Essay about Malaysia Food
Traditional Food in Malaysia Essay
Malaysia is home to many ethnic groups and nationalities. Indian and Chinese immigrants brought to Malaysia their culture and cuisine traditions, whereas Europeans added West features to traditionally East heritage. The trade traditions and multicultural population make the nature of Malaysian cuisine diverse and unique. Heavy traffic facilitates access to various recipes and spices from different countries. The country is divided into 16 territories each of which has its own cultural characteristics. Each region has its own traditions and cuisine as a result of immigration and colonization. Over time the traditions of their cooking assimilated with Malaysian food traditions and for now, there is an original mix of local and foreign culinary arts. The spicy and original food of Malaysia cannot be found anywhere else in the world, it combines the taste traditions and ingredients of the East and West, which makes it unique and delicious.
Malaysian cuisine is popular with tourists for its original food mix and variety of flavors. Sometimes it disparate ingredients to create an unusual taste experience. Reinventions of some traditional dishes emphasize the originality of food habits. Chinese noodles, Thai stir-fries, and Indian curry dishes live harmoniously together. Chinese tofu, soy sauce, or dried mushrooms can be beautifully combined with Malay herbs and spices. The most famous Roti Canai became the main Indian contribution to experimental Malay cuisine. Native Malay Baba Nyonya is served with Chinese flavors, and Indian cooking techniques are used to prepare it. Indian spices provide the original taste for traditional Chinese prawns or Thai noodles. Lots of chili peppers, garlic, lime, and ginger add flavor to vegetables in almost every dish. Sweet meat dishes can challenge our eating habits the same as savory desserts or crabs fried with black pepper, chilies, and curry leaves.
Coconut milk is often added to meat or chicken dishes. It is usually one of the main ingredients in barbecue marinades. It is also often used in desserts. Fish also plays an important part in the Malay food traditions. This is due to the country's geographic location and free access to the sea. Fresh fish, crabs, and lobsters are often used in traditional Malay dishes. Ikan bilis (tiny dried anchovies) are very popular to be added for flavor as well as dried prawns. Belachan (dried prawn paste) is used to give extra flavor to many dishes, especially rice, which is the component of many traditional Malay and Chinese recipes. In terms of cooking methods, Malaysians use pan-frying, deep-frying, boiling, steaming and grilling. Different methods are due to various habits and food traditions of the citizens. Nowadays, street food is becoming popular in Malaysia as a result of intense life. Fast food services become popular too. To promote Malaysian food among foreigners and gain the popularity of visitors some festivals and regular events are held. Among the most common events are the tea party, food festivals, or bright weddings ceremonies. Some of them are held by embassies as an entertainment shows. The main point of such events is to present the country to foreign representatives, attract more tourists, and introduce Malaysian traditions in the international arena.
Traditionally for the wedding celebration a rice dish Nasi Minyak is served. Nasi Minyak, or oil rice, is the food of Palembang. According to the legend it was served on Fridays. Meanwhile, it is one of the main dishes for the wedding celebration in Malaysia. Traditional Chinese rice with Indian species combines rich taste and unique flavor, which together with cardamon and cinnamon symbolizes the rich life for the new family. Usually, it is eaten with chicken and chilies or curry. Vegetarians can eat the dish with vegetable adding.
Nasi Minyak is not difficult to cook. One needs to add butter to Basmathi rice, coconut milk, ginger and spices. The spices give a peculiar aroma to the dish. The rice becomes yellow, red, or orange depending on the coloring you use for it. In order to avoid the nauseating taste, one can add pickled cucumber, pineapple sauce, prawn crackers, and fried onions. Pandan leaves, shallots, and star anise can be also added traditionally. All the species make the dish taste rich and original. More chili paper makes it spicy. Ghee, milk and other ingredients make the dish quite nourishing and perfect for celebrations like wedding dinner or New Year. However, the dish can be a part of an everyday meal, too.
As for the desserts, there are usually some traditional dishes served here. Sirap Bandung, Kuih Kochi, Kuih talam or Sago gula melaka can be cooked. Desserts have always symbolized the sweet life of the family, which is why they are often served at family celebrations such as weddings or anniversaries. Sago gula or sago pudding is a traditional local Malay food. It is served at almost every wedding celebration. Since it has an average fat content and a low density of sodium Sago gula is suitable for a healthy diet. The dish is a favorite dessert for many Malaysians.
Sago gula dessert has the texture of chewy pearl sago in combination with sweet palm sugar (gula melaka) and coconut milk. One more ingredient for the dish is pandan leaves. All the components are plant-based; hereby the dish is suitable for vegetarians as well. White dessert with the caramel syrup of chocolate color contains little protein or minerals. It can be prepared in the fluted mold to make it look more impressive or can be divided into small portions for every separate person. The pudding is easy to cook and it takes from 30 minutes to an hour (for an inexperienced cook) to prepare it. The dish is often served for different celebrations as well as an everyday dessert.
The history and geographical position of Malaysia promotes the cross-cultural connections between different nations within definite territory. Diverse ethnic groups brought various features to the culture and traditions of the country. As for the culture food in Malaysia, the combination of food traditions from different continents has shaped an original culinary heritage. Even traditional Malaysian occasions such as weddings, festivals and other celebrations present the variety of traditions and rich cuisine. Malaysian food is distinguished by the variety of spices used and the original taste combinations promoted. Being multinational it has been adapted to satisfy the taste of Malaysian people. Active trade can bring more new tastes and recipes from different parts of the world, but, for sure, the new dishes will be modified, in Malaysian way. Malaysian cuisine heritage is unique and differs from the culinary traditions of any other country.