Chinese Cuisine

by Mark

CHINESE CUISINE Chinese restaurants offer many choices, whether it is Cantonese, Hokkien, Hainanese, Hakka or Szechuan cuisine. The Chinese have a saying that ‘fish must swim in the kitchen’ in…


Chinese restaurants offer many choices, whether it is Cantonese, Hokkien, Hainanese, Hakka or Szechuan cuisine. The Chinese have a saying that ‘fish must swim in the kitchen’ in other words, they must be alive until the moment of cooking. In most seafood restaurants, you select a live fish, crab, prawn or lobster from a tank and tell the chef how you want it cooked. Some popular Chinese dish are:

For the following we thank the great website “Malaysian Food” at  where you also find a 
very useful GLOSSARY:

We have put their list in the abc and complemented it with a few more dishes:


What are Malaysian Chinese Dishes?

Bak Kut Teh : Pork Rib Tea – A very popular Hokkien herbal soup [also spelt Bakuteh] which in English is translated as ‘Pork Rib [Pork Bone] Tea’, traditionally served for breakfast as an invigorating tonic to start the day with Ewe Char Koay [Chinese crullers]. Pork ribs are long simmered in a ‘tea’ of Chinese medicinal herbs and whole bulbs of garlic, often with dried shitake mushrooms added for earthiness. A chicken version Chi Kut Teh [also spelt Chikuteh] is also popular. Bak Kut Teh, containing all the essential herbal ingredients usually available only in ethnic Chinese medicinal shops, are very convenient for ‘brewing’ an authentic-tasting, aromatic and nutritious Bak Kut Teh at home!

Chee Chong Fun : Rice Sheet Rolls – usually eaten as breakfast, flat sheets made from rice flour, sometimes with some dried shrimp embedded, is steamed soft then cut up and topped with soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili hot sauce and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

Chicken Rice : rice with braised or roast chicken.

Chili Crab : this easy to make dish [also called Singapore Chili Crab in Singapore] is literally finger-licking good. Blue crabs, Dungeness crabs or Mud crabs have never been so lovingly tossed in a most superb chili sauce!

Clay Pot Rice : This one-pot rice meal has a smoky exotic aroma, best baked with a sweet Chinese sausage called Lap Cheong. The crispy part of the rice at the bottom of the clay pot is savored. Clay Pot Rice can now be found with a variety of meats or seafood, from beef to ostrich. Many restaurants also have clay pot ‘dishes’ on their menus – Clay pot Mee [noodles], Clay pot Tofu [soy bean cake], Clay pot Fish, Clay pot Soup etc. Food cooked in clay pots are not only flavorful, but retain the most nutrition as well.

Dim Sum : mid-morning snacks comprising steamed sweet or savoury items.

Ewe Char Koay : Chinese Doughnut – These long, usually twin pairs of dough are deep fried and eaten for breakfast – great for dunking in coffee as well as a tea-time snack.

Fish & Chicken Clay pot : Fish, usually Garoupa is simmered with chicken in a clay pot – a hearty & delicious dish to eat with plain steamed rice and a side of hot sauce or fresh sliced chilies in soy sauce.

Hainan Chicken Rice : originating from Hainan in China, this dish is ubiquitous, one of the most popular everyday meal. Chicken is slow poached whole, allowed to cool to room temperature and cut up into bite-sized pieces. Rice is then cooked with the flavorful chicken broth. Cucumbers, scallions and cilantro garnishes the chicken. A small side of the chicken broth is usually served as well. And always – a must-have dipping sauce made of red chilies, garlic, ginger and lime juice completes the meal.

Hot & Spicy Fish : Grouper [Garoupa in Portuguese; Kerapu in Malay] is a popular fish deep fried whole. It’s seasoned with salt and pepper, lightly coated in flour and deep fried till crispy. The fish is then topped with a hot & spicy sauce.

Kai Lan with Oyster sauce : Chinese Kale, also called Chinese Broccoli, is quickly blanched whole in hot boiling water till tender. It’s dressed very simply with a little oyster sauce, a dash of sesame oil and some fried garlic on top.

Malaysian Chicken Curry : is a typical chicken curry cooked in almost all Malaysian homes. This basic recipe uses a Made in Malaysia Meat Curry Powder. It has just the right blend of spices for an authentic ‘Malaysian-tasting’ curry! Some ingredients vary – Indian homes might cook with ghee [clarified butter], add whole spices like star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, mustard seeds or fresh curry leaves.

Malaysian Fish Curry : is a typical fish curry cooked in almost all Malaysian homes. This basic recipe uses a Fish Curry Powder. It has just the right blend of spices for an authentic ‘Malaysian-tasting’ fish curry! Some ingredients vary – Indian homes might cook with ghee [clarified butter], whole spices like mustard seeds, caraway seeds and cumin seeds, fresh curry leaves, tamarind juice, coconut milk and yoghurt.

Pau: steam rice flour dumplings with meat or red bean filling.

Pork Rice : rice with roast pork

Steamed Pomfret : White, Silver or Black Pomfret is an ideal fish for steaming because of it flatness. Quick and easy, the fish is sprinkled with fresh ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil & white pepper, allowed to steam till just done and garnished with sprigs of cilantro and chopped scallions.

Sweet & Sour Fish : This Internationally popular Chinese dish is always a hit. Whole fish such as Grouper [Garoupa in Portuguese; Kerapu in Malay] is the fish of choice; lightly coated in flour and deep fried whole till crispy. The crispy fish is then topped with stewed pineapple, green pepper and onions in a sweet & sour sauce. Pomfret is another fish that is very popular served this style whole.

Yong Tau Foo : Tofu stuffed with Fish Mousse – Tau Foo means tofu or soy bean cakes in Chinese dialect. Deep fried tofu cakes and vegetables – bitter gourd, whole red chilies, zucchini – are stuffed with a fish mousse or pate, then steamed or boiled and served with a dipping sauce.


What Are Popular Malaysian Chinese Noodles?

Char Kway Teow : Fried Flat Noodles – fresh flat rice noodles are stir fried in a little lard with shrimp, cockles, bean sprouts, egg and chives. A smoky chili adds kick to this popular noodle dish. The island of Penang in Malaysia, well-known for it’s hawker food, is especially famous for it’s Char Kway Teow.. hands-down the best in the country!

Fried Kway Teow: flat white noodles fried with bean sprouts, prawns, mussels, eggs and chives.

Hoo Wan Tung Hoon : Mung Bean Noodles – also called Glass noodles, are served in a clear broth with fish balls and topped with fried garlic bits and chopped scallions.

Koay Teow Th’ng : Flat Rice Noodles in Soup – fresh flat rice noodles are served in a clear soup broth, topped with fish balls, slices of pork, chicken, golden brown garlic bits and chopped scallions. A condiment of sliced fresh red chilies in soy-vinegar usually accompanies the dish.

Kway Teow Soup: flat fresh rice noodles in soup base.

Mee Suah : Thin Wheat Noodles – fine wheat flour vermicelli noodles are served in a bowl of clear soup broth with a whole roasted duck leg and garnished with chopped scallions.

Penang Curry Mee : Penang Curry Noodles – this is a famous Penang noodle soup dish. It is often mistakenly called ‘Curry Laksa’ – which is altogether a different noodle dish in Penang called ‘Laksa Lemak’ or sometimes ‘Laksa Siam’. Thin rice vermicelli [Mei Fun or Beehoon] and yellow egg noodles [Chow Mein] are served in a spicy coconut curry soup with fresh cockles, shrimp, cuttlefish, pig’s blood cake, fried & deep fried tofu, bean sprouts and a hot pan-roasted chili sauce.

Penang Hokkien Mee : Penang Hokkien Noodles – this is a Penang style spicy noodle soup dish, elsewhere called Prawn Mee [Hae Mee or Prawn Noodles]. Thin rice vermicelli [Mei Fun or Beehoon] and yellow egg noodles [Chow Mein] are served in a soup, made from both a meat broth [pork] and a seafood broth [shrimp]. The tasty soup is spiced with a pan-roasted chili sauce – a key ingredient. The dish is garnished with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, fried shallots and a spoonful of the pan-roasted chili sauce – to add if you desire a major chili high!

Penang Sar Ho Fun : Scramble Egg Sauce Noodles – flat broad noodles [Chow Fun type noodles] are first briefly charred in a hot wok and set aside. Pork, pork liver, shrimp, squid, fish balls, crabmeat and leafy greens are stir fried. Broth is added and thickened with cornstarch. A lightly beaten egg is streaked into the gravy. The seafood, meat and gravy is then poured over the charred noodles and served with a condiment of fresh green chilies pickled in vinegar.

Wonton Mee : Wonton Noodles – Thin egg noodles are first cooked by blanching in boiling water. A clear soup broth is poured over the noodles then garnished with wontons [pork dumplings] and char siu [Chinese barbequed or roast pork] Wonton Mee is also served dry, usually with a small bowl of soup on the side. Fresh sliced green chilies pickled in vinegar is also served as an accompaniment. (Also spelled: Wanton Mee).


What Are Malaysian Chinese Hawker Dishes?

Ais Kacang : Shaved Ice Dessert – a favorite local dessert, also called ABC. Sweet red beans, agar agar [seaweed jelly], barley pearls, sweet corn and fruits are covered with shaved ice, then laced with rose syrup, brown sugar syrup and sweetened condensed milk. Great summer cooler!

Joo Hoo Eng Chai : Cuttlefish Salad – an usual salad of dried cuttlefish and Kangkong [Water Convolvulus also called Water Spinach]. The dried cuttlefish is first reconstituted and served together with Kangkung, cooked by blanching in boiling water. The salad is then dressed with a special sweet and hot sauce and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

Koay Kak : Fried Rice Cubes – steamed glutinous rice cubes are stir fried in lard on a hot griddle with soy sauce, garlic, diced salted Chinese vegetable, bean sprouts, chives and chili sauce.

Lok Lok : Chinese Fondue – fresh seafood like shrimp, squid, cuttlefish, fish balls and other delicacies are skewered on bamboo sticks. Diners help themselves, by dipping the skewers into a cauldron of rapidly boiling hot water to cook. Different sauces from sweet to tangy to hot are served.

Lor Bak : Deep fried Pu-Pu Platter – homemade minced pork sausage [wrapped in dried bean curd sheet], prawn fritters, soy bean cakes, preserved egg and cucumber wedges are served with 2 kinds of dipping sauces – one, a dark soy gravy-like sauce and the other a sweet chili sauce. Metal hair bobby pins that were once used as picks, are nowadays replaced with toothpicks.

O’ Chien : Fried Baby Oysters – local baby oysters are fried into a sort of omelet made out of a mixture of cornstarch, eggs and chopped pickled Chinese radish. A sweet & hot chili dipping sauce is served on the side.

Popiah : Steamed Spring Rolls – a vegetable filling of stewed jicama [sengkuang], carrots and bean sprouts are rolled in a rice paper wrapper with minced prawns, fried shallots and lettuce.
A sweet & hot chili sauce is served on the side. It is sometimes deep fried.


C-Right 2014 by and Langkawi Gazette 

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