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70+ Food Terms In Malay: Exclusive Guide

June 8, 2022
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If you've ever tried Malay food, then you know that it's something special. In fact, arguably, Asian countries have some of the best food, from Chinese food to Indian food. But, knowing what's actually in your food will allow you to appreciate the dish even more than before. That's why you should learn Malay and 70+ great food terms in Malay!

The next time you visit a food stall to order your favorite noodle dish, chicken curry, or grilled chicken, wouldn't you love to be able to communicate with the merchant? Once you learn this vocabulary about food/food ingredients in Malay, order will be a breeze! Who knows, maybe the merchant will even ask you to be their assistant!

We have 70+ excellent food vocabulary terms and ingredients to teach you, but before all that, let's go over a couple of common misconceptions and some key features of Malay food!

 

Where Is Malay Cuisine Served?

This is a commonly asked question regarding Malay cuisine, so let's clear up any confusion and misconceptions now! Below is a list of the places where you can find Malay cuisine served:

  • Southern Thailand
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Indonesia
  • Brunei
  • Philippines
  • Sri Lanka
  • South Africa
  • Cocos Island (external territory of Australia)
  • Christmas Island (external territory of Australia)

As you can see from our list, Malay cuisine can be found in many other Asian countries! However, for the purpose of this blog post, we'll be referring to the common Malay dishes found in Malaysia, specifically peninsular Malaysia.

Where Is Malaysia?

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country that borders Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia.

The country has a bustling capital city, known as Kuala Lumpur, and a population of over 32 million people.

The official language of Malaysia is Malaysian, which is a standard form of the Malay language.

 

Key Features Of Malay Food

Food Vocabulary Terms And Ingredients In Malay

Now that you have a little background on Malay cuisine and Malaysia, let's start talking about the most exciting part - the food!

Every country prepares and cooks its food in different ways. Some countries might bake most of their dishes, while another country grills theirs over a fire! Different countries also use different ingredients, depending on the weather in that particular country and the long-standing cooking traditions.

Preparing food in Malaysia is characterized by lots and lots of spices! So, please make sure that if you aren't a fan of spicy food or can't handle spicy food, you should ask the merchant to lower the spice level when you order!

In addition to spices, Malaysian dishes often use coconut milk (santan), shrimp paste (belacan), lemongrass (serai), galangal (lengkuas), and, of course, steamed rice (nasi). These ingredients are all staples of Malaysian food culture and they are what make Malaysian cuisine and Malay dishes so delicious.

Not to mention, the more traditional food, particularly Malay desserts, are just as delicious. When it comes to local cooking, once you take one bite, you won't be able to stop eating!

 

Food Terms In Malay To Know

Food Vocabulary Terms And Ingredients In Malay

It's time to take a look at food terms in Malay you must know!

  1. ais kachang - shaved ice
  2. apam balik - peanut pancake
  3. asam pedas - sour and spicy fish stew
  4. ayam percik - spicy roasted chicken
  5. bak kut teh - pork ribs in broth
  6. bubur- Rice porridge
  7. cendawan goreng - crispy mushroom
  8. char kuey teow - fried flat noodles
  9. hokkien char mee - stir fried noodles
  10. ikan bakar - charcoal grilled fish
  11. ketupat- rice cake packed inside a palm leaf
  12. kuih -bite sized desserts or snacks
  13. laksa - spicy noodle soup
  14. mee goreng mamak - mamak style stir fried noodles
  15. murtabak - spicy folded omelet pancake
  16. nasi goreng kampung - fried rice
  17. nasi kandar- steamed rice usually served with a variety of curries or sides
  18. nasi kerabu - butterfly pea rice served with fried chicken or dried fish
  19. nasi lemak - coconut rice usually served with a variety of sides
  20. popia basah - fresh spring rolls
  21. Rendang-caramelized meat
  22. Roti canai - deep fried dough
  23. sambal udang - prawns in chili paste
  24. satay - seasoned, skewered and grilled meat
  25. wonton mee - wonton noodle soup
  26. yong tau foo- fish and/or meat paste stuffed in tofu
  27. you char kuay - Chinese doughnut

Now that you've learned some food vocabulary terms, let's move on to important food ingredients in Malay. By the way, are you getting hungry yet?

 

Important Food Ingredients In Malay

Food Vocabulary Terms And Ingredients In Malay

Here are the most important food ingredients to remember in Malay!

  1. Bamboo shoots - rebung
  2. Banana leaves - daun pisang
  3. Bean sprouts - taugeh
  4. Beef - daging lembu
  5. Boiled egg - telur rebus
  6. Chicken - ayam
  7. Chili - cili api
  8. Chili paste - pes cili
  9. Chili sauce - sos cili
  10. Cilantro - ketumbar
  11. Cinnamon sticks - batang kayu manis
  12. Cloves - bunga cengkih
  13. Coconut cream - krim kelapa
  14. Coconut milk - santan
  15. Cucumber - timun
  16. Dried fish - ikan kering
  17. Dried shrimp - udang kering
  18. Egg - telur
  19. Fish - ikan
  20. Fish sauce - sos ikan
  21. Galangal - lengkuas
  22. Garlic - bawang putih
  23. Ginger - halia
  24. Glutinous rice/Sticky rice - nasi pulut
  25. Green onions - bawang hijau
  26. Hot sauce - sos panas
  27. Kaffir lime - limau purut
  28. Lemongrass - serai
  29. Lime juice - jus limau
  30. Minced meat - daging cincang
  31. Nutmeg - buah pala
  32. Onion - bawang besar
  33. Oyster sauce - sos tiram
  34. Palm sugar - gula melaka
  35. Pork - daging babi
  36. Pandan leaves - daun pandan
  37. Raw egg - telur mentah
  38. Rice flour - tepung beras
  39. Sesame seeds - bijan
  40. Shallot - bawang merah
  41. Shrimp - udang
  42. Shrimp paste - belacan
  43. Soy sauce - sos soya
  44. Star anise - bunga lawang
  45. Steamed rice - nasi kukus
  46. Squid - sotong
  47. Tamarind - asam jawa
  48. Tamarind juice - air asam jawa
  49. Turmeric powder - serbuk kunyit
  50. Vermicelli noodles - mee bihun
  51. White rice - nasi putih
  52. Yellow noodles - mee kuning

Now that you've learned 70+ food terms in Malay, it's time that you go out and practice these with the next merchant you come across!

 

Still Craving To Learn More Malay?

Food Vocabulary Terms And Ingredients In Malay

Have all these food vocabulary terms, and food ingredients made you want to learn more about Malay? If so, we have the perfect app to satisfy your craving!

The Ling App is a language learning app specifically designed to teach you a new language in the most effective way possible. Find out some key features of the app below:

  • Daily lessons that make learning engaging
  • Relevant vocabulary that can be used in real-life conversations
  • Ability to practice writing in real-time
  • Instant feedback on your pronunciation via an interactive AI chatbot
  • Friendly customer support team available if you have any issues
  • Available in the App Store, Google Play, and desktop version

These are just a few of the great features that Ling offers. If you want to learn more about a specific language, you can always go to Ling's free language blog for additional resources. For example, Ling has some great posts on Malaysian culture.

Whether you want to continue learning about the beautiful Malay language or start learning a new language altogether - Ling can help you get there!

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