Monday, 2 February 2009

Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Chicken Rice & Malaysian Food

Nasi Lemak
Rice cooked with coconut milk(cream) for traditional Malay dishes, is called Nasi Lemak.
Traditionally, it comes as a platter with cucumber slices, Ikan Bilis (small dried anchovies), roasted peanuts, hard boiled egg, and hot spicy sambal (traditional chili sauce), is the basic version. Nasi lemak can also come with any other accompaniments such as stir fried water kangkong (convolvulus), chicken, cuttlefish, cockle, beef curry and etc.
There are even Chinese version Nasi Lemak, which is usually non-halal, as sometimes pork is added. And also Vegetarian version Nasi Lemak, in which vegetarian ingredients replace the traditional ingredients.

Nasi Lemak is also considered National Dish of Malaysia, as the most widely eaten food in Malaysia. Not only for its inexpensiveness, but also because the basic version Nasi Lemak, which comes with only anchovies, hard boiled egg and sambal, is available everywhere and consumable by all ethnic groups.

Roti Canai
Is a type of flat-bread food widely consumed in Malaysia by all the ethnic groups, commonly sold in Mamak stalls (Tamil Muslim restaurants), Indian restaurants and Malay restaurants. For it’s availability and popularity, it is claimed to be the second National Dish of Malaysia.
As the name implies, Roti canai is said to have been introduced by immigrant labor from Chennai, India (formerly known as Madras. However, the first instance of the use of the name Chennai is said to be in a sale deed dated August 1639 to Francis Day, an agent for the British where there is a reference to the place of the current Chennai) where a similar combination of parotta and dalcha - the accompanying lentil curry - is served.

Roti Canai is usually served with ‘dhal’ (lentil) curry, it can be taken with sugar or condensed milk.
There are numerous variations of Roti Canai to suite individual’s taste, common variations include: Roti Telur, (with eggs), Roti Planta (stuffed with margarine and sugar), Roti Bawang (onion bread), Roti Sardin (stuffed with sardine), roti pisang (banana bread).
There are also a lot of different curries used besides dhal, such as Kari Ayam (chicken curry), Kari Daging (beef curry), Kari Kambing (mutton curry), Kari Ikan (fish curry), Kari Campur (mixed curry, mixture of dhals and curries can be selected)

Chicken Rice
Usually referred to Hainanese Chicken Rice, roots in Hainan Cuisine and it was introduced by Hainanese overseas Chinese. The most commonly served Chicken Rice is “White Chicken” and rice. Chicken Rice accompanied with Bean Sprouts is common especially in Ipon, a town in Perak Malaysia. Which contributes to a version called “Ipoh Chicken Rice”. Whereas, “Roasted chicken” is another popular version of chicken rice widely consumed by Malaysian, as there is also Malay or Halal version Chicken Rice (Nasi Ayam), usually served with Roasted Chicken, and it is commonly available in Malay Restaurants or Stalls.

Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Chicken Rice are the three most consumed foods in Malaysian, for their convenient, fast, low prices and being accepted by most of the people. Making it the de facto traditional Malaysian Fast Food today.

Being a multicultural country, Malaysians have over the years adapted each other’s dishes to suit the taste buds of their own culture. Malay version Chicken Rice is a good example of cross-culture influence, Malaysians of Chinese descent have adapted the Indian curry, and made it more dilute and less spicy to suit their taste. Chinese Fried Rice and Noodles have been crossed with Indian and Malay tastes and thus Malay fried rice, fried noodles and Indian fried rice, fried noodles were born.

On top of the most widely consumed Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai and Chicken Rice, which represent Malay, Indian and Chinese cuisine respectively. There are also Nyonya food, Thai food and others.

Nyonya food
It was invented by the Peranakan people of Malaysia. It uses mainly Chinese ingredients but blends them with South-East Asian spices such as coconut milk, lemon grass, turmeric, screwpine leaves, chillies and sambal. It can be considered as a blend of Chinese and Malay cooking.

Thai Food
It also features strongly in Malaysian cuisine, such as the most popular Tom Yam are widely available in various restaurants and stalls, especially in the northern region.

Other food
Such as those introduced by Filipinos (mostly in Sabah, a state in East Malaysian) and Indonesian migrants, also have their restaurants or stalls, catering to both their same ethnic group of clients and local clients. Being culturally close to Malaysia, a lot of Indonesian food have been accepted by Malaysians as a part of their daily dishes, like Satay (sate), Soto (food), Rendang (dry curry), Cendol (dessert) and others.

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