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Malaysia Cuisine

Malaysian cuisine is just like everything else Malaysian, a blend of different cultures which culminate into something unique, excellent and appealing to all. As with virtually every other country in the world, Malaysians tend to believe their food is the best. As it happens however, in Malaysia's case it may just be true. Food in Malaysia may lack the sophistication and elegance of western cuisine and the exotic simplicity of eastern dishes, but it does have an appeal that transcends the culinary requirements of most cultures, while many dishes and preparation methods here may not appeal to everyone, it is virtually guaranteed that everyone will find a Malaysian dish which appeals to them. Even in the distinctly remote exceptions to this statement, there is a vast variety of restaurants catering to the international traveler, everything from Italian to Japanese to Cuban to Arabian. The visitor to Malaysia will never, ever, lack in choices as far as the next meal is concerned.

Food in Malaysia tends to be spicy, savory and smooth. Rice is the staple food in Malaysia, eaten by practically everyone. Malays and Indians tend to prefer more heavily spiced food compared to the Chinese. In cities, particularly KL, everyone eats everything; it is as common to see an Indian family tucking in at a distinctly Chinese "Steamboat" diner as it is to see Chinese executives sharing Indian Tandoori Chicken and Naan bread at lunch. Each individual is restricted only by religious observances such as Halal foods for Muslims and abstinence from beef dishes for Hindus. Due to the fact that most major cities in Malaysia tend to be near the coast, fresh, bountiful and relatively inexpensive seafood are enjoyed by all.

One point of interest which holds true about the local cuisine in Malaysia is that price is not necessarily an indication of quality. While it is of course true that food at the more expensive eateries tend to be served in a more pleasant environment, are more agreeable to the taste and made from higher quality ingredients, lower priced restaurants and indeed the roadside stalls and "food courts" are often packed by patrons of all social levels. This is simply because the food is oftentimes equally delectable and costs a fraction of what one would pay at an upper class restaurant. However, finding these places may take some effort or help from a knowledgeable local.

Time is often a factor for dining out in many countries, but is less so in Malaysia. While most restaurants close before midnight, the ubiquitous "mamak" stalls oftentimes remain open around the clock, 24-7 all year round. Lately this has spread to some Chinese restaurants as well, you may be driving along the streets of KL at 3am on a Sunday morning and rounding a corner you may well see a packed stall with dozens of people quaffing their "teh tariks" and chewing their "roti canais". However some dishes may only be available at certain times of the day.

Two words of caution for the visitor to Malaysia: oil and spice. Much of the foods here tend to be oily and quite spicy. Flaming palates aside, this may cause digestive or intestinal discomfort if eaten in excess. While the locals have a highly developed immunity to this unfortunate phenomenon, visitors used to milder, plainer foods should take care.

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