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Malaysia Holidays 2011 With a Tasteful Dimension

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The Malaysian word for eating is “makan” and you’ll become familiar with it quite soon once you set foot in the country. The locals eat around seven times in a day, and the quality as well as range of food is quite amazing. The Malay cooking style in fact is a heady mix of influences from across the planet – Chinese, Indian, Arabian, Portuguese, Indonesian and Thai to name a few. Here is a quick guide for those planning a gastronomic holiday to Malaysia in 2011.

Terrenganu
Situated around 400 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur, close to the neighbouring country Thailand and understandably has culinary influences as well. The innumerable Thai food stalls and restaurants offer dishes such as the nasi dagang – a mix of glutinous rice and Thai jasmine rice. If you happen to get here during 2011 holidays, do check out the local speciality keropok lekor – a meaty sausage made from sago flour and battered fish served fried as well as boiled – try the former with spicy sauce. The Central Market is the place to be for a hearty breakfast of akok (made from coconut, eggs and palm sugar), tarts made from pandam leaf, pulut lepa (boiled fish, coconut, chillies and onion wrapped in banana leaf and barbequed, served with rice), and paung goreng (fish and glutinous rice balls cooked in coconut milk).

Melaka
Located near the confluence of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, Melaka is midway between Malaysia and Singapore. Here the influence is majorly Chinese with Arabic elements thrown in between. Must tries for Malaysia holidays 2011 include the lemak nenas (pineapple and prawns cooked in coconut milk), ayam pong (braised chicken with palm sugar and fermented soy bean paste), spicy okra salad, ikan chuan chuan (red snapper deep fried and served with preserved bean curd along with lime and ginger), and deep fried ice-cream! 

Kota Kinabalu/ Sabah
Fish and seafood are the star attractions in this part of Malaysia. The kam heong la la (fragrant clams served stir-fried), sayur manis (local ferns cooked with shrimp paste), dried fish and coffee are some of the things to try on a Malaysian sojourn in 2011.

Penang
There is a huge Chinese population in Penang, making the food here showing influences thus but at the same time, having the characteristic Thai hotness as well. Taste the wan tan mee (noodles done with dumplings and pork slivers), laksa, double cooked pork and long beans, and nasi kandar (fried chicken, cubed beef, curried spleen and fish roe spiced up with sauces and served with rice). With a sizeable Indian population as well, Penang is also the place to check out South Indian delights such as idli and masala uthapam. Indeed a foodie’s paradise for 2011 Malaysia holidays.

Langkawi
Check out the classic breakfast dishes of Malaysia at Langkawi – the lemak nassi (rice steamed in coconut water served with eggs, anchovies and sauce), the roti canai (flaky pancakes), teh tarik (pulled tea), and ais kacang (beans, sweet corn, ice, flavoured syrup and jelly all blended up). Another delicacy one could taste on a trip to Malaysia in 2011 is the asam pedas which is a fiery hot fish dish.

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