If you are not a native of a city, it can be a challenge to decide what to see and do. Being a Malaysian, this is a short synopsis of the one thing we feel you have to do and also the local food you should try in the various cities of Malaysia. Of course, there are many more things you can do and try but the following are our recommendation:

Malaysian Pancake ‘Roti Canai’
Roti Canai is a light and fluffy flat bread that is pan-cooked and traditionally served hot with curry or lentil curry ( dhal ). It is a dish unique to Malaysia, which has its origins lost in the Indian community of those countries.  Roti means bread in Hindi ( and Malay ).  The term canai comes from channa, a mixture of boiled chickpeas in a spicy gravy from Northern India.  In Malaysia, roti canai is served 24 hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It tastes best when taken for breakfast or morning tea; eaten with the hand ( the right one of course! ) and washed down with strong, hot, sweet kopi-O ( Malaysian style coffee ).

Teo’s Seafood Restaurant
Located in Kuah town, Teo’s Seafood Restaurant serves a variety of fresh local catch from the sea like soft shell crabs, giant prawns and mussels. This restaurant also draws the locals and tourists with its delicious home cooked-Chinese cuisine. Must try signature dishes includes Crispy Duck with special sauce, sweet and sour pork and Cantonese style fried kuey teow. So, when you’re in Langkawi, make sure you include this place as one of your dining venues!

Penang’s Famous “Char Kuey Teow”
From hawker stalls to fine dining restaurants, Penang is well-known for its variety of authentic local delights. Among its variety of famous street food, Char Kuey Teow is the first thing that always comes to mind. It is made from flat rice noodles and stir-fried with eggs, bean sprouts, cockles ( optional ) , prawns and chilli paste over open fire in a large wok. The soy sauce balanced perfectly, giving the noodles a very rich taste. There is no surprise that this dish is very much sought after by foodies to this island because of its strong aroma and savoury flavour. Be sure to try this hawker delicacy when you’re here for your next trip!

Hinava (Kadazan Raw Fish Salad)
Hinava, a raw fish salad is one of Sabah’s most famous indigenous dish and is a specialty of the Kadazan-Dusun people, the largest ethnic group in Sabah. It is a form of salad with pieces of raw fish, bitter gourd, ginger, shallots and chillis. The Sabahan usually use mackerel fish for this kind of dish but as an alternative, you can replace it with prawns or octopus. This popular local delicacy is similar to ceviche, which is fish marinated in citrus food. Hinava is usually served as an appetizer together with rice and ‘tuak’ (fermented rice wine) during the Harvest Festival, also known as Pesta Kaamatan.

Manok Pansoh
This local delight is an Iban chicken dish cooked in bamboo with mushrooms, lemongrass and tapioca leaves and cooked over an open fire. This natural way of cooking seals in the flavours and produces astonishingly tender chicken with gravy perfumed with lemongrass and bamboo. Manok Pansoh can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. In fact, it tastes better when eaten with lemang, a traditional food made of glutinous rice and coconut milk. A must try when visiting Sarawak!

Hot Tempoyak
A traditional dish made with fermented durian, tempoyak has a soft and creamy texture which is yellowish in colour. It is a popular side dish made from fresh durian flesh. The flesh is removed from the seed and mixed with salt. It is then fermented for about two days before use and can last for a long time if stored in the refrigerator. Fresh tempoyak has a strong pungent smell and tastes sour and salty. It is not consumed on its own but added to spicy local dishes to enhance its taste and thicken the gravy. Alternatively, it can also be steamed with fish and eaten with rice.

Pangkor’s Satay Fish
In the 1960’s and 70’s, the name ‘Pangkor’ was synonymous with salted fish, ikan bilis produce, dried shrimps, shrimp paste and many more marine products. Kids in Pangkor Island grew up on ‘Satay Fish’, a delicious snack made of barbecued and caramelized fish wafers. It is delicious but some will find the smell a bit stinky. The production of satay fish is one of the main commercial activities in Pangkor as most people here still rely on fishing for living. Quality fresh fishes are carefully selected before they are dried under the sun. The dried fishes are dipped into special-made gravy before the fishes are roasted in the oven and the final product is packed. So, when you’re on a trip to the island, go grab this delicious and crunchy snack!