Best Street Food in Malaysia – Top 6 foods

If you are in a foreign country and want to gain quick access to its culture, look nowhere else except for its food. Like other places in this part of the world, street food is embodied in the Malaysian food culture. It is so popular not only because it is cheap, but it is also convenient for people that are looking for a quick meal and also takeaways for the family.

You should never leave this country without trying its street foods. Once in a while, abandon your hotel’s restaurant or cafe, head to any busy alleys, most likely you will bump into food stalls. Or, even better, gear up and get your stuff and your stomach ready for a visit to Pasar Malam!

What is Pasar Malam?

Pasar Malam can literally be translated as Night Market. Like its name, Pasar Malam is a place where you can find almost everything under the sun. Imagine it to be like a flea market in your country.

Pasar Malam

The Pasar Malam scene in Malaysia

You can buy anything here, from groceries, stuff for your garden, traditional medicine, pest control items, cheap electronic goods and accessories like USB Cable, Selfie-stick, Mobile Power Bank, plasticware, clothing and most importantly Foods!

Pasar Malam

Heaven for street-food lover

Without any doubt that food in Pasar Malam is likely the best street food you can ever encounter. The selection of foods and drinks can vary vastly and you can pretty much go to Pasar Malam with an empty stomach and leave bloating! I kid you not.

Here are Six must try foods if you ever visit Pasar Malam in Malaysia.

1) Keropok Lekor

It is made of fish – more like Malaysian Fish Finger. I believe you can only find this in Malaysia, and to be exact, you need to go up to the east coast part of Malaysian Peninsular – Terengganu. The birthplace of Keropok Lekor.

Best Street Food in Malaysia

Keropok Lekor stall – freshly made

Due to its coastal line, fish is the staple for the people living here. There are so many dishes made up of fish and one of them is the one and only – Keropok Lekor.

Best Street Food in Malaysia

Usually, people eat this finger food with sweet and spicy sauce.

Oh, how about go to offbeat path i.e. get away from the obvious tourist spot like Kuala Lumpur and head up to Terengganu. Go find places that make keropok lekor and experience yourself how it’s made.

Best Street Food in Malaysia

Freshly made keropok lekor

2) Yong Tau Fu

This dish I believe is a dish that influenced by the Chinese culture, suits its name. Usually, it is a combination of finger-sized foods that is boiled in chicken or veggie broth.

Best Street Food in Malaysia

Selections of foods to be mixed and matched together

You can choose what you want and the hawker will prepare it fresh in front of you. Usually, people eat this with peanut sauce or with a light broth, top with garnishes like toasted peanuts

Best Street Food in Malaysia

Yong Tau Fu in brown sauce topped with topped sesame

3) Coconut Shake

I believe most people is familiar with the milkshake and by now already got the idea what coconut shake is. Exactly like what you imagined, coconut shake is made up of coconut juice and coconut flesh, blended with vanilla ice-cream.

Malay Man interracial

The most popular spot for Coconut Shake is in Klebang, Malacca

The best coconut shake must use the green coconut that is still young in age. The brown and yellow coconut are already matured enough and they have thicker and harder flesh. The matured coconut has degraded juice that already lost its sweetness.

Best Street Food in Malaysia

Only in Malaysia

A good coconut shake must use young green coconut with soft white flesh. Usually, it will be top with one or two scoops of vanilla ice-cream. Go team vanilla!

4) Putu Piring

I told you that food being the gateway to learn one’s culture, and thus far we’ve learned about the Malay and Chinese foods. Keropok lekor is rooted from the Malays, Yong tau fu is rooted from the Chinese, and of course as a proud citizen of a multi-racial country, I have to introduce you the food that the Indians have to offer – Putu Piring.

Best Street Food in Malaysia

A taste of culture to enrich your soul

It is a delicious light meal for you that have the sweet teeth. This delicious sweet disc is stuffed with brown palm sugar and will be steamed to perfection.

Best Street Food in Malaysia

How its made

The texture of this disc is so unique that I cannot find an adjective in the English dictionary to describe it. That means you have to Go! and travel Malaysia to eat this.

5) Puteri Mandi

This one will grab your attention, at least for the gentlemen! It can literally be translated as “Princess Bathing”.

Princess in Bath

Food for princess

Its main ingredient is glutinous flour that is shaped into small cute balls with pandan flavour. Its texture is very similar to the Japanese mochi if you ever had one. It is drenched in a sweet caramel-liked sauce that is made up from palm sugar and cooked with coconut flakes.

I know, so many ‘tropical ingredients’ here. You got pandan, palm, coconut etc. One thing about these words – it tells you that this is a traditional dish and of course an authentic one.

6) Goreng Pisang

Goreng Pisang – Banana Fritter. If you are a banana fan and prefer deep-fried food and couldn’t care less about your calories intake, you are in heaven!

Banana Fritters

Goreng Pisang by the street

This is a guilty pleasure that can be found almost anywhere in Malaysia. You might think that you can recreate this dish in your kitchen, most probably you can, but you have to find the right banana for it. Your typical banana is eaten for breakfast and your go-to snack is not really suitable to be used to make Goreng Pisang.

You must find the banana that is a little bit hard in texture so it doesn’t turn into mush when fried, (like plantain) but with a sweet taste to it. Go figure you banana experts!

Things to avoid if you want to lose belly fat

Modern take on Goreng Pisang

This is a perfect snack when you are on the road wandering around those tourist spots. The upscale version (not the street-food version) usually garnished with ice-cream and even grated cheese and chocolate. *I told you, it is a food that will make you feel guilty to your body*

In case you are looking to learn more about these dishes and learn other recipes, I highly recommend you to grab this cookbook from Amazon.com. It is a very comprehensive Cookbook with a lot more traditional dishes that you could learn and start to impress your loved ones!

Lastly, don’t wait, let Go! Travel Malaysia.

: )

Posted in Foods, Travel Malaysia Guide.

67 Comments

  1. Its has long been a dream of mine to hit up a night market. Just wandering round the hustle and bustle try local delicacies. The foods you Highlighted all look delicious.

    Do the Malaysian Night Markets have any more unusual foods. Like insects and weird stuff that you often see on travel shoes. I am someone who like to challenge myself in many ways and trying new food is definitely one way.

    • Hi Steve,

      You should come and visit our night market at least once in your lifetime.

      Malaysian night markets do not sell insects as Malaysians generally do not consume insects in our dish unlike other places in South East Asia. However, it depends on your travel experience,more seasoned traveller will have lower threshold of what he/she consider as a challenging dish. Still a lot more dishes to write and to be introduced.

      Thanks

  2. Outstanding! And congratulations or whittling Malaysia’s fine and tasty food down to just 6 dishes! – And that is without mentioning the Nasi Lemak or “Kandar culture” Curry mee, Hokkien Mee (popular in Penang) or nay of the mee Goreng dishes.

    Malaysia really is a foodie paradise!

    Thanks for this article, great read! ..and some of those dishes I have yet to try!

    • Hi there, I try my best to highlight some of the dishes that maybe not so popular but deserve to be introduced to the world. :

  3. I have never been to Malaysia before however some of these dishes look divine!!!
    I think street food is a great way to taste the cultures various foods and as you stated very cheap and what I like about it too, food like this has a quick turn around so it is usually fresh which is important. Must keep these recommendations you have in mind.
    Cheers, Sharon

  4. I have never been to Malaysia before however some of these dishes look divine!!!
    I think street food is a great way to taste the cultures various foods and as you stated very cheap and what I like about it too, food like this has a quick turn around so it is usually fresh which is important. Must keep these recommendations you have in mind.
    Cheers, Sharon

  5. Hello and thanks for sharing, it is so great to ravel the world to be able to experience different kind of foods this is one of the things that makes life so great, and that is traveling living on the edge so to speak and to enjoy ourselves. It is awesome when we think about culture and the many foods that are out there, thanks for sharing this post it is so awesome this is great and can give heads up to those who may want to travel to malaysia.

  6. Hey,

    What a wonderful tutorial of what to eat in Malaysia!:)
    I like to travel a lot when I have te chance. What I like most is to taste the food first, when I visit a new country.
    Pasar Malam looks like a really great place where one can do that.The Yong Tau Fu seems like a very delicious meal.
    I hope to visit Malaysia one day and I will use your helpful guide in order to find good stuff to eat.
    Thanks for the nice description.

  7. I’ve never been to Malaysia, but it is on my list of places to visit next year when I go on my round the world trip so this was a site I definitely wanted to check out. I really like the picture of the flea market. You really captured it, and it is so colorful and looks like a really exciting place to check out. The pictures of all the foods you put up also looked amazing, although I hope I can get them without the peanuts since I’m allergic. And I can’t wait to try the coconut shake. I’ve had fresh coconut juice straight from the coconut, but this will be a new treat. Thank you for sharing all these pictures of the delicious food that Malaysia has to offer. I can’t wait to try them. You sure made them sound enticing.

  8. Awww, man, this is making me excited and hungry. I love me some food, especially food from other cultures; SOOO tasty!

    That Yong Tau Fu seems amazing. I, personally, love Chinese food and having another cultural food mixed with that has to be promising. That Coconut shake sounds tasty too. With that vanilla ice-cream? Amazing!

    That Goreng Pisang sorta like highly upgraded fried plantains (bananas are still a bit different then plantains, of course). Man, I gotta learn how to cook this. 🙂

    Thanks for supplying me the knowledge of the cookbook. I have to get it sometime.

    Awesome stuff!

  9. I adored this article, maybe because I absolutely love Pasar Malams, or perhaps due to these amazing pictures! It’s such a joy to wonder around and taste all the street delicacies. My mouth is watering by looking some of these foods. I used to live with Keropok Lekor, when I worked in Singapore and coconut shakes are delicious desert for any meal, that or coconut ice cream with goreng pisang! Anyone should taste all these delicacies at least ones in their life.

  10. Whenever I travel abroad I always look for the local food carts or just simple places where the served food is on the level of takeaway (not cafe or restaurants). I have never been in this region however if I ever to visit Malaysia I will certainly look for the night market. Thank you for the review!

    • Hi Alex, I am glad you find this article useful
      Hopefully you will have your chance to visit Malaysia soon

      Thanks

  11. damn, this article is making me sooo hungry. Are you sure we can’t use regular bananas to try and recreate that dish? Or is it the batter that’s the key ingredient? I’m already trying to google that on the side.
    The coconut milkshake has to be my next attempt. It sound super simple and tasty too and coconut water is something we always have in my house these days.

    • Hi Ryan,
      For that banana, actually you can use the normal banana but sometimes it will be hard to fry if it is too soft.
      Yes you are right, the key is to get the batter consistency right, if you nail it then you are good to go.

      Of course you can try the coconut shake as well, but make sure you find the young coconut and avoid using the prepacked bottle or box coconut juice, it tastes better with fresh coconut.

      Happy trying

  12. next year I plan on doing some travels throughout south east asia and perhaps malaysia could be one of my destinations. Ive always been attracted to street food and the fried banana and fish fingers look like my kind of food. I’d definitely make street food a big part of my diet when I get there.

    • hi kent.

      Stay tune to this blog, hopefullt I will write on more street foods to help you make the decission.

      Thank yo

  13. They all look really delicious. I have heard that Malaysian foods have lots of varieties and different kinds of dishes. It’s very interesting that some of the food stems from Chinese origin. However, I am not surprised because chinese food is famous around the world also. The desserts also look tasty. I especially feel that way about the coconut shake. My whole family loves coconut since it is so fragrant and it really adds energy to you. Thanks for the recommendations. Thank you.

  14. Love this article and I’m a big fan of Malaysian food! I can’t pick a favourite from this list here but I have to say that the Coconut Shake and the Goreng Pisang are what I want to try first.
    I’ve never been to Malaysian before but its definitely on the bucket list, in the meantime I will have to search the streets of London for close alternatives.

    • Coconu shake and goreng pisang are the perfect combos!

      That is my favourite tea time dish maybe like your scones and tea in England.

      Hope you will be in Malaysia some day

  15. What a wonderful and attractive page! The colourful images you haven chosen are great! Like me, a lot of people like to eat with their eyes! If the food doesn’t look good, I wouldn’t even give it a try! Really, the food on the pictures are great! This introduction of food in Malaysia is outstanding!

    Went through your website, I have missed your photo on About Me page. I would suggest to put it there.

    Otherwise, well done!
    Cheers,
    Balsam

    • Hi there, you are right, we eat through our eyes first. Actually there are lots more foods to be introduced, hopefully I will be able to write about them later.

      Noted on the profile picture, will upload it soon.

      Thanks

  16. I love this page, and I love Goren Pisang, I also love chicken curry and roti canai…

    Thank you so much for this, it was a pleasure to read and dream about such gorgeous food, I can almost smell the night market.

    Best wishes

    • Hi Neil, are you living in the UK?
      There are actually places in the UK that sell authentic Malaysian dishes but not all. Have you been here? How did you discovered roti canai and curry?
      Those are my favorites as well.

      Thank you for your comment

  17. Hello, I have never been to Malaysia however, it is on my list of possible vacation destinations in my near future. I would appreciate the cuisine of the Asian culture!

    • Hi there, I am glad this post makes you inspired to visit Malaysia.
      Hope that one day you will be able to travel Malaysia and see it with your own eyess.

      Thanks

  18. Great photos and information. I have lived in Malaysia since 2011 (KL) so I was a bit surprised that there was no Nasi Lemak! And what about Jalan Alor, the famous food street for Chinese in KL? All good my friend.

    I was recently in Penang (Dec 2016) where they have a Pasar Malam at Batu Ferringhi. They sell mainly souvenirs and trinkets with a few mamak restaurants behind.

    Really enjoyed reading this article. I have been to Terengganu a few times, mainly Kuala Besut where we took a boat to Pulau Perhentian. Now that’s what I call paradise! Do you have any articles on this island resort?

    • Hi Craig.

      Don’nt be surprise, actually I have dedicated a post about Nasi Lemak to showcase its beauty
      here >> http://gotravelmalaysia.com/what-is-nasi-lemak
      You are right Jalan Alor and Nasi Lemak is like the epitome of Street Food in Malaysia.

      What I’ve done here was to introduce some of the foods that maybe less popular for foreigners but these food deserve the limelight like other famous dishes as well.

      I have to write many more articles after this to capture everything.

      Thanks again for your comment.
      Cheers

  19. I’ve never been to Malaysia before, but I’d love to visit because some of these dishes look divine and would love to try the Coconut shake. I know my husband would love Pasar Malam and would be trying anything and everything. Thanks for a wonderful post 🙂

    • Hi Nepia,

      I’m glad that you like this post.
      Of course you should try this and experience pasar malam at least once in your lifetime.
      Dont forget to find the coconut shake once you are in Malaysia.

      Thanks

  20. I’ve been to Malaysia several times and love night markets but these dishes are all new to me – looks like I’ll have to make another visit just to try out these dishes!! As a tourist the hardest part is knowing what to ask for, or having an idea of whether it is sweet or savoury when you’re just pointing at things. So thanks for running through some of the other dishes. I can now point at some other foods and have an idea whether I’ll end up eating a banana or a fish finger!
    I’d like to ask for a Yong Tau Fu but is there some way of asking for a ‘standard’ one so I don’t have to pick all the individual ingredients?
    It’s interesting that you say the green coconut needs to be used in the coconut shake and that it has sweeter juice than the older coconuts. I would have thought it would get sweeter as it matured so that’s something to watch out for! Thanks for the information.

    • Hi Rachel, good to hear that you already have experienced Pasar Malam before.
      It is actually my intention to introduce less popular foods that deserve the limelight as well. Some of this dishes may only be popular among malaysians but maybe unknown to others.

      Yes, you can always talk to the hawker and ask for standard selection of Yong Tau Fu, but I advice you to pick yourself, mix and match what you like and you feel like eating, it is part of the experience.

      About the coconut, yes, you have to find green coconut as the older one will have a slight sour taste to it, indicating that they are already matured enough.

      Thanks for your comment.

  21. HI there,

    I used to live in Singapore where Pasar Malam is a common sight, especially on holidays. I also have been on street markets of Malacca (Jonker street) and KL.

    My favorite street food is probably the Yong Tau Fu. Singapore also sells it every day but I like the Malaysia version better. I have tried the Putu Piring as well.

    I have yet to try the rest. Thanks for the list!

    Regards,
    Pitin

    • Hi there, glad that you have already experiences some of these foods.
      Please come and visit us again, I recommend you to visit Terengganu, go find the Keropok Lekor and maybe plan your visit to the amazing islands there.

      Thank You

  22. Hey Habil,
    Salam Bro. I actually just came back from Klebang last Sunday and the coconut shake was awesome but there are so many sellers there that it hard to know the original one.

    The best coconut shake I’ve had is the one that contains gula melaka inside, whoa that was the bomb. I’ve tried and I got hooked but I can’t seem to recall where was it that I bought though. Maybe you know?

  23. Hi,
    I have traveled to Malaysia twice but never tried such foods, I just tried a hot rice-chicken-spring onion dish , also agar agar jelly. But a question: are all these foods in that special market Hahal and Islamic? I mean I can eat them without being worried that something is not Halal?

    • Salam alaykum brother.
      You have made a very good choice. Chicken Rice is also quite popular here.
      I would say that most foods are halal in Malaysia, unless you are buying from Chinese or Indian seller, you can ask them directly.
      However, if you are going to a normal pasar malam, most likely they are all halal.

      Even better, if you visit during the month of Ramadhan, you can find “Bazzaar Ramadhan” in which there are hundreds of stalls selling foods for ifthar.
      I highly recommend you to visit again during the Blessed Month.

      Thank You

  24. Wow, the food looks so yummy! It looks like a great place to visit for sure. I especially liked the coconut shake. Having lived on an Island in Fiji for a few years, I remember how delicious the young coconuts are compared to the more matured ones I had eaten in the US. I would eat the meat of the young coconuts like candy! I can only image how good they are with some of the coconut water and ice cream.

    • Hi Lidia, you can try make it yourself if you can find the young coconut. I agree with you, the flesh of the young coconut is sooooooo delicious especially in a hot day

  25. Wow, the food looks so yummy! It looks like a great place to visit for sure. I especially liked the coconut shake. Having lived on an Island in Fiji for a few years, I remember how delicious the young coconuts are compared to the more matured ones I had eaten in the US. I would eat the meat of the young coconuts like candy! I can only image how good they are with some of the coconut water and ice cream. 🙂

  26. Hi Habil,
    What an excellent and attractive article! I love the pictures. They make me want to jump inside and taste all of these foods. Malasia is on my bucket list for my next holiday, and when I get there, I will surely stroll among all these stores and taste all the foods that are listed in the article:). Is there a way to download this article so that I can it take it with me and use it as a guideline?
    Thank you very much for this great post!

    • Hi Daniella, I’m glad you find this useful.
      For your query, easier way to do it is to screenshot this page by using your smartphone.
      Otherwise, bookmark this page in your laptop of smart device, then, you can always go back to this site whenever you need the information.

      Thank You

  27. Hello buddy,

    I am from Brunei. Most of them are familiar but bar an exception which is Putu Piring. I’ve never ever seen that before but that again, I had never ever been to the night market in Malaysia. Would love to try when I am flying to Malaysia next month. Kat Putra Jaya ada tak pasar malam yang best?

    • Hi mate..

      Kitani dari malaysia. I’m not familiar with Putrajaya tbh. But what I can tell is surely, every place will have one, you just need ti find it.

      Thank Yo

  28. Food and travel go hand in hand! I can never resist sampling the local cuisine in any of the countries I end up. Street food is a great way to become acquainted with the local culture. I have a friend in Malaysia I’m planning to visit in one of my upcoming trips, and I will look out for your recommendation!

  29. Hi there. Like your article on Malasyan foods to try while in the country. Like it!?
    No, I love it I even started drooling a little.
    My favourtie food is cocount oil, though it is more ingredient than reall food, so I imagine I would like Coconut milkshake. Cant wait to try it one day.

    • Hi Nikola, I am sure you will love that Coconut Shake, but dont wait, you can try making the coconut shake at home, just find the right coconut for it.

      Thanks

  30. Thanks for the interesting article!

    Malaysia is on my top 5 travel destinations list, and the night market is definitely something to see!

    As vegan I’m very interested in the Malaysian food culture – how easy (or difficult) is it for vegan to find delicious dishes either out on the streets or in restaurants?

    • Hi, thank you for dropping your comment.

      I could say it is not that easy, but is is not hard either, there are so many selections, while it is not a common practice for street foods vendor to advertisethe restriction in their food like vegan or vegetarian friendly, you may ask directy, because things like dessert mosty are suitable for vegan, plus the vegetarian culture among indians in Malaysia is also quite a norm.

      Hope it helps, thanks

  31. The Keropok Lekor and Goreng Pisang look amazing, I can’t travel to Malaysia so I’m glad there is a cookbook. The Flavors of Malaysia is on my amazon wish list.
    Thanks

  32. This gave me a glimpse of great foods in Malaysia. I like the fact that you encourage people to explore its culture by actively trying street foods. These foods look so tasty and good. Thank you for this great review.

    • Hi Jonathan, as I said, we can learn so many things about the culture, just from its foods. And street food is one of the way to do it as it is cheap and easy to get.

      Hope you will visit Malaysia soon.

      Thanks

  33. Awesome dishes that are presented above. That banana fritter desert is pretty mouthwatering and is making me hungry right about now. What I love about going to other countries like Malaysia or Thailand is this idea that your going to booths as oppose to a store. I love how passionate people are about making their food and that they bring that passion to America to share it with Americans. I hope I get to visit one day soon so I can try the street food.

    Jessie

    • Hi Jessie,
      There are undoubtedly a lot of food cart vendors especially in Pasar Malam, however, worth to mention that the cafes and restaurant scene in Malaysia is also thriving due to the fact that we love to celebrate our foods here.

      Thanks

  34. I haven’t been to Malaysia for a long time and would love to go after seeing all the food! Particularly I think the coconut shake would be perfect and refreshing in the hot weather!

    • Hi Daniel, yoi are welcome here anytime of the hear mate. Don’t forget to try it when you visit us again later.

      Thanks

  35. I’m so glad I stayed on your site and found this other post to learn more about Malaysia. This is great to know what foods to look for. I love having street food and all the ones you’ve listed look so delicious. Is the cost good there for street food and is it safe (clean) to eat from these carts?

    Thanks again!
    Grace

    • Ho Grace, thank you for your comment. Tips for choosing good street food and the safe on – to look for the longest queue, I will not say that every carts are clean, you have to judge it yourself though.

      Thanks

  36. I am not familiar with Malaysian cuisine, so thank you for putting this list of street food one can find locally. I love coconut, so the coconut shake in the photo, drew me in! 😀

    The Putu Piring looks similar to our Puto, steamed rice cake. 🙂 It is true, one learns a lot about a country through food, and I often blog about that on my food page. Thanks for sharing a wonderful food list.

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