Some foods taste good by themselves, but most of them taste better when paired with certain condiments or even other types of food. Most Malaysian foods are eaten in pairs, or even trios – which is what makes our local food so rich in flavour.
What is perceived as common here may draw attention overseas, especially if you’re studying or working abroad. It’s also one of the little things that help you identify a fellow Malaysian in a foreign land. This often gets us excited.
So in conjunction with Merdeka, here are some food pairings that will make you point and say, “That’s so Malaysian!”:
1. Thick slabs of butter and kaya
A classic breakfast. The thicker the butter slab, the better. Malaysians can get quite upset if you stinge on the butter or the kaya. While people of other nations enjoy butter with jam or fruit preserves, we enjoy slabs of butter with coconut-egg spread.
2. Eggs and soy sauce
Fried eggs go with soy sauce. Hard-boiled eggs go with soy sauce. Eggs in all forms go well with soy sauce – fondly known as kicap here.
3. Soft boiled eggs, soy sauce, and pepper
This is the holy trinity. Whether you like more soy sauce with less pepper, or more pepper with a bit of soy sauce, or you need equally as much of both – we can all agree that these condiments are the secrets to making eggs taste better.
4. Roti and curry
You can’t have one without the other. Some prefer to have it with dhal, and others with sugar. The popular curries include fish curry, chicken curry, and mutton curry. You need curry to go with your roti canai, otherwise it just feels… empty.
5. Satay and kuah kacang
We almost never eat satay by itself – it must be dipped in the rich and creamy peanut sauce we call kuah kacang. While the idea of dipping barbecued meat skewers into what they might think is peanut butter, it’s something we’re so used to and can’t live without.
6. Soy sauce and chopped chilli
Malaysians may complain about the heat and the weather, but we love some heat in our food. We do this at every Chinese restaurant: scoop some chopped red or green chilli onto our saucers, and pour a generous amount of soy sauce to it. It goes well with almost everything.
Bonus: we sometimes add chopped garlic to it too!
7. Soy milk and cincau
Usually called soya cincau, it also has a quirky nickname – Michael Jackson, named after one of his famous hits, Black or White. We don’t think we’ve seen this combination anywhere else.
8. Coffee and Milo
Particularly Nescafé coffee and Milo. It’s the Malaysian version of a mocha – coffee with a hint of chocolate malt from our favourite energy drink.
9. Meat floss and mayo
No idea who came up with pairing mayonnaise (a sauce that originated from Spain) and meat floss (a Chinese food), but it’s genius. The sourness of the mayo and sweetness of the meat floss go so well together.
Hungry for some local goodies? Instead of pasta and pastries, let’s go full-on Malaysian for your upcoming party! Kaodim.com’s caterers are experts at Malaysian cuisine. Let them know what you want to have for your next event here, and we’ll take care of the rest! Expect to see quotations and profiles from us soon after you submit the form!
written by Esther Chung