17 Ramadhan Food in Malaysia that You Must Try!
Ramadhan is finally upon us, and we can’t help but contain our excitement after a prolonged no-gathering rule due to Covid-19 restrictions.
In a Muslim-majority country like Malaysia, Ramadhan is a special time to visit.
Especially Bazaar Ramadhan! Here is some of the must-try Ramadhan Food in Malaysia!
Psssst, you can get at any Bazaars in the country!
Halal Food Concerns As the bazaar is intended exclusively for Ramadhan, the food sold here are all Halal. So there’s nothing to worry about when buying!
Ramadhan Holiday in Malaysia
Ramadhan is an excellent time to visit Malaysia.
With a population of over 61% Muslims in the country, Ramadhan is like a festivity in Malaysia.
It is common to see the main streets occupied by Ramadhan Bazaars in almost every corner of the country.
Related article: Ramadhan Food in Sarawak, Malaysia [What to Buy at Bazaars!]
Popular Ramadhan Food in Malaysia
If you’ve been to Bazaar Ramadhan, you’ll know just how long a stretch it is!
There are so many pop-up vendors that if you’re coming without a local guide, it’s easy to be confused on “What to buy at Bazaar Ramadhan?”
Not to worry, because here are some ideas on popular Ramadhan dishes in Malaysia!
Wondering, “Do Muslims eat special food during Ramadhan?”
In Malaysia, yes, we do!
This special food is Bubur Lambuk.
It is a rice porridge cooked with assorted spices typically served during Ramadhan.
The most famous of Bubur Lambuk out of all is the Bubur Lambuk in Kampung Baru.
The Kampung Baru masjid committee cooks this porridge in massive woks. So the feeling of eating porridge made by the ummah (community) feels heartfelt!
Another popular Ramadhan Bazaar street food in Malaysia is the Murtabak.
Did you know that Murtabak is derived from the Arabic word “Muttabaq”, “folded”?
Murtabak is a pan-fried bread folded into perfect squares, with fillings of various choices.
You can choose minced meat of beef, chicken, or sometimes goat in the fillings of murtabak!
Roti John is hands down a comfort food when it comes to Ramadhan Bazaars
It is an omelet baguette sandwich filled with minced meat, veggies, and onions.
According to historical records, Roti John got its peculiar name because White Men (most were British soldiers) used to only eat that dish at a stall in then-Singapore.
The local hawker instinctively knew these white men wanted that baguette with a fried omelet. Hence, whenever the hawker saw them coming, he would naturally ask the Caucasian-looking customers, “Do you want roti, John?”.-The origins of “Roti John.”
Roti means bread in the Malay language.
ABC & Colorful, Ice Cold Drinks
Ice cold desserts and colorful drinks soothe the throat after a long day of fasting in a hot and humid country like Malaysia!
At Ramadhan Bazaars in the country, you’ll find drinks that come in a various assortment of colors (italicized are the names):
- Pink is bandung (rose syrup with evaporated milk)
- Yellow is jagung (corn)
- Black and white is cincau (grass jelly with soy milk)
- Green is cendol (green droplets of rice flour jelly)
These are just a couple of them, as there are more ice-cold drinks like Teh Ais Cincau, Laici Kang, and so much more!
Having iftar during Ramadhan in Malaysia feels much better with cendol!
Cendol is a dessert that consists of green jelly droplets, crushed ice, coconut milk, and red beans.
In different country regions, the cendol taste differs as they use unique palm sugar found in respective locations.
Some have a sour-and-sweet taste as the sugar comes from natural resources.
- Sarawak uses gula apong (local palm sugar)
- Melaka uses gula melaka (local palm sugar)
- Terengganu uses nissang (local palm sugar)
- Some uses brown sugar
A mouthwatering meal for iftar is Nasi Biryani—an essential part of Malaysian Indian cuisine.
Nasi Biryani found in Malaysia is not like the biryani found in other parts of the world.
In Malaysia, the Nasi Briyani is served with ‘acar’ —pickled cucumber with pineapples and onions instead of yogurt-based raita. Hence, signifying the dish’s Indian-Malay fusion traces.
Pro-tip: Get your biryani in mutton, chicken, or beef!
Another snack popularized by the Malaysian Indian community is the Putu Mayam.
The best part of eating this is when the steamed rice flour noodles crumble at every bite!
Ramadhan in Malaysia is incomplete without the addition of kuih-muih (local cakes and snacks).
The kuih in Malaysia comes in assortments of sweet and savory.
How to distinguish sweet kuih from the savory ones?
You can find the sweet kuih in bright and bold colors like pink, green and yellow.
Meanwhile, savory kuih, like curry puff, and popia are usually golden-brownish in color, as most are fried.
Related article: Ramadhan Food in Sarawak
A Malaysia Ramadhan food signature is the Apam Balik!
Did you know that Apam Balik means flipped pancake?
This is because of how it is prepared… which includes flipping the pancake!
Today, Apam Balik comes in various sizes and fillings. Cheese, Oreo, and so much more!
In literal translation, Ayam Panggang means grilled BBQ chicken.
A popular Ramadhan buka puasa (breaking fast) side dish in Malaysia, Ayam Panggang is usually coated in either honey syrup, black pepper, or soy sauce caramelized from the barbecuing process.
There are many ways to enjoy eating this dish:
- You can eat it on its own, with dipping chili sauces that come with it.
- With a plate of rice.
Pro-tip: Some parts of the country call this Ayam Golek (twirling chicken in the Malay language). This comes from the barbecuing process the chicken goes through to become caramelized version.
Lemang & Kuah Kacang
Want to know what are the traditional foods eaten during Ramadhan?
Lemang & Kuah Kacang is one of them!
Lemang is glutinous rice cooked in bamboo.
While this is an Eid traditional food, the Bazaars in Malaysia also sell them as early as Ramadhan.
The way to eat Lemang is to peel off the banana leaves and dip the glutinous rice into Kuah Kacang (peanut sauce).
Another famous food during the Ramadhan month is the Ayam Percik.
From a glimpse, Ayam Percik looks similar to Ayam Panggang.
But the taste is different!
While it is not a Ramadhan-specific delicacy, Nasi Kerabu is one of the foods Malaysians like to have for iftar.
This is basically blue rice served with various side dishes like shredded vegetables, salted eggs, fermented fish paste, stuffed green chilies, grated coconut, and fish crackers.
Sometimes, Nasi Kerabu is also eaten with Ayam Percik! Traditionally, the rice of Nasi Kerabu is cooked with the petals of the butterfly pea flower. Hence, the purplish-blue color!
Satay — Meat skewers
Known more like street food in Malaysia, Satay is skewered beef, chicken, or intestines.
It is also available at Ramadhan Bazaars so if it’s your first time coming to Malaysia coincides with the fasting month, why not have some satay?
How to know which is which:
- Yellow is chicken satay
- Dark brown is beef satay
- Dark brown to pinkish is intestines satay.
- Dip into Kuah Satay / Kuah Kacang (Peanut sauce)
- Eat it just like that
Ikan Bakar & Sotong Bakar — Grilled Seafood
By now, you should know that anything grilled or stir-fry is a favorite at the Ramadhan Bazaars in Malaysia.
If you’re not a fan of meat, no worries because there’s fish too!
It is common to find flame-grilled fish (Ikan Bakar) and squid (Sotong Bakar) at the Ramadhan Bazaars in Malaysia.
They are usually sold with sambal sauce and wrapped with banana leaves.
Pro-tip: If you can have it while it’s piping hot with a bowl of rice, that’s the
Not in the mood for a heavy meal that comes with rice?
Then Kuey Teow— flat rice cake noodles may be what you’re looking for!
These flavorful stir-fry noodles are coated in sweet soy sauce paired with squid, cockles, and shrimps.
Whichever is your choice, you can ask the hawker to include it!
Glutinous Rice — Pulut Panggang & Kuih Chang
Malaysia has all sorts of glutinous rice sold at Ramadhan Bazaars.
Besides Lemang, some glutinous rice dishes you can try are:
- Kuih Chang (Halal version of Chinese Bak Zhang);
- Pulut Panggang (smoked glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaf). Comes with various fillings.
Do check out Muslim Solo Travel’s Guide to Ramadhan Food in Sarawak!
Best Ramadhan Bazaars in Malaysia
If you happen to be around during Ramadan holiday in Malaysia, here are some of the best Ramadhan bazaars to check out in the country!
1. Jalan TAR Ramadhan Bazaar, Kuala Lumpur
Must, must, must go! I’m an annual visitor to this bazaar. Days leading up to Eid (Hari Raya in Malay), this bazaar would be stretched up until Jalan Masjid India.
2. Plaza Ramadan, Prangin Mall, George Town, Penang
3. Satok Bazaar, Kuching, Sarawak
A legendary bazaar in Kuching, Sarawak. Check out the video below for a tour around this bazaar.
4. Bazaar Ramadhan Dataran Pahlawan, Jalan Hang Tuah Melaka
5. Bazaar Ramadhan Padang MBK 1, Kuantan, Pahang
This Ramadhan Bazaar is known for its iftar at the field tradition. This year, you have to book in advance to breaking fast at the field
6. Bazaar Ramadhan Plaza Larkin, Johor Bahru
Tips for visiting Ramadhan Bazaars in Malaysia
- Dress modestly to respect the local culture
- Bring small change notes for an effortless transaction
- Come earlier, before 4 pm, if you would like to avoid crowds. During the month of Ramadhan, Malaysians end work earlier (usually an hour before the usual office hours). So expect the bazaars would be filled with lots of people at 4 pm!
- While it is not a holiday entirely, the Muslim population does end work earlier by about an hour, crowding the streets from about 3:30 pm onwards.
I hope this guide Ramadhan Food Malaysia is helpful! Save this post for your next Ramadhan Bazaar visit in Malaysia!
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