mild and creamy chicken curry and a fabulous banana, mango concoction to finish.
If you enjoy hosting dinner parties, we feature quite a few from different countries. Click on this link to see what other dinner parties we feature from around the world. And, here is some information on how to start a regular, supper club.
But, for now, its onto our famous Malaysian dishes which make up our banquet.
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There is no shortage of noodle dishes on offer in Malaysia. Noodles are a staple on the Malay diet and they are ready in just a few minutes of cooking in a wok over a high temperature.
Any list of famous Malaysian dishes will include Char Kuey Teow. Although it hails from Penang, you will find it everywhere throughout Malaysia. Char Kuey Teow is a very popular, street food dish. It showcases Malaysia’s “Nonya” style cooking, drawing on the many cultural influences of the region. In my mind, Char Kuey Teow is the quintessential comfort food of Malaysia. What a great way to start a banquet!
Laksa, I’m not sure there is a South East Asian meal I enjoy more than a good laksa. Talk about famous Malaysian dishes. Laksa is another dish which hails from Penang, Malaysia, with influences from the cuisines from many of its nearby neighbors and trading partners.
Exotic flavors, fresh herbs, vegetables and spices, the crunch of bean shoots and those great Asian greens on top. There’s much to like about laksa! Our simple prawn laksa recipe brings this SE Asian classic dish right to your table. Enjoy the exotic flavors in this simple yet rich delicious noodle dish.
In Malaysia, there seems to be an almost endless number of “chicken curries” available, both on the street, as well as at mainstream, restaurants in Kuala Lumpur and throughout the whole country. But, if that congers up visions of exorbitantly hot, chicken curries, think again. Most Malaysian curries are mild because of the use of ingredients like coconut milk and tamarind.
Our mildly spiced, best Kapitan Malaysian chicken recipe is a creamy, Malaysian curry sure to please those new to the world of South East Asian curries. That’s because, although it has some ingredients which contain some spicy heat, it is totally toned down via the use of coconut milk to deliver a creamy, almost sweet heat. It’s another fabulous Nyonya-style recipe.
Although it doesn’t roll off the tongue, pengat pisang is another of those famous Malaysian dishes and a very popular, Malaysian dessert. It’s easy to make and you can enjoy it warm or cold. Our version of this creamy and maybe indulgent dessert comes with a surprise ingredient being mango.
It’s a creamy combination of fruit that is a little sweet without being over the top, thanks to the use of coconut milk. It’s like a pudding but has a porridge like consistency thanks to the use of sago.