Our Favourite Noodle Dishes By Region
Happy Malaysia Day! Like us, you probably enjoy utilizing weekends to take a drive out either to Ipoh, Penang, or southward to Johor to gorge on famous local delicacies. Food hunting is one of the many privileges we enjoy as Malaysians as we are spoilt for choice. It is quite difficult to categorize particular foods as ‘the best’ (pretty much everything we eat is ‘best’), so we narrowed it down to our favourite noodle dishes by region.
Northern Peninsula: Penang Asam Laksa
We’re well aware of how seriously Penangites take their food, especially when it comes to noodles – so after much deliberation, we settled on Asam Laksa as our pick due to its wide-reaching audience and cross-cultural roots. Believed to have evolved over many generations of Peranakan Nyonya (Malay-Chinese) influence, this dish generally consists of rice noodles, vegetables, and shredded fish nestled in an uber-flavourful fish broth. The fish broth is made from spices, lemongrass, and tamarind peel which gives this dish its distinctive taste that leaves you dreaming about it for days afterwards. Add a mound of fresh vegetables, herbs, prawn paste, and a generous squeeze of fresh lime and you have the quintessential Malaysian treat. Locals of all races and international food enthusiasts travel from far and wide to Penang for a bowl of this zesty slurp-explosion.
Central Peninsula: Ipoh Hor Fun
Malaysian comfort food at its best; picture yourself in a tank top and short pants enjoying a steaming bowl of noodles while sipping on a cup of teh panas (hot tea). Your food trip is not complete until you’ve tasted the magic of kai see hor fun, known to many simply as Ipoh Hor Fun. The charming dish mainly consists of flat rice noodles in a prawn and chicken broth, topped with shredded chicken, sprouts, and sliced prawns. Be prepared to line up because this savoury soup tends to run out in a flash (go early!). There are many hawkers that have become famous for their soup, some with clear broths and others that are thick and creamy – but all of them offer quality versions of this heritage dish. Well worth a trip to the laid-back food haven town of Ipoh, Perak. Almost all hor fun stalls stand next to a decent Ipoh Chicken Rice stall, so make sure you get some of that too!
Southern Peninsula: Johor Beef Noodles
Move aside Vietnamese noodles, pho Johor Beef Noodles is here to rule the roost. Many Malaysians look forward to taking a trip down south Peninsula for a wholesome bowl of beef noodles. Signature versions of this dish include chewy, tender cuts of beef sitting on a pool of rice noodle soup, sometimes accompanied by omasum (stomach), tripe, and beef tendons, along with chopped vegetables. What gives this dish its unforgettable hearty taste is the special beef broth, cooked for hours in beef bone and herbs. If you haven’t already, be sure to get some beefore they run out (safer to go before lunch time).
East Malaysia: Sarawakian Kolo Mee
The pride and joy of Sarawakian natives, Kolo Mee is quickly becoming an international star as word of its deliciousness has spread through Asian food courts in London, Melbourne, and other major cities. Kolo Mee looks very much like Wan Tan Mee, another local favourite, but it is often regarded as less salty and offers a combination of both minced and barbeque marinated meat. Non-halal versions are also available which are known as ‘Mee Kolok’ or ‘Mee Sapi’. If you can’t find a Kolo Mee stall near you, it is a great idea to take a trip down to beautiful Sarawak and enjoy it just the way the locals do.
Fancy your very own bowl of noodles? You could save a trip and try cooking it at home! We’ve sourced the finest local ingredients that are ready and waiting at Malaya Kitchen, so drop by B.I.G. to gather everything you need. In the spirit of Malaysia Day, we wish you happy cooking!
Experience a complete grocery adventure through our impressive array of specialised ingredients and gourmet products at Ben’s Independent Grocer today!