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Malay Food

The Malay cuisine in Singapore is a blend of traditional dishes from Malaysia with strong influences from the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java. Like the Chinese cuisine, rice is also the staple food, which acts as a "neutralizer" for the spicy cuisine. For religious reasons, pork is never used in Malay and Indonesian cuisine.


Coconut is an essential ingredient when cooking the dishes of this region. The coconut flesh is grated and squeezed to make coconut milk, which is used in countless gravies, as well as in cakes, drinks, and desserts. Freshly grated coconut is also sprinkled over many cakes.


Belacan is another important ingredient in the Malay and Indonesian cuisine. It is a pungent dried shrimp paste, which is often combined with pounded fresh chilies to make the universally popular Sambal Belacan. The Sambal Belacan acts more as a sauce to add extra taste to any dish.

Spices & Herbs

Malay dishes does use a variety of spices to give it its characteristically piquant, spicy flavor. These various herbs are skillfully blended into dishes, gravies, soups, and sauces. Fragrant herbs, such as the kaffir lime leaf and lemon grass, shallots and garlic, ginger and galangal, are used. Dried spices include coriander, tamarind, turmeric, saffron, and cumin.


One of the most well-known and popular Malay dish is Satay. Pieces of mutton, beef, or chicken are skewered over charcoal and eaten with a rich peanut sauce, sliced cucumber, onions, and chunks of compressed rice.

Beef Rendang

Large chunks of beef are cooked with lashings, spices and herbs to come up with Beef Rendang. It is another hearty, and very spicy, favorite among Singaporeans.

Indonesian Favorites

A long-time Indonesian favorite is Nasi Padang. It is a name that describes a wide range of spicy meat, fish, poultry, and vegetable dishes, which had originated in the Padang district of West Sumatra. Another favorite is Soto Ayam, which is a spiced chicken stock served with chicken, beansprouts, and either potato croquette or compressed rice.


Generally, Malay desserts and cakes are very rich in coconut milk and are great for those with a sweet tooth.

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