Malaysian Breakfasts and Where to Find Them
Malaysians are spoilt for choice when it comes to food, thanks to our rich and diverse cultural heritage. This is no different for breakfast, as Tourism Malaysia itself recognises no less than 20 different Malaysian breakfasts to choose from! So let’s take a look today at some of the most popular Malaysian breakfasts and where to find them.
No discussion of Malaysian breakfasts cannot even begin without mentioning the king of all Malaysian breakfasts: nasi lemak. It is uniquely Malaysian, enjoyed by everyone, and can easily be customised to suit anyone’s tastes, whether you want it to have more or less spicy sambal, adjust the amount of peanuts or ikan bilis (anchovies), or even make it vegan. What makes a good nasi lemak? Some say it’s the fragrance of the rice—after all, you can’t call it nasi lemak if the nasi isn’t lemak enough. Some say it’s the sambal, but some prefer the sambal to be sweet, others prefer it to be on the fiery side. But in fact, it’s the whole package that makes a good nasi lemak, so a weak sambal would bring down even the best nasi, and vice versa.
Village Park Restaurant
That said, where should you go to get a good nasi lemak? Many people swear by the Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng at Village Park Restaurant in Uptown Damansara. Prior to the MCO, the restaurant would be packed with customers as early as 8 AM who all come just for the nasi lemak. The sambal has just the right balance between sweet and spicy, which pairs very well with the soft and fluffy rice that has absorbed just enough aroma and sweetness from the coconut milk. One reviewer from Japan even said that “A true man would eat two servings in one go.” The restaurant is indeed proud of their sambal, as unlike the roadside nasi lemak stalls who would gladly give you more sambal at no charge if you ask them for it, Village Park Restaurant would charge you extra for their sambal. If you’re staying close by, you can also order from them via Grab.
Nasi Lemak Saleha
Another popular nasi lemak option is Nasi Lemak Saleha. From her humble beginnings helping her mother out at a roadside nasi lemak stall, she has now built a veritable nasi lemak empire, especially with the opening of her second restaurant in Ampang just last April. Prior to the MCO, Saleha would operate her restaurant in Sri Rampai from 6 AM to 1 AM daily to serve thousands of customers, even owning multiple lorries just for delivering nasi lemak. They’re available on both Grab and Foodpanda, and you can also order on their own website as well.
Roti Bakar + Telur Setengah Masak + Kopi
Listed by Tourism Malaysia as the “Classic Combination”, this is indeed one of the classic Malaysian breakfasts that you can find at any kopitiam, or traditional coffee shop. When you order roti bakar, you are usually given several options for bread (white or wholemeal) and spread (butter, kaya, or both).
Yut Kee Kopitiam
Established in 1928, Yut Kee Kopitiam is one of the oldest kopitiams in Malaysia. To this day, they faithfully serve Hainanese food with no reduction in quality, which explains how they are able to last for generations despite being only open until 3 PM. Yut Kee Kopitiam is, however, non-halal, because they also serve pork dishes, especially their signature Roast Pork Special which is only available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Unfortunately, roti bakar would only be delicious when they’re served fresh out of the oven toaster, so Yut Kee Kopitiam does not have roti bakar on their Beep menu, so if you want to experience a warm, delicious piece of roti bakar, you could either make your own at home or visit Yut Kee Kopitiam or any of the other kopitiams in your vicinity when the MCO allows it.
If you happen to be in Kota Bharu, you must try the regional variant of roti bakar called roti titab, which has a thick toast with kaya spread on all four corners and a half-boiled egg topping it off. It was an invention of the Kelantan local Wong Nye Hua, who is also the owner of Kopitiam Kita in Kota Bharu. He started his kopitiam in 2005, but he got the idea to create roti titab in 2010 after a holiday in Guangzhou where he witnessed one of the ways the people in Guangzhou had breakfast where they had toast with egg and ketchup. Since then, his kopitiam has been famous for roti titab, and in 2016 he even had to patent his creation with MyIPO, the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia, after many people started copying his idea.
Where else to get roti titab other than the original? Sorry everyone outside of Kota Bharu, you’ll just have to make do with making your own roti titab at home following this recipe. For those living in Kota Bharu, you’re lucky enough to be able to order via Foodpanda.
Tosai is a traditional breakfast in certain regions of India, and if you visit any Indian restaurant in Malaysia for breakfast, there is a high chance that tosai is the recommended meal. However, tosai would have to take a back seat as its more ubiquitous brethren, roti canai, is indisputably more beloved. There are as many varieties of roti canai as there are varieties of sushi, and that’s because roti canai itself is a blank canvas similar to vinegared sushi rice. One mamak restaurant in Kampar by the name of Maha Maju even boasts of having 99 different types of roti, including roti durian where they serve frozen durian flesh inside roti canai, giving it a texture and flavour quite similar to fried ice cream!
Where to get roti canai?
This question is very tricky to answer as everyone has their own preference as to how a good roti canai should taste like, arguably more disputable than nasi lemak. Much like how ramen restaurants in Japan have their own recipes for ramen noodles, each mamak restaurant in Malaysia would have their own recipe for roti canai, so there would be minor differences between each restaurant. The best way to find one that you would really like is to just try them all, and since they’re quite affordable, you can and should do so if you want to discover the best roti canai in your neighbourhood! Unless you’re living in Kampar, then you should definitely try every last one of Maha Maju’s 99 different types of roti, some of which you can get via Foodpanda.
As far as Malaysian breakfasts go, that’s just the tip of the iceberg as there’s so much more to cover, including nasi dagang, chee cheong fun, puri, etc.; heck, a whole article can be written about dim sum alone. So stay tuned as we would cover more Malaysian breakfasts and where to find them in future articles!
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