There is no better morning than one that starts with good food. An authentic Malaysian breakfast menu is packed with sweet, spicy, and savory dishes that draw vast influence from Indonesian and Chinese dishes. I’m not exaggerating when I say breakfast in Malaysia is the best food you’ll ever eat.
It is universally acknowledged that a lovely man who has great hunger must want a tasty, delicious, and fulfilling breakfast.
So let me tell you about some of the best traditional Malaysian breakfasts you can make yourself or buy in the streets of Malaysia. Let’s go and find your new favorites!
Typical Malaysian Breakfast: Childhood Dishes
Kaya Toast Paired With Soft Boiled Egg
One of the most popular breakfasts in Malaysia is Kaya toast. The bread used for Kaya toast can be cooked differently; you can toast it on a grill, or pan, or steam it.
The highlight here is the Kaya jam, a sweet coconut jam with butter. This tasty gooey goodness enhances the flavor and goes so well with the crispy (or fluffy, if you steam it) bread and creamy butter. Kaya jam is one of the most popular breakfast ingredients in Malaysia and Singapore.
This typical Malaysian breakfast set is mostly accompanied by soft-boiled eggs spiced with soy sauce and pepper. The sweet and savory flavor goes perfectly with Malaysian coffee.
Roti Canai (The Unofficial National Bread)
Breakfast in Malaysia is also popular because of its simplicity. Roti Canai was ranked as the best street food in the world in 2022. While it has an Indian name and always gets mistaken for Indian bread, it is genuinely from Malaysia.
Roti Canai is a flat pan-fried bread that is folded in half. It has a layered texture and is very fragrant. It is flaky and crispy on the outside but soft on the inside.
This Malaysian breakfast food is often served with a creamy and spicy curry sauce for dipping and more flavor. Simple, yes; but so delicious.
Dim Sum Dishes
Steamed buns filled with beef, chicken, pork, prawns, and vegetables are typical Malaysian breakfast foods with Chinese origins. Generally referred to under the category of “Dim Sum”, these buns can be in the form of kneaded rice dough or wrapped in a rice wrapper.
This mouth-watering Malaysian breakfast food is served in small-sized portions and placed in a bamboo basket. It is fluffy, smoky, and flavorful. It is so soft that it just melts in your mouth. You can even dip it in soy sauce or chili sauce.
Just beware, some higher-end restaurants serve them in such cute presentations that you might not even get yourself to eat them. But you will certainly get photos for your social media!
Apam Balik (Malaysian Pancake)
Like Roti Canai, Apam Balik is a popular Malaysian food. You will find that it is always sold in night markets, but is also famous for breakfast in Malaysia.
Apam Balik is a pancake folded in half with delicious filling in between the soft layers. There are often a variety of fillings available, such as sweet corn, crushed peanuts, grated cheese, sesame, or condensed milk, so you can try a few different ones.
Overall, Apam Balik has a rather nutty flavor with a sweet taste, and best of all, they are always very affordable.
Yong Tau Foo (Stuffed Tau Foo)
Yong Tau Foo is for you if you want something healthy and filling in the morning. This is quite widely available since it is good for any meal, and you can find it in the streets of Malaysia.
Yong Tau Foo can be seen in many different forms. It can be filled with vegetables such as bitter gourd, okra, peppers, eggplant, or mushroom. The fillings can be a meat mixture or fish paste. You can also order it in soup or ‘dry’ with the soup served separately.
This healthy Malaysian breakfast can be dipped in soy sauce, chicken powder, sugar, or oyster sauce for more flavor. Breakfast in Malaysia offers lots of different options for variety.
Traditional Rice Dishes For Malaysian Breakfast
If you know you will have a long day, these heavy Malaysian breakfast foods are for you. They will fuel you up and keep you energized. Breakfast in Malaysia has numerous dishes that are paired with rice.
Nasi Lemak is often considered the national dish of Malaysia. Regularly consumed for breakfast, this dish is cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf, giving it an iconic rich flavor and fragrant aroma.
Breakfast in Malaysia like this is commonly served with roasted peanuts, eggs, ikan bilis (anchovies), and sliced cucumber. This is the favorite breakfast for students because it is so convenient to eat even if you’re walking.
Nasi Lemak is served in banana leaves and wrapped in paper. You can buy it from many street vendors in Malaysia.
This fried rice dish from Indonesia is also widely enjoyed for breakfast in Malaysia. It is prepared in a charcoal wok to give it that intense flavor. If you ever visit street markets, you’ll love seeing hawkers cook this; also, pay attention to how you can smell the spice just oozing out.
There is good reason why this is an immensely popular Malay breakfast, or any meal for that matter. The dish is often topped with cucumber, tomato, sunny-side-up eggs, and green onions. Nasi Goreng is such a good pair with chicken satay and a mango shake.
Congee is a straightforward Malaysian breakfast food. It is cooked with pandan leaves, so it is very aromatic. This is definitely for you if you want a light breakfast.
Congee is often the go-to food when recovering from cold or other illness. This is because it is light on the stomach and also helps to hydrate you.
This refreshing breakfast also provides some added health benefits. It provides protective antioxidants and can reduce constipation.
In addition, it serves as a good base to pair with other side dishes like preserved vegetables, minced meat or other foods.
Fulfilling Stews For Malaysian Breakfast
Chicken Curry With Rice
Packed with nutrients such as iron, vitamin C, vitamin B, zinc, and fiber, this is a fulfilling and hearty dish for breakfast in Malaysia. The curry has a vast, harmonious, and creamy flavor that just goes perfectly with fragrant white rice. It has a hint of sweetness from spices like cardamom.
This Malay breakfast also smells heavenly. Eating it in banana leaves with your bare hands like some locals do just makes it more delicious.
An all-time favorite Malaysian breakfast food, beef rendang is an immensely flavorful dish that requires quite a preparation. However, it’s usually available in Muslim or Indian restaurants due to its popularity.
Its cooking time differs based on the meat you’ll use. If you use buffalo cow, you’ll have to cook it for eight hours. If you use cow meat, you’ll only cook it for 4 hours. Fun and proud fact of Malaysia, this is rated as the best dish in the world by CNN.
The meat is tender, thick, and soft with a spicy, creamy sauce that goes well with rice. From the intense flavor to the post-meal satisfaction, this dish serves as such a great perk-me-up for breakfast in Malaysia.
Delish Ayam (Chicken) Dishes For Breakfast In Malaysia
Ayam Goreng (Fried Chicken)
Ayam Goreng is an Indonesian and Malaysian fried chicken dish. This is a straightforward and pretty hearty dish for breakfast in Malaysia. But come on, who can resist a juicy piece of fried chicken.
A well made Ayam Goreng is full of flavor and is spicy. The skin is crispy and crunchy, while the inside is succulent and tender. Sinful, yes but oh so good.
Ayam Goreng can be served with rice, tofu, or sambal terasi. It is a very fragrant and popular street food in Malaysia.
Ayam Kebab (Chicken Tortilla)
In English, ayam kebab means chicken tortilla. As the name suggests, it is a Malaysian breakfast food wrapped in a tortilla wrapper. The tortilla is filled with grilled chicken, lettuce, cabbage, tomato, parsley, and onion.
This dish has a crunchy texture because of the toasted tortilla that wraps the stuffings. You can sometimes even hear the cracks when you eat it. That’s part of what makes it so enjoyable, in addition to the convenience of it.
Hainanese Chicken Rice
This Malaysian breakfast food looks bland, but don’t let your eyes fool you. It’s actually a delicious, flavorful delicacy with a lovely aroma.
The dish is boiled in spices, and its broth is used to cook the rice with pandan leaf. Hainanese Chicken can be dipped in soy sauce, chicken oil, or shallot sauce for extra flavor.
Ayam Percik (Roasted Chicken)
Ayam Percik is a Malaysian twist on roasted chicken. It is marinated with flavorful spices and coated with coconut milk. It is very aromatic, and the smell will seduce you into taking a bite. This Malaysian breakfast food has a savory, tangy, and spicy flavor.
Ayam Percik is a well-marinated breakfast in Malaysia that is often dipped in gravy and served with rice.
Soups And Noodles For Breakfast In Malaysia
Char Kway Teow (Flat Rice Noodles)
Char Kway Teow is a Malaysian Breakfast food that can be seen on almost all of the streets in Malaysia. It translates to flat rice noodles. The noodles are cooked in a charcoal wok and mixed with bean sprouts that add crispness to the dish.
Char Kway Teow is often seasoned with soy sauce and can be spicy. It is remarkably cheap and goes well with Milo Ice.
Malay Mee Goreng
Also a stir-fried noodle dish, Malay Mee Goreng is one of the easiest breakfast dishes in Malaysia to cook. It has pork belly, egg, shrimp, fish cakes and veggies.
This Malay breakfast has a sweet, spicy, and savory flavor. The noodles are very chewy and go very well with rice. Serve it with a hot green tea for a refreshing start to your day!
Bak Kut Teh
The next in our Malaysian breakfast menu has a yummy broth. Bak Kut Teh is the perfect breakfast in Malaysia for cold weather.
This pork rib soup originated in the 1920s. It is a tried and trusted hot soup that has kept many generations warm. It includes fragrant spices such as garlic cloves, cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, and coriander.
This Malay breakfast can also be eaten with rice.
Curry Laksa is one of the most famous noodle dishes in Malaysia. It is intensely flavored and fragrant. This Malay breakfast noodle has a spicy curry-based broth with a bit of sweet and sour. The broth is very creamy and thick.
Curry Laksa is one of the healthiest breakfast foods in Malaysia. It helps aid indigestion and inflammation. It detoxifies your body and cleans the liver. It’s also a low-calorie dish packed with vitamins and minerals. Curry Laksa is a must-have Malay breakfast to add to your list.
Sweet Traditional Malaysian Breakfast Dishes
Rose Sago Cake
Rose Sago cake has a soft and fluffy texture. It is adorable and well-garnished with a mildly sweet flavor.
This traditional Malay breakfast dessert is made from tiny tapioca pearls, rose, and panda essence and coated with grated coconut. This cake is also an excellent dish for tea time.
Kek Lapis Sarawak
Kek Lapis Sarawak is a Malay breakfast where art and food-making meet. This Malaysian breakfast has Dutch origins. It is a layered cake that is arranged geometrically and is very colorful.
The cake has a rich buttery flavor with a hint of vanilla. It’s perfectly moist and fluffy, but takes a lot of patience to make and is often expensive to buy. It is well worth the effort though!
Savoring Typical Malaysian Breakfast Foods
Now it’s your turn to explore the food and culture of Malaysia. As breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it’s a great place to start. Fuel yourself up before heading out to explore the famous landmarks of Malaysia.
Whether you try sweet cakes or savory soups, Malaysian breakfast foods have something for different tastes! With both international cuisines and local delights on offer, you will never run out of options to try.