Makan Time! – Traditional Breakfast in Malaysia

By July 10, 2019 November 19th, 2019 Food

Malaysians are all about the food. So trust me when I say, breakfast is not limited to only bread, cereal and crackers. Here, we can even indulge ourselves in rice and noodles as early as 6 am. What are you waiting for? Let’s have breakfast like a local. There is a variety of food for us to choose from. For example, Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Dim Sum, Noodles, Soft-boiled eggs with Kaya Toast, Buns, Pastries, Kuihs. Let’s get started.

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak is a Malay fragrant rice dish steamed in coconut milk and pandan leaf. This is considered to be one of Malaysia’s national dishes. It is also a native dish in neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Brunei and even Thailand. Traditionally, Nasi lemak is served alongside sambal, ikan bilis (anchovies), peanuts and a boiled egg. There are different kinds of sambal that can be served with this dish such as Sambal Squid, Sambal Fish, chicken, or even chicken/beef rendang. This dish can be eaten at any time of the day, be it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner and even during supper.


Roti Canai

Roti Canai is an Indian-influenced flatbread dish found in several countries of Southeast Asia. This includes Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Singapore. The Roti Canai is usually served with dai or other kinds of curry. Besides that, it can also be served with sardines, meat, egg or even cheese. This dish is one of the most popular breakfasts/snack dish in Malaysia and it is also one of the most well-known dishes of Malaysian Indian cuisine. Plain Roti or Roti Kosong, is often referred to as empty bread. Order this if you don’t feel like having it with any side dishes or fillings. Roti Canai is also always accompanied by a curry of your choice for dipping.

Dim Sum

Dim Sum is a Chinese dish of small dumplings, either steamed or fried, containing various kinds of fillings. Types of Dim Sum include (but not limited to) Shaomai, Baozi, Rice Noodle Roll, Turnip Cake and steamed Spare Ribs. In Malaysia, there is even a halal-certified dim sum available (chicken replacing pork components). Halal Dim Sum caters to everyone and is very popular in Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. Instant Dim Sum has also come on board to the markets of Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia. That means even you can enjoy snacking on some Dim Sum from the comfort of your own home, as it is available in major grocery stores.

The "Perfect" Combination

This is the perfect combination to start off your morning. Soft-boiled eggs and Kaya Toast. Kaya is a sticky, slime-coloured coconut custard jam. You can also season your egg with soy sauce, pepper and salt, the way you like it. This is complemented with a toasted Kaya Toast with butter in the centre. A simple but gold breakfast is a go-to. You can either eat it separately or dip your toast in the soft-boiled egg. A cup of coffee, tea or milo would also be great with this staple dish.

The "Cultured" Bites

If you don’t feel like having anything heavy in the morning, another go-to option would be buns, pastries and kuihs. An example would be steamed bun (Pau), it comes in many different fillings such as chicken, pork, red bean (taosa). Besides this, you could also try some local pastry or Kuih such as Curry Puff, Kuih Lapis, Ondeh-Ondeh etc. Curry puff is a crispy puff with curry filling that comes with potatoes and sometimes even chicken. Kuih Lapis is a colour-layered pudding made of rice flour, sago and coconut milk. This can also be flavoured with Pandan. Ondeh-Ondeh is a pandan-infused glutinous rice batter which is filled with gula Melaka. It is rolled into balls and covered in grated coconut. This little treat pops in your mouth with syrupy sweetness.


Now, you must be wondering, “Where can I get my hands on such yummy food?” Don’t worry. I got you 😉

  • Any Local Restaurants (Kuih, Nasi Lemak, Mee/Maggi Goreng, Soft Boiled Egg w/Kaya)
  • You may find Dim Sum / Pau from Chinese Restaurants
  • Mamak (Roti Canai / Mee/Maggi Goreng/Soft Boiled Egg w/Kaya)


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