There is a saying that goes: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” Breakfast is undeniably the most important meal of the day. It provides you with energy and an alert mind to go about the day. Moreover, breakfast is vital in maintaining a healthy body weight.
Ever wonder how Malaysians fuel their morning? Here’s a list of the five most common breakfast choices in the country:

1) Nasi lemak

Having its roots from the Malay culture, nasi lemak refers to the rich, creamy rice cooked in santan (coconut milk). Knotted pandan (screw pine leaves) are added while cooking the rice to give it additional fragrance.

Nasi lemak is traditionally served in wrapped banana leaves with fried ikan bilis (anchovies), sliced cucumber, hard-boiled egg and sambal (a slightly sweet, spicy sauce). It can also come with other accompaniments like chicken, cuttlefish, fish or beef.

2) Roti canai

Roti canai is the influence of the Indian community on Malaysian fare. It consists of dough containing ample amounts of fat (usually ghee or clarified butter), egg, flour and water. This mixture is kneaded thoroughly, flattened, oiled and folded repeatedly. The dough is then cooked on a flat iron skillet. The best roti canai is one that is fluffy on the inside, but flaky and crispy on the outside.

Roti canai is usually served with curry, but sometimes it is also taken with sugar or condensed milk. There are variations of this flat bread which include roti telur (with egg), roti bawang (with onions) and roti planta (with margarine).

photo credit: Roti Canai

photo credit: Roti Canai

3) Chee cheong fun

Literally meaning ‘pig’s intestine noodles’, chee cheong fun is made by steaming rice flour and tapioca flour into flat sheets, then rolling them up. In Malaysia, the dish is served in various ways, depending on the state. In Penang, chee cheong fun comes with prawn paste and chilli sauce while in Kuala Lumpur, it is served with stuffed bean curd sheets, fish ball, yong tau foo (tofu filled with ground meat or fish paste) and topped with a sweet, thick brown sauce.

4) Kaya toast and soft boiled eggs

Kaya toast is crispy toasted bread slathered with butter and kaya jam (coconut egg jam). The soft boiled eggs are broken into a bowl, drizzled with soy sauce and pepper, and stirred. Both can be eaten separately, though some people like dipping their kaya toast into the soft boiled egg mixture.

5) Dim sum

A Cantonese-style dish, dim sum is served in bite sized portions. It is traditionally served in steamer baskets or small plates. Popular types of dim sum are har gau (steamed shrimp dumplings), siu mai (open-topped steamed pork or shrimp dumplings), char siu bao (steamed barbecue pork stuffed buns), lo mai gai (steamed glutinous rice) and fung zao (fried steamed chicken feet).

The best thing about these breakfast options? They are cheap and easily available even after the breakfast hour is over. Just another point proving that Malaysia is indeed a gastronomic paradise!

By Alanna Tan, ASEAN Correspondent from Malaysia