Quarantummy: I love Malaysian food!

After a ten-day work trip to Kuala Lumpur and Penang, I am currently addicted to Malaysian food.

Our fundraising officer, Annie, was kind enough to give me ready-made sauces that I can easily heat up; all I have to do is add meat and my preferred vegetables. She gave me rendang and sambal tumis, and I’m so excited to cook them!

Before leaving Penang, my colleague and I visited local groceries. We planned to buy treats to bring home, and I wanted to bring sauces, spices and seasonings, in the hopes of recreating some of the wonderful dishes we ate.

Sadly, my colleagues are not around to tell me if my cooking is up to par, but my taste buds are happy enough.

While scrambled eggs and sardines with white rice are a breakfast staple in my house, I added a few things from Malaysia: sambal tumis (the red paste beside the rice) and bawang goreng (the crunchy onions beside the eggs and bell pepper).

Inspired by everything we ate, I also bought a few things that I really enjoyed:

  • bawang goreng: In the Philippines, ‘bawang’ is garlic, but in Indonesia and Malaysia, it’s onion! So in the same way that Filipinos like crunchy garlic on pretty much everything, Malay food has fried onion. It’s amazing with peanuts and egg on rice!
  • sambal tumis: Sambal is like a chili sauce, and like bawang goreng, it goes with everything!
  • teh tarik: We really enjoyed masala tea in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, but I didn’t see any in the grocery. Instead, I bought sachets of teh tarik!
  • curry powder: Baba’s Meat Curry Powder (pictured above) smells amazing. I cooked it with chicken, and it’s wonderful! Unfortunately you still need to add more than a few spices of your own, and I didn’t have everything, but I still ended up with a delicious curry.
  • Char kuey teow sauce (pictured above): Just add shrimp, noodles and vegetables! Apparently the packet is good for 6-8 servings, so I didn’t even use all the sauce.
  • Noodles: Of course you need the right noodles, and there are so many different kinds! I wanted kuey teow but we didn’t find any, and two people have told me that it’s best to buy them fresh. Hopefully I can find some in Greenhills soon, but in the meantime I used tau chiam (pictured above). It worked well enough!

Culinary adventures! Top left: Char kuey teow, with shrimp, Chinese sausage, bean sprouts, and egg. Bottom left: Chicken curry with okra and potato, served with oven-roasted bell peppers, bawang goreng, nuts, sauteed pechay, and crunchy dulong. Right: While luncheon meat and white rice are standard breakfast fare, I felt like adding some new flavors: bawang goreng, nuts, sambal tumis, and crunchy dulong.

I love cooking, and I am so happy to have these new culinary adventures. Fortunately, my family likes the food too!


  1. Great to hear that you got to travel again post-pandemic! 😀 Apparently, garlic is called “bawang putih” in Bahasa — and the Filipino term “luya” (ginger) actually comes from “halia”, the Bahasa term for the root. (I love how Southeast Asian languages have almost similar terms for certain things haha!)


  2. Wow I am a food lover (just not evident in my blog content) but I realized I don’t know much about Malaysian food. Nice to know that the word bawang has a different meaning for Indonesian and Malaysians! Thanks for sharing! 🙂


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