The best Malay dishes in Langkawi benefit from the island’s abundance of fresh seafood and vegetables as well as unique herbs and spices, resulting in combinations you might not find anywhere else the world. While Langkawi boasts a diverse dining scene, sampling authentic Malay cuisine is a must for any first-time visitor to the island. Best of all, these delicacies are available everywhere and at any budget level, from roadside stalls to luxurious resorts. There are plenty of family-owned restaurants, particularly in Pantai Cenang, offering extensive buffet-style lunches from 11:00 onwards. After grabbing your plate of steamed rice, you can choose from 20 to 50 types of fish, vegetables, and chicken dishes. A full plate typically costs about RM10, though prices vary according to the number of dishes you’ve added.
Traveling in Malaysia is quite convenient since it has some major bus terminals and express buses are the preferred mode of transport here. Tickets for which can be booked online from redbus.my
Nasi tomato, or tomato rice, is made using a combination of tomato paste, coconut milk, various spices, together with sautéed garlic, onion, and sugar. Available in most Malay restaurants in Langkawi, this sweet-sour rice dish can be paired with a wide range of toppings such as fried chicken or fish and raw vegetables but we highly recommend beef rendang (a dry coconut milk-based curry), chickpea curry, and acar nenas (pineapple and peanut salad).
Ikan bakar is sold everywhere in Malaysia, but Langkawi offers arguably the best ones due to its abundant supply of fresh seafood. Its literal translation is ‘grilled fish’, you can find plenty of roadside stalls, night markets, and local restaurants selling these delicacies at affordable prices. The fish is marinated in a blend of sambal, turmeric, chilli, belacan, and galangal before it’s wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled over a charcoal stove. Due to its spicy flavour, a plate of steamed rice goes perfectly well with ikan bakar.
Pajeri nenas is ideal for vegetarian diners looking to sample traditional Malay-style curry. Also known as pineapple curry, this sweet-sour dish is typically served during lunch at local Malay restaurants in Langkawi. Consisting chunks of sweet pineapple in a coconut-based curry, this dish is best paired with a plate of white rice, okra, cucumber, and eggplants.