What's in a typical Malaysian breakfast

What’s in a typical Malaysian breakfast?

Malaysia has a rich and diverse food culture, and breakfast is no exception! But, if you’re traveling to Malaysia, you may wonder what the locals eat there – and if these are too adventurous for your palate. 

Malaysia’s food is a canvas of flavors, textures, and fragrances that reflect its distinct history and legacy – and this shows even in the usual breakfast items that locals eat.

A typical Malaysian breakfast usually features a variety of dishes from different cuisines like Malay, Indian, and Chinese, ranging from the typical roti canai from a mamak, dim sum from Chinese restaurants, and apom balik from street vendors.

Although Malaysians have a wide variety of breakfast options, the country’s most popular breakfast item is its national dish, the nasi lemak.

Given the diversity of options in Malaysia, most foreigners don’t need to worry about not having any breakfast options to their liking. So, read on as we’re giving you a rundown of the best breakfast dishes in Malaysia and the top restaurants that serve each dish.

1. Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak

This is considered the national dish of Malaysia and is a must-try for anyone visiting the country. One of the reasons nasi lemak is such a popular breakfast dish in Malaysia is that it is a filling and satisfying meal that provides the energy needed to start the day. 

Nasi lemak consists of rice cooked in coconut milk and served with a variety of side dishes such as fried anchovies, peanuts, hard-boiled eggs, and sambal. 

Nasi Lemak is also a popular breakfast dish in Malaysia. It is often served with a variety of accompaniments such as sambal (a spicy chili-based sauce), fried anchovies, peanuts, cucumber slices, and a boiled egg.

One of the best places to try nasi lemak is at a traditional street stall like “Village Park Restaurant” in Kuala Lumpur. 

Village Park Restaurant is a popular eatery located in the suburb of Damansara Uptown in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is known for its delicious Nasi Lemak, which has been hailed by many as one of the best in the city.

The restaurant has a simple and unassuming ambiance, with both indoor and outdoor seating available. The menu offers a range of Malay dishes, but it is the Nasi Lemak that is the star of the show.

2. Roti Canai

Roti Canai

This is a type of flatbread that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is often served with a variety of dips such as dal or curry.

It’s prepared in a variety of sweet or savory varieties using a variety of components including meat, eggs, or cheese. It is typically served with dal or other forms of curries.

A popular restaurant to try roti canai is “Restoran Makbul” in Penang. Restoran Makbul is a well-known eatery in Penang, Malaysia, that is famous for its hearty and delicious Nasi Campur (mixed rice) dishes and Roti Canai. 

Their Roti Canai is often served with a flavorful curry sauce or dhal (lentil) soup for dipping. Some variations also include fillings like eggs or onions.

3. Mee Goreng

Mee Goreng

This dish is a type of stir-fried noodle that is flavored with spices and seasonings. It is usually made with egg noodles and is a popular breakfast item in Malaysia. One of the best places to try mee goreng are mamak stalls in Kuala Lumpur.

Mamak stalls are a common sight in Kuala Lumpur and other cities in Malaysia. They are essentially roadside eateries that offer a range of affordable Malaysian dishes, many of which are influenced by Indian and Malay cuisine.

At a typical mamak stall, you can expect to find a wide range of dishes such as roti canai , nasi kandar , mee goreng , and satay (grilled meat skewers). Mamak stalls are often open 24 hours a day, making them a popular spot for late-night dining.

There are many famous mamak stalls in Malaysia, as this type of eatery is a beloved part of the country’s culinary culture. Here are a few popular options:

Raj’s Banana Leaf – Located in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Raj’s Banana Leaf is a popular spot for authentic South Indian dishes like banana leaf rice and biryani. It’s open 24 hours and is always bustling with locals and tourists alike.

Line Clear Nasi Kandar – This famous nasi kandar restaurant in Penang has been operating since the 1940s and is renowned for its flavorful curries and grilled meats. It’s always busy, with queues often stretching down the street.

Pelita Nasi Kandar – Pelita is a chain of mamak stalls with locations across Malaysia, but its outlet in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur is particularly popular. It’s known for its extensive menu of nasi kandar dishes and its lively atmosphere.

4. Apom Balik

Apom Balik

This is a type of pancake that is filled with sugar, peanuts, and corn. It is a popular breakfast item in Malaysia and can be found at street stalls and traditional breakfast joints. One of the best places to try apom balik is “Apom Balik Uncle Tan” in Penang.

Apom Balik Uncle Tan is a popular food stall located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that is well known for its delicious apom balik, a sweet Malaysian snack that is similar to a pancake or crepe.

Apom balik is made by pouring a batter made of flour, coconut milk, sugar, and eggs onto a hot griddle. The batter is then topped with peanuts and sweet corn before being folded over to create a crispy, golden-brown pancake.

At Apom Balik Uncle Tan, customers can enjoy freshly made apom balik that is cooked to order. The stall is known for using high-quality ingredients, including fresh coconut milk and locally sourced peanuts, and sweet corn.

5. Mee Rebus 

Mee Rebus

This is a type of noodle dish that is served in a thick and flavorful gravy made from spices and potatoes. The paste contains fresh ingredients like lemon grass, garlic, and shallots. 

The dish’s umami flavor comes from the addition of spicy ingredients such as fried chilies and dried prawns. A little belacan and dried chili paste, as well as curry and turmeric powder, are sometimes added to the sauce in order to give it more flavor.

One of the best places to try mee rebus is “Restoran Mee Rebus Haji Samuri”. Restoran Mee Rebus Haji Samuri is a popular eatery in Kuala Lumpur that specializes in mee rebus amongst other dishes.

The restaurant has several locations across the country, including in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, and Johor.

6. Char Kway Teow 

Char Kway Teow

This dish consists of flat rice noodles that are stir-fried with a variety of ingredients such as shrimp, egg, bean sprouts, and chives. It is a popular breakfast item in Malaysia and can be found at street stalls and traditional breakfast joints. 

One of the best places to try char kway teow is Loh Mee stalls in Penang. There are many Loh Mee stalls in Malaysia, but one that is particularly popular is the Ah Pui Loh Mee located in Petaling Jaya, a city in the state of Selangor. 

The stall is known for its flavorful and satisfying Loh Mee, which is cooked to order and served piping hot. At Ah Pui Loh Mee, customers can customize their Loh Mee by choosing from a variety of toppings and adjusting the spiciness level to their liking. 

The stall also offers other dishes such as Hokkien Mee and Yong Tau Fu, as well as various sides such as fried wontons and dumplings.

7. Kaya Toast 

Kaya Toast

This is a simple yet delicious breakfast dish that consists of toasted bread spread with kaya (a sweet, coconut-flavored jam) and served with a side of soft-boiled eggs. One of the best places to try kaya toast is “Ya Kun Kaya Toast” in Kuala Lumpur.

Ya Kun Kaya Toast is a Singaporean chain of breakfast cafes that also has several outlets in Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, and Penang.

At Ya Kun Kaya Toast, customers can enjoy a variety of breakfast items, including their signature kaya toast. The kaya toast is made by spreading a thick layer of kaya, a sweet coconut jam, on slices of toasted bread, and serving it with a slab of butter.

8. Chee Cheong Fun 

Chee Cheong Fun

This is a type of rice noodle roll that is often served with a sweet sauce and a variety of toppings such as fried onions and soy sauce. One popular restaurant chain that serves Chee Cheong Fun in Malaysia is Dim Sum Garden.

Dim Sum Garden has multiple outlets throughout the country, including in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Johor Bahru. At Dim Sum Garden, customers can choose from a variety of Chee Cheong Fun options, including pork, shrimp, and other ingredients.

Overall, Chee Cheong Fun is a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed at many Chinese-style restaurants throughout Malaysia. Whether you’re looking for a quick breakfast or a satisfying meal, Chee Cheong Fun is definitely a dish worth trying.

9. Laksa 


This is a type of noodle soup that is made with a spicy and flavorful coconut milk-based broth. It can be found in various regional variations, such as the popular Asam Laksa from Penang. One of the best places to try laksa is  Kimberley Street in Penang.

Kimberley Street in Penang, Malaysia is known for its wide selection of vendors selling a delicious combination of savory and spicy flavors. The dish is a type of curry laksa, which consists of rice noodles served in a spicy curry soup with a variety of toppings.

At Kimberley Street in Penang, visitors can find many street food vendors selling their version of the famous laksa. One popular vendor is the stall operated by sisters Lee Lay Hua and Lee Lay Eng, who’ve been selling their version of the laksa for over 60 years.

The sisters’ laksa recipe is a family secret that has been passed down for generations. The dish is made with a unique blend of herbs and spices, including lemongrass, galangal, and chili, which give the soup its distinctive flavor. 

10. Tau Fu Fah 

Tau Fu Fah

This is a dessert made from soybean curd and is often served with sweet syrup. It is a popular breakfast item in Malaysia and can be found at traditional dessert shops. Some of the best places to try tau fu fah are Tau Fu Fah Stalls in Kuala Lumpur.

In Kuala Lumpur, there are many stalls and shops that sell this delicious dessert, often using traditional methods to make it.

One popular stall that is well-known for its Tau Fu Fah in Kuala Lumpur is located at the Petaling Street Market, which is also known as the Chinatown market. 

This stall has been serving customers for many years and is particularly known for its silky smooth and delicate Tau Fu Fah. The dish is typically served with a sweet syrup made from palm sugar, which complements the creamy texture of the pudding.

11. Satay 


This is a type of skewered meat that is grilled and served with peanut sauce. It is a popular breakfast item in Malaysia and can be found at street stalls and traditional breakfast joints. Some of the best places to try satay are Satay Celup stalls in Malacca.

In Malacca, there are many different stalls and restaurants that serve Satay Celup, but some of the most popular are located in the Jonker Street area, which is known for its vibrant street food scene. 

One of the most popular Satay Celup stalls in Malacca is Capitol Satay Celup, which has been serving customers for over 50 years. At Capitol Satay Celup, customers can choose a variety of different skewers, which are then cooked in a hot pot.

The skewers can include a variety of different meats, seafood, and vegetables, including beef, chicken, prawns, fish balls, and tofu. The result is a delicious and flavorful dish that is perfect for sharing with friends and family.

12. Dim Sum 

Dim Sum

While the dish didn’t originate in the country, it is still a dish that Malaysians enjoy eating even during breakfast. This is a type of Chinese-style dumpling that is often filled with a variety of ingredients such as shrimp, chicken, or vegetables. 

It is a popular breakfast item in Malaysia and can be found in traditional Chinese restaurants. One of the best places to try dim sum is “Jin Xuan Dim Sum Restaurant” in Kuala Lumpur.

The restaurant has several locations throughout the city, including in the Bukit Bintang area and the Damansara Jaya neighborhood.

At Jin Xuan Dim Sum Restaurant, customers can choose from a wide variety of different dim sum dishes, including steamed buns, dumplings, and pastries. Some of the most popular dishes on the menu include the siu mai, har gow, char siu bao, and egg tarts.

FAQs about Malaysian Breakfast Dishes