IMCOM 2024
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Nasi lemak

Infused with pandan leaves, a fragrant mound of coconut-milk-soaked rice forms part of a daily culinary routine – gobbled up by locals for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Classic combinations include meat, seafood or vegetables, which sit alongside a fusion of ginger, nuts, cucumber and anchovies.


Mung bean flour and vibrantly hued pandan-leaf syrup combine in a glass to form gummy ‘worms’ that are synonymous with this colourful concoction. Coconut milk, palm sugar syrup and shaved ice top these to add a smooth contrast to the gooey confection found at the bottom of the glass.

Masak lemak

Coconut cream and milk are the key ingredients of this luscious and delectable sauce, perked up by a blend of chilli, ginger, turmeric, shallots and garlic. A whole chicken is cooked and slathered in the relish, with lemongrass adding a citrus tone to the union of flavours.


A spicy paste mingles with creamy coconut milk and is absorbed into generous chunks of tender beef. Time is of the essence — the more the meat is left to simmer, the more the colour and flavour cling to it. The recipe can be heavier on the spices for a ‘dry’ version, or coconut-milk-infused to make a gravy-like dressing.

Wan tan mee

These generously proportioned dumplings fuse a balance of sweet pork with salty soy sauce. Quick and filling, they sit on top of egg-fried noodles with slices of more pork and a dash of greenery in the form of Chinese kale, kai lan.

Nasi kandar

With Indian roots, this curry-like combo has long been a food-stall staple. Always containing fragrant rice, it’s paired with your selection of sautéed vegetables, fried chicken, or more daring ingredients like beef spleen, fried squid, or fish roe in a spicy gravy. Meaning ‘to flood’, banjir curry sauces are added to saturate the dish in flavour.

Bak kut the

A more unusual take on a brew, these juicy pork ribs sit stewing in a broth of cinnamon, star anise, pepper, garlic and gai choy cabbage. Perfect for the occasional rainy day, you’ll see residents of the city washing this down with more commonplace black tea.

Banana leaf rice

Indulgent but oh-so delicious, this is more of an experience than simply a dish. Restaurants generally favour their own take, but the platter generally comprises a large banana leaf, which makes the food more fragrant. On top you’ll see locals devour a curry, and a selection of vegetables including cucumber, spinach and beans, spicy rasam soup, dried chillies, tairu yoghurt and papadums.

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