You might not think of Malaysia as a hotbed for Indian cuisine, but any respectable foodie will love the Malaysian take on the subcontinent’s dishes. Malaysian Indian food make up the most popular restaurant choices in Penang and Kuala Lumpur, enhancing the local food scene with their liberal use of fragrant spices and curries along with healthy vegetarian options.
Perhaps the most common Malaysian Indian food, nasi kandar is simple and delicious. You get a choice of meat, fried chicken, vegetables, or seafood on white rice; several small scoops of different rich curries are then added on top. A green vegetable can be added on the side. The most popular choices found in Mamak stalls are chicken, fish, prawns, squid, beef, and mutton; pork is never served.
The Malaysian Indian food answer for noodles, mee goreng is simply stir-fried yellow noodles served with diced potatoes, bean sprouts, and chilies. The gravy is made from tomato puree with a squeeze of lime to balance the sweetness. Some places add crushed peanuts on top.
Murtabak is a small, delicious sandwich of curried meat or vegetables between two pieces of chewy roti canai. Like all bread snacks, murtabak is served with rich lentil and dhall dipping sauces.
Offered as a pricier upgrade from white rice, nasi biryani is a yellow rice packed with complex flavors. Cumin, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, and a staggering arsenal of other pungent spices create a unique taste that will have you hooked on the first bite.
Much like a Mexican tortilla, chapati is a thin wrap made from whole wheat flour cooked on a flat surface. Chapati is usually made to order and is stuffed with your choice of meat or vegetables in curry sauce. Chapati is a delicious, healthy choice for vegetarians.
Sometimes spelled as "thosai", dosa is a South Indian dish thought to be over 900 years old. A thin crepe made from pounded rice and lentils is fried golden-brown on one side only, then folded around meat or vegetables. Dosa is a good Malaysian Indian food choice for people with wheat allergies.