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Malaysia's cuisine reflects the multi-ethnic makeup of its population. Many cultures from
within the country and from surrounding regions have greatly influenced the cuisine. Much
of the influence comes from the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Javanese, and Sumatran cultures,
largely due to the country being part of the ancient spice route. The cuisine is very similar
to that of Singapore and Brunei, and also bears resemblance to Filipino cuisine. The
different states have varied dishes, and often the food in Malaysia is different from the
Sometimes food not found in its original culture is assimilated into another; for example,
Chinese restaurants in Malaysia often serve Malay dishes. Food from one culture is sometimes
also cooked using styles taken from another culture. This means that although much of
Malaysian food can be traced back to a certain culture, they have their own identity. Rice
is popular in many dishes. Chili is commonly found in local cuisine, although this does
not necessarily make them spicy.
Malaysians are very proud of their cooking and most towns or even villages have their
own delicious specialities such as Penang char kway teow, Kajang satay, Ipoh bean sprout
chicken, Sarawak laksa, Kelantanese nasi dagang, Sabahan hinava, and many, many more. Most
of them rely on word of mouth for advertising and are frequently located in the most inconvenient,
out-of-the-way places so you might want to try asking the locals for their personal recommendations.
If you intend to travel around Malaysia trying out the local food, don't be fooled by the
names. Sometimes two entirely different dishes from different parts of the country can be
known by the same name. An example will be laksa, which refers to completely different
noodle dishes in Penang and Sarawak.