The pungency of belacan (shrimp paste), the spice of the chili sambal, the aroma of the coconut--these are but a few of the flavour flags raised in Malaysian cuisine. A variety of cooking techniques are used, producing dishes that are fried, preserved, steamed, and simmered in broth, often in combination.
Scarborough has only a few Malaysian restaurants, but they all serve the unmistakeable favourites: nasi lemak, satay, and laksa (including its Singaporean variant).
A smorgasbord of jellies, corn, red bean, and ice cream, in creamy evaporated milk.
Like a precious envelope of treasured mail, nasi lemak packs a wholesome meal in a pandan leaf-wrapped bundle that fits in the palm of your hand.
Creamy coconut broth in spices, galangal powder (in the ginger family), and a shrimp base is the name of the game with this variant on laksa, for which Singapore is renowned.
Penang Assam Laksa
They might share a name, noodle contents, and shrimp paste, but Assam and Nyonya Laksa couldn’t be more different.
Tucked into the folds of a steamed banana leaf, Malaysian cuisine takes flavours from its peoples and ties them together.
Present in each dish is a bundle of history, taking flavours and techniques from its peoples and sharing them with new communities with pride.
From the coconut-infused rice, to the bits of ikan-bilis, and into the egg marinating in the center, these ingredients and cooking styles co-inhabit a space in Scarborough restaurants.
Malaysia is an archipelago nation of 878 islands. Like most of island and coastal Southeast Asia (it shares this region with countries and cuisines such as Vietnam and the Philippines), fish, seafood, and related by-products are featured heavily in its cuisine.
Its long colonial history includes the Portuguese, Dutch, and British empires, as well as Muslim sultanates. Malaysian (and the related Singaporean) cuisine, in its current form, was most drastically changed during the British 19th century when rubber plantations became the cash crop of the islands. Tamil and Southern Chinese labourers arrived in large numbers to work the plantations, and they brought with them their own culinary influences. From the Tamil migrants came foods such as roti, and from the Chinese came the prominent use of noodles (such as in laksa).