We all know Malaysia is a food-obsessed nation that takes eating very seriously, leading to some of the finest flavour combinations found anywhere in the world. It’s also given rise to some positively mind-boggling creations that will push your culinary horizons into possibly never-before-seen regions.
Keep an open mind before you pass judgement though, because while many of these might just seem ‘wrong’, they all work in their own unique way. Salty and sweet are best friends, just remember that, and these foods happen to marry them in ways which aren’t immediately obvious. Or maybe even remotely for that matter.
Nevertheless, in the words of Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern: “If it looks good, eat it!” We’re right there with him and you should be too!
Jammin’ With Elvis
The name of this burger says it all really. In a fitting tribute to the King, Malaysia’s most well-known burger brand has created a beautiful mess that includes lashings of peanut butter and jelly on top of a beef patty. Sandwiched between charcoal buns, “you either love it or hate it” as the description on the menu reads.
Image Credit: myBurgerLab.com
Since opening in 2012, MyBurgerLab has pushed the boundaries of burger-making and the Jammin’ is arguably one of its coolest creations to-date. It’s well documented that Elvis’ go-to food was a peanut butter, jam, banana and bacon sandwich, so the next time you feel like a burger, give the Jammin’ a try and eat like the King.
The heading of this entry probably caused a grimace, and if it didn’t, you may not be familiar with petai, a.k.a. the stink bean. The strong taste and aroma of these little green pods are well-loved throughout Malaysia, but never before has the delicacy appeared as an ice cream flavour!
Image Credit: fb.com/frozenartisans
Artisan boutique Frozen has stepped up with this experimental offering which blends the potent notes of the bean with a vanilla-based ice-cream that’s as out-of-the-box as it gets. The boutique also does other local flavours like Kueh Talam, Musang King and Earl Grey Tarik, but the Petai really takes the cake. If you’re looking for ice-cream with a twist, hit up Frozen.
Salted Egg Yolk Cronut
In 2013 New York-based pastry chef Dominique Ansel decided to merge two old school pastries – the doughnut and the croissant – to produce a culinary trend that took the world by storm. The cronut boasts the flaky texture of the latter in the shape of the former and is filled with flavoured cream. Here in KL, Dotty’s has mastered this pastry with a salted egg yolk variant that has propelled the establishment to the top of the local pastry leagues.
Image Credit: mydottys.com
Not only is this mouth-watering cronut topped with the rich, savoury-sweet sauce, but the layers of crispy goodness inside are filled with it as well. It’s easy to see why people come just for this item as each bite is a decadent delight that sends your taste buds in overdrive. If you’re unfamiliar with salted egg yolk as a dessert, we highly recommend you head to Dotty’s for a lesson.
We have more royalty on this list, only this time it’s the King of Fruits that’s being honoured. If you’re a fan of the famous bristly fruit you’ll want to check out the Brownies Bar by The Accidental Bakers where you’ll find a Durian Brownie that’s every bit as compelling as the fruit is pungent. Fresh D24 grade durian is combined with the shop’s Signature Classic Brownies to deliver deep creamy flavours with each bite.
The Brownies Bar By The Accidental Bakers also have a range of other brownies and blondies including Salted Caramel, Sea Salt Almond, Peanut Butter, Red Velvet and Nutella – a paradise for those that love their chocolate-baked confections intense and fudgy.
A staple in Malaysia and across many Southeast Asian countries, the varieties of sambal found in these places numbers in the hundreds if not thousands. One that’s singular to Malaysia however is that of Abang Stawberry’s, a farm located in the temperate Cameron Highlands at Taman Sedia. If the name of the farm didn’t already give it away, you guessed right – strawberries are the main ingredient of the sambal here.
Image Credit: abangstrawberry.com
The popular red berry is synonymous with Cameron Highlands and Abang Strawberry lays claim to some of the best. As expected, the sambal that results from it is on the sweeter side and goes extremely well with drier savoury foods. One of the other main ingredients in it is ikan masin, or salted fish, so overall the sambal lends itself well to seafood dishes. Definitely worth a try if you love your sambal.
Chicken Rice Tea
For this one we’re heading to neighbouring Singapore, where tea purveyor Ette Tea produces unique blends you won’t find anywhere else in the world. In this case, chicken rice (a dish whose origins have been hotly contested over by Malaysia and the Lion City) takes the top spot as one of the craziest teas we’ve ever come across.
Image Credit: ettetea.com
Company founder and tea specialist Victor Koh has put together an exclusive portfolio of blends including pandan chiffon, nasi lemak, a satay-inspired tea and chicken rice. Each tea is meticulously made with 100% natural tea leaves, made to remind drinkers of the dishes they represent. They are not liquefied versions of the dishes as some may think. Yet, they perfectly mimic them. Order a batch from Ette Tea and open your palate.
Nasi Lemak Ice-Cream
The list wouldn’t be complete without a nod to Malaysia’s official dish, and although we’ve already had an ice-cream entry, we feel this belongs here – perhaps more than any of the others! The good folks at gelato parlour Whimsical have created the most Malaysian ice-cream of all with their nasi lemak flavour, perfectly capturing the nuances of this ubiquitous dish.
Image Credit: fb.com/whimsicalgelateria
From the coconut-infused rice and ikan bilis to the sambal and cucumbers, all the flavours come together in perfect, frosty harmony. Whether it’s everyone’s cup of tea is another question, but it’s certainly something you must try. While you’re there, make sure to try the award-winning ‘Vanilla Of The East’ as well – vanilla beans infused with pandan and drizzled with gula melaka and basil seeds.