Do you love the hot and sunny weather? Do you like snorkeling, island hopping, and soaking up sun on beaches? Do you enjoy jungle trekking and exploring tropical rain forests? Do you love shopping in upscale, dazzling malls and touring the bustling cities?

If the answer is yes, then you should start planning your next vacation trip to beautiful Malaysia. Malaysia, you ask? Yes.

As a Malaysian, I can guarantee that your trip to Malaysia will be an unforgettable one. As a food enthusiast (or as millennials say, #foodie), I can guarantee that you will never go hungry throughout your trip here. You can makan (eat in Bahasa Malaysia) at a variety of food places, ranging from fine dining restaurants to coffeehouses with homey atmospheres to 24/7 mamak stalls. Plus, there’s no need to leave tips here (tipping was a new thing for me when I first came to the US as a college freshman).

I know you’ll be busy booking your flight and planning your tours, but don’t forget to add these dishes to your food bucket list:

1. Nasi lemak


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Rice cooked in coconut milk, served with fried anchovies, boiled eggs, and sweet & spicy sambal. Ask any Malaysian about nasi lemak and they’ll give you a you-should-try-it-out-like-right-now look. Besides the fact that it can be eaten any time of day, you will never fail to notice a nasi lemak stall or the dish itself from afar. Wrapped in banana leaves, it looks like a little green pyramid.

2. Roti canai


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A type of flat bread, served with dhal and curry or sweetened condensed milk. The simplest version of roti canai is very plain; if you are an adventurous foodie, I recommend you to try roti telur (roti + eggs) and roti bawang (roti + onions).

3. Laksa utara

Rice noodles in fish gravy with boiled eggs, grated cucumbers, and onions. If you prefer it to be spicy, add some red or green chilies. Laksa utara was originally famous in the northern states of Malaysia such as Perlis and Kedah only. After you’ve tasted laksa utara, check out other states’ edition of laksa like laksa Johor and Penang’s asam laksa.

4. Char kway teow


Flat noodles stir fried with soy sauce, some chilies, bean sprouts, and a bit of belachan. Let your friendly waiter or waitress know about your choice of meat or seafood, or else the chef will just mix everything. People always say that you should down a milky drink whenever your tongue feels hot. If your char kway teow tastes a bit spicy, don’t forget to order iced milk tea, popularly known as teh ais. In case you want the hot milk tea, feel free to order teh tarik.

5. Keropok lekor

This is a traditional fish snack from the state of Terengganu. Its main ingredients are fish and sago flour, mixed with salt. When you visit the night market nearby, surprise yourself with a variety of keropok lekor—fried keropok lekor, keropok lekor keping and losong. Keropok lekor is best enjoyed with cold desserts like ABC.

6. Satay


Photo by Laura Kelley

Looking for grilled and seasoned meat that you don’t have to spend time cutting with your fork and spoon? Satay will solve your problem. Just pick up a stick of satay, eat the meat, and repeat these two steps until you’re done. The mroe famous meat choices for satay are beef, chicken, mutton and lamb.

Once you touch down in Malaysia, treat yourself to a hearty Malaysian meal and enjoy the lovely Malaysian hospitality.