I See. I Like. I Blog.
2014 is the official Visit Malaysia Year.
As a proud citizen, I thought I’d do my bit by introducing to would-be visitors, the nation’s favorite pastime ~ Eating!
Yep, we Malaysians live to eat, and we love having guests around to show off our ‘makan’ places.
But be warned, Malaysians don’t just want to serve you food, we want to make sure you’re well-fed!
Enter the ubiquitous Mamak.
The Mamak refers to the food establishment run by Indian Muslims (these guys are fondly known as “mamak”), and is a popular hang-out for the average Malaysians, young and old.
Mamak food is plain but tasty, and relatively inexpensive; the atmosphere, casual and unpretentious. The scene can be chaotic at times tho, with the over-enthused all-male waiters calling out the orders to the cooks before going to the next customer. That’s just the way the mamak fellas are – loud and excitable!
Almost every Mamak shop operates 24/7, and provides free entertainment in the form of cable TVs, making it the mecca for football and badminton-crazy Malaysians to watch the matches on the big screens. Just order a glass of teh tarik and the mamak will let you sit in, with no cover charge!
What to order at the Mamak? The menu is a mile long, you’ll be spoilt for choice. But it’s the evergreen Roti Canai and Teh Tarik combo that draws in the crowd – the must-have items on the menu in every Mamak shop. A Mamak without roti canai and teh tarik is like a pizzeria without the pizzas! People usually have them for breakfast, but they’re available round the clock. Think of it as the make or break dish; if not done right, customers won’t come!
A roti should be soft, light and crispy around the edges. It’s usually eaten with curry, sambal or dhal; the spicier the better. Wash it down afterwards with a glass of hot Teh Tarik – frothy, strong tea mixed with condensed milk. Sinfully delicious!
Want to try something ‘heavier’, go for the mee or maggi goreng (fried noodles), briyani rice, and fish head curry.
So, next time you’re in Malaysia and want to savor a true-blue Malaysian “makan” experience, head on down to the nearest Mamak.
You can’t say you’ve visited Malaysia until you Do the Mamak!
“Makan” is eating in Bahasa Malaysia (or the National Language)
Roti Canai [pronounced as char-nigh] is a flat bread made of wheat flour, eggs and margarine.
The name Teh Tarik or “pulled tea” comes from the process of pouring the tea from a height into another container and is done 3, 4 times to cool the tea for optimum enjoyment [video].
The Indian Muslims a.k.a mamaks came to Malaysia from India a very long time ago. Today, this community forms an integral part in Malaysia’s cultural melting pot.
Malaysia is in Lonely Planet’s List of Top Ten Countries To Visit 2014.