One of the many things we can be proud of as Malaysians is our food. We know it’s most likely the number one item most of us use to describe our country to a foreigner.
Just food, food and more food!
Especially the assorted street food we have, the pride we feel when our mat salleh
friends love our recommendations and the dissatisfaction we feel when we hear that, somewhere over the rainbow, has better hawker stalls than we do.
Yes, we're looking at you, Singapore!
Okay. Let’s get serious now because we are very, very serious about our food.
Many street food come from humble beginnings. Whether they’re selling homemade recipes passed down from generations in carts, hawker centres, markets or small shops, traditional street food have gradually evolved and become more successful over the years.
In fact, this culinary tradition has become so popular that food experts and critiques from all around the world have also caught up with it.
On Wednesday, the World Street Food Congress
(yes, there’s an entire congress dedicated to street food!) revealed the Top 50 World Street Food Masters
list and five Malaysian eateries made it into the ranking
The selected eateries were judged based on their mode of operation, including ingredient-sourcing, food preparation, hygiene factor, adaptability, consistency, confidence, as well as the quality and flavour of the food.
The more abstract criteria factored in includes the ability to inspire and create jobs, reputation and opportunities for the people, including for those who are displaced or disadvantaged.
So, it’s not just about the taste!
The World Street Food Congress’ panel of travel commentators, writers, food celebrities and professionals have selected these five Malaysian street food joints among the best 50 from across the world.
#9 Line Clear Nasi Kandar, Penang
“Arguably the most famous Nasi Kandar stall in Malaysia. They occupy a side lane, not even a stall, with their selection of masala fried chicken, fish head curry, lamb, sambal prawns, eggs, spicy greens, etc, all lined up along the wall in stainless steel pans, you just devour them with rice. Turnover is very high and they are very loud and friendly, as is the customers.”
177, Jalan Penang, George Town, 10000 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Monday to Sunday, Open 24 Hours
#14 Siam Rd Cha Kway Teow, Penang
“The classic travelling food cart on four wheels. He cooks it over a perfected over the decades, wood fired wok and the smoky smooth appeal, is the reason for the lines wherever he drags his cha kway teow cart to.”
Jalan Siam, George Town, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Tuesday to Sunday, 3pm to 11pm (Closed on Monday)
#23 Fauzi Nasi Kerabu, Terengganu
“You can see the street side smoky chaos they create come meal times, especially at lunch. Fragrant blue rice, lightly flavoured, then perfumed and coloured with blue pea flower or bunga telang. They grill a stack of spicy chicken (or beef) and top this over that blue rice with a spiced grated coconut bean sprout salad (or ulam) with a piece of salted egg to kick the flavours up a few notches. Side orders include a stuff pepper with minced chicken. The street side shed food shop and is very popular with the locals and they don’t tweak it especially for tourist, it’s just as it is, no matter who you are.”
Jalan Sultan Sulaiman, 2000 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
Monday to Sunday, 7am to 12.30pm
#34 Nyonya Mee Siam Donald and Lily’s, Melaka
“Donald and Lily are known to be the first Nyonya hawker in the Peranakan capital of Malacca, Malaysia. Now roosting in this food shop, their range of popular Nyonya snacks and dishes have found favour with many. The Mee Siam, a rice noodle dish, wok tossed in a sharp and tangy chilli sambal and doused with even more of the sambal, is addictive and uber moreish. A second generation helmed by daughter Jennifer, has comfortable eased into proper succession mode. “
No. 16, Ground Floor, Jalan KSB 1, Taman Kota Shah Bandar, Melaka, 75200 Malacca, Malaysia
Tuesday to Sunday, 9.30am to 4pm
#43 Jalan Kuli Satay, Melaka
“Watch carefully at how inventive this signboard-less little stall is. The weather beaten wood fire grill has a trough of water so steam and moisture the satay skewers as it fires up over the smoky charcoal heat. It prevents the sticks from burning up too. The resultant smoky skewers of pork satay, with a layer of fat are dunked in a peanut sauce that is sharpened with a dollop of sour belimbing (wild starfruit) mash and some chilli oils. They operate only for half a day as they can only hand make so much daily.”
Street cart at the corner of Jalan Kampung Kuli and Lorong Hang Jebat
Whether you agree with this list or not, let’s just appreciate the fact that Malaysian food is recognised as some of the world’s best!