Essay about Malaysia Food
Malaysia is a place of living for many nationalities and ethnic groups. Indian and Chinese immigrants brought to Malaysia their culture and cuisine traditions, whereas Europeans added West features to traditionally East heritage. Heavy traffic facilitates the access to various recipes and spices from different countries. The trade traditions and multicultural population make the nature of Malaysian cuisine ample and unique. The country is divided into 16 territories with cultural distinction for each of them. Each region has 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 we have an original mix of local and foreign culinary arts. Spicy and original food of Malaysia cannot be found anywhere else in the world, and it combines the East and West taste traditions and ingredients, making it unique and delicious.
Malaysian cuisine is popular among the tourists for original fusion food and variety of tastes. Sometimes it combines unconnected ingredients and obtain unusual gustatory delights. 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 we use Indian cooking techniques to prepare it. Indian spices provide the original taste for traditional Chinese prawns or Thai noodles. Lots of chili, garlic, limes and ginger make the aroma for 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 as an ingredient for meat or chicken dishes. It is usually one of the main ingredients for food marinated for barbecue and often used in desserts. Fish also plays an important part in the Malay food traditions. It is related to the position of the country 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 for many dishes, especially for rice, which is the component of many traditional Malay and Chinese recipes. As to the 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 intensive life. Fast food services become popular too. To promote Malaysian food among the 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 for foreign representatives, to attract more tourists and to introduce the Malaysian traditions on the international arena.
Traditionally for the wedding celebration a rice dish Nasi Minyak is served. Nasi Minyak or oil rice is 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 combine rich taste and unique flavor, which together with cardamon and cinnamon symbolizes the rich life for 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. We need to add butter to Basmathi rice, coconut milk, ginger and spices. The spices give the peculiar aroma for the dish. The rice becomes yellow, red or orange depends on the coloring you use for it. In order to avoid the nauseated taste, we 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 flavor rich and taste original. More chili paper makes it spicy. Ghee, milk and other ingredients make the dish quite heavy and perfect for celebrations like wedding dinner or New Year. However, the dish can be prepared for celebrations, as well as for the everyday meal.
As for the desserts, few traditional dishes are usually served. Sirap Bandung, Kuih Koci, Kuih talam or Sago gula melaka can be cooked. Desserts always symbolize sweet life for the family, so they are obvious for family celebrations like weddings or anniversaries. Sago gula or sago pudding is a traditionally local Malay food. It is served for almost every wedding celebration. Since it has the average fat content and a low density of Sodium Sago gula is suitable for healthy diet. The dish becomes favorite dessert for many Malaysians.
Sago gula dessert has the texture of chewy pearl 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-base; 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 fluted mould to make it look more impressive or can be divided into the 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. The combination of food traditions from different continents provides original and various culinary heritages. Even traditional Malaysian occasions such as weddings, festivals and other celebrations present the variety of traditions and rich cuisine. The food of Malaysia is distinguished by the variation of the species used and original taste combinations promoted. Being multinational it has been adapted to satisfy the taste of own culture. 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 particular Malaysian manner. Malaysian cuisine heritage is unique and differs from the culinary traditions of any other country.