Malaysian Street Food
Wander, Wonder, Write

Malaysian Street Art, Street Food, and More

Daniel and I came to Malaysia twice this year. First during Chinese New Year at the end of January, when all the Chinese street food vendors and restaurants were closed. And once in April during Ramadan, when the terraces were empty during the day and teeming with life after sunset. 

Malaysian Street Food

During both short visits, we ate our way through the menu. We tasted all the classic dishes, from Assam Laksa (a spicy tangy noodle soup) to Char Kway Kak (rice cakes mixed with 101 ingredients in a charcoal fired wok). From Popiah (savory rolled pancakes) to Nasi Kandar (rice with your choice of curries, sauces, and toppings). And from Rojak (tropical fruit & vegetable salad with a sweet-spicy dressing) to cendol (green jelly in coconut milk with sweetened red beans). The lead picture is proof that we tried to stay healthy by also ordering one of the many leafy green veggies on offer. Yes, there are endless things to see in Malaysia—temples! rain forests! crumbling façades!—but it’s worth visiting this country for the food alone. 

Malaysian Street Art

The same is true for the kind people you meet, the humbling trees, the butterflies that land on your hand, and the stunning street art. 

Many streets in Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, and Penang (to name just the three cities we visited) are alive with murals that represent the multicultural tapestry of Malaysia. Wherever you go, you encounter bold expressions of the country’s history and its current dreams and imagination. I was most impressed by the colorful portraits of artisans, playing children, and people going about their lives. The paintings are exquisitely done and sometimes incorporate 3D objects on the street, such as parked bicycles or an old hairdresser’s chair. Often, it’s irresistible to pose with Malaysian street art—I won’t apologize. 

I’m writing in more detail about our adventures for a travel essay. For now I’ll leave you with this: Malaysia is a feast for the senses and definitely worth your time. 

More? You can read about how Daniel and I began our traveling in 2019 or about my one favorite place in Palermo.