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Introducing Nasi Melayu (Malay Cooking)

As a Malaysian food blog, I really haven’t done a good job in introducing my readers about Malay-style cooking, which is essentially the main cuisine type in Malaysia as the ethnic Malays make up about 2/3 of Malaysia’s total population. So, today, I am going to introduce you to Nasi Melayu (literally means “Malay rice”) or the cooking of the Malays in Malaysia.

This rice plate of “Nasi Melayu” pretty much sums up the essence of Malay cooking–spicy, fiery, and lots of mouthwatering variety. The dishes (from closewise) are: fried fish in spicy sauce, sambal udang (prawn sambal), sweet and sour egg, fried tofu with turmeric and bean sauce, okra in sambal, and ulam (Malay-style salad with sambal belacan). There are definitely more to Malay cooking than those that meet your eyes here, for example, the famous Malay beef rendang. There are also many other wonderful chicken, vegetables, fish, rice and noodles dishes. I simply adore Malay cooking. It’s colorful and absolutely delicious–one of the staple cuisines enjoyed by many Malaysians, regardless of our race, religion, or origins…

Nasi Melayu can be easily found at roadside stalls or hawker centers all over Malaysia. There are also restaurants selling various kinds of Malay dishes. At these stalls or restaurants, a diner usually gets a plate of steamed white rice and selects the dishes to go with the rice. (This is also known as “Nasi Campur” or mixed rice locally.) The total price of the rice plate depends on the quantity and the kind of dishes you order. There are also many popular Malay “Tomyam” food stalls selling made-to-order rice dishes. In this case, the foods served are influenced by Thailand, for example: various kinds of Tomyam (Tom Yum), Nasi Pattaya, Nasi Paprik, etc. (“Nasi” means rice in Malay language.)

In the near future, I hope to share more Malay-style cooking with you on Rasa Malaysia. For now, please let me know if this rice plate whets your virtual appetite. *wink*

33 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Salt N Turmeric

    Im gonna faint looking at the pic. You are torturing me! But seriously, i would do exactly like you did. Put at least 5-6 dishes on my plate on top of the white rice.

    p.s. Thanks for the link again. ;)

  2. Mei Del

    and of course healthier than your usual hawker fare because none of the dishes here would have been cooked using lard

  3. worldwindows

    There is a traditional Malay eatery just below my office. One and only in a 3 mile radius. Its Malay not Mamak. The Ulam/Salad with its slightly sweet, sour and spicy sauce and pep up with cincaluk is the best. The lontong, Malay laksa ….

  4. Manggy

    If the dishes look as good as this (which I have no doubt), then I’m super looking forward to seeing more Malay food here!

    Hmm, “ulam” in Filipino means any viand to go with rice.

  5. judyfoodie


    Great blog, love it!

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and thought it was high time I commented. The pictures you take are really nice and make me want to go off and eat hawker food.

    ~ judyfoodie

  6. gkbloodsugar

    It’s always nice to see something new, and to learn about native foods.

    Malay certainly is colourful!

  7. Love_at_first_bite

    That looks so good Bee! It makes me sad because I’m getting my wisdom teeth out tomorrow and I know it will be a while before I can eat real food again. Think you could send me some Nasi Melayu as soon as I can chew again =)?

  8. tigerfish

    Ever since I return, I have been eating this most frequently whenever I am outside. One of my all-time fav is spicy tempeh with bits of long beans…so yummy! Then ask the stall owner to give me curry gravy on my rice…..I am so satisfied!

  9. Kate / Kajal

    Bee this plate looks wonderful.its got Okro, Shrimp, tofu, fish ..everything. Its such a wholesome meal, amd full of flavour and colours. You’ve really tempted me with this visual treat girl :)

  10. Anonymous

    dear bee, i am a longtime malay reader and you do us malaysians proud with your blog and deft ‘air tangan’ with local cuisine! one thing you forgot to mention… malay food may also be eaten by HAND (the right one of course, and with a good wash of soap before and after!) though you can never tell with the sambals… the pungent scents can stick to the fingers hours after a good malay meal even after a scrubbing. love, delia xoxoxo

    • Terima kasih. I applaud your goal of setting up Melayu Boleh blog. Kalau ada jumpa blog mengenai makanan Malaysia, rengkapi dengan teknik fotografi dan tulisan yang bagus, sila beritahu. Saya mungkin boleh jemput sebagai guest writer blog saya.

  11. Farid


    Realy feel hungry with this photo. However just wanna to correct something, it is not Nasi Melayu but Nasi Campur by Melayu. Nasi Campur is the most popular menu in Malaysia and enjoyed bu Malay, Chinese, Indian and others……….

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