Traditional Malaysian Dishes in Manila: A Taste of Malaysia in the Philippines

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Discover the rich and flavorful world of Traditional Malaysian Dishes in Manila. Immerse yourself in a fusion of cultures and indulge in delectable dishes that showcase the essence of Malaysia. From Nasi Lemak to Satay, this article explores the must-try Malaysian delicacies available in the vibrant city of Manila.


Manila, the bustling capital of the Philippines, is not only a melting pot of diverse cultures but also a haven for food enthusiasts seeking culinary adventures. One such culinary journey leads us to the heart of Malaysia through its traditional dishes. Malaysians have a profound appreciation for their food, which reflects their cultural heritage and influences from neighboring countries. In this article, we’ll take you on a gastronomic tour of Traditional Malaysian Dishes in Manila, where the aroma of aromatic spices and the taste of exotic flavors will tantalize your taste buds.

The Irresistible Aromas of Malaysian Cuisine

Malaysian cuisine is a delightful blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous flavors, creating a harmonious symphony of taste and aroma. The use of aromatic spices and herbs is the backbone of many traditional dishes, infusing each bite with a burst of flavors.

1. Nasi Lemak: The National Dish

Nasi Lemak is Malaysia’s national dish, and it has gained popularity worldwide for its tantalizing taste. The dish consists of fragrant coconut rice served with various accompaniments, including spicy sambal, crispy anchovies, roasted peanuts, and a hard-boiled egg. Some variants may include succulent pieces of fried chicken or sambal squid.

2. Satay: Grilled Perfection

Satay is a popular Malaysian street food loved by locals and tourists alike. These succulent skewers feature marinated and grilled meat, commonly chicken, beef, or lamb, served with a side of peanut sauce and cucumber chunks. The combination of tender meat and nutty sauce creates a burst of flavors in every bite.

3. Roti Canai: Flaky and Irresistible

Roti Canai is a flaky, layered flatbread that originates from Indian cuisine but has become a staple in Malaysian food culture. Served with a side of fragrant curry sauce, this delightful dish is perfect for breakfast or as a snack throughout the day.

4. Char Kway Teow: Stir-Fried Goodness

Char Kway Teow is a delectable stir-fried noodle dish that showcases the Chinese influence on Malaysian cuisine. Flat rice noodles are wok-fried with prawns, Chinese sausages, bean sprouts, eggs, and chives, creating a harmonious mix of flavors and textures.

5. Laksa: A Bowl of Comfort

Laksa is a spicy noodle soup that comes in various regional variations, but the two most popular ones are Asam Laksa and Curry Laksa. Asam Laksa features a tangy and fishy broth, while Curry Laksa boasts a rich, creamy coconut milk base. Both versions are garnished with fresh herbs, boiled eggs, and bean sprouts.

6. Hainanese Chicken Rice: Simplicity at Its Best

Hainanese Chicken Rice is a simple yet satisfying dish that has captured the hearts of many Malaysians. Tender poached chicken is served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth, accompanied by ginger paste, chili sauce, and cucumber slices.

7. Mee Goreng: Spicy Stir-Fried Noodles

Mee Goreng is a flavorful and spicy stir-fried noodle dish that showcases Indian and Malay influences. The noodles are stir-fried with vegetables, prawns, chicken, and a generous amount of spicy sauce, resulting in a tantalizing medley of tastes.

8. Rendang: A Rich and Spicy Stew

Rendang is a slow-cooked, rich and spicy meat stew that originated in Indonesia but is widely enjoyed in Malaysia as well. The dish typically uses beef or chicken, which is braised with coconut milk and a blend of aromatic spices until the flavors are concentrated to perfection.

9. Cendol: A Sweet Treat

Cendol is a refreshing and sweet dessert that is perfect for beating the tropical heat. It features green rice flour jelly, served with coconut milk, palm sugar syrup, and shaved ice, creating a delightful mix of flavors and textures.

10. Apam Balik: A Malaysian Pancake

Apam Balik is a traditional Malaysian pancake filled with a generous amount of crushed peanuts, sugar, and sweetcorn. This sweet and savory treat is perfect for those with a love for unique combinations.

11. Ikan Bakar: Grilled Fish Delight

Ikan Bakar, meaning “grilled fish,” is a popular dish among seafood lovers. The fish is marinated in a spicy paste and grilled to perfection, infusing the flesh with a smoky and aromatic flavor.

12. Nasi Goreng: Malaysia’s Fried Rice

Nasi Goreng is a Malaysian version of fried rice, brimming with flavors and textures. The dish typically includes shrimp, chicken, eggs, and a combination of sauces and spices, resulting in a fulfilling and savory meal.


Q: What makes Malaysian cuisine unique? A: Malaysian cuisine is unique due to its multicultural influences, combining Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous flavors, as well as its creative use of aromatic spices and herbs.

Q: Where can I find authentic Traditional Malaysian Dishes in Manila? A: You can find authentic Malaysian dishes in popular Malaysian restaurants and eateries scattered across Manila. Look for restaurants that specialize in Malaysian cuisine or offer a diverse Southeast Asian menu.

Q: Are Malaysian dishes generally spicy? A: While many Malaysian dishes can be spicy, not all of them are. Malaysian cuisine offers a wide range of flavors, from mild and savory to hot and spicy, catering to various taste preferences.

Q: Is Nasi Lemak served only for breakfast? A: While Nasi Lemak is a popular breakfast dish in Malaysia, it is also enjoyed throughout the day, making it a versatile and delicious option for any meal.

Q: Are there vegetarian options available in Malaysian cuisine? A: Yes, Malaysian cuisine offers several vegetarian options, especially with the widespread practice of Buddhism and Hinduism, which encourages a vegetarian diet.

Q: What are some common ingredients used in Malaysian cooking? A: Some common ingredients used in Malaysian cooking include coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, tamarind, shallots, garlic, and a variety of spices such as turmeric, cumin, and coriander.


Embarking on a culinary adventure through the flavors of Traditional Malaysian Dishes in Manila allows you to experience the rich heritage of Malaysia’s cuisine. From the delectable Nasi Lemak to the aromatic Char Kway Teow, each dish tells a story of cultural fusion and culinary mastery. So, the next time you find yourself in Manila, don’t miss the opportunity to savor these mouthwatering dishes that bring the taste of Malaysia to the heart of the Philippines.

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