When it comes to international cuisines, no one can deny that Malaysian dishes are some most beloved food items to have cemented themselves in history. From the flavorful laksa broth with piping hot noodles to the downright comforting beef rendang to the light and flakey roti that everyone loves, there’s nothing more anyone could ever want, except maybe to know more about this cuisine. This guide will let you in on the best Malaysian restaurant near you in Auckland today. Take a look.
What is Malaysian Food?
Malay food is a reflection of the different cooking traditions and practices that have influenced it over the years. These include Chinese, Indian, and Malay cuisine, most of which shows the multi-ethnic and multicultural population that make up the whole of Malaysia.
Due to its unique and diverse cultures, Malaysian food is known to be some of the most flavourful, aromatic, and spice-rich dishes around the world and rightly so since it melds many of the common herbs and spices found in Southeast Asia. Both the ingredients and cooking techniques have seen the aforementioned influences adopted into Malaysian cuisine.
Because of this, Malay food has come to be known not only for its intense and strong-flavoured dishes, but also its richness and diversity. Some of the fresh herbs and roots that are prominent in Malay cooking include ginger, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, galangal, turmeric and chillies. Meanwhile, seafood and meat are ever-present in the diet of the Malay.
The Top 5:
Mulan Malaysian Restaurant is home to one of the finest Malaysian cuisines to ever grace Auckland. Headed by Chef James Balakrishnan, Mulan brings home-style cooking to Birkenhead, Auckland in a more intimate setting that creates a fantastic atmosphere.
Here, foodies at heart can take their Malaysian food experience to the next level by choosing all types of Malay food – even for the most discerning of tastes and for those who have strict dietary requirements.
This Southeast Asian restaurant boasts flavoursome dishes from appetisers to their sweet endings. Whilst traditional versions made of meat and seafood are available, Mulan sets itself apart from others in that it also offers vegetarian and vegan dishes and substitutes to cater to just about anyone.
Those who visit this and who want to start their meal right should order the freshly steamed buns with the option to have sticky pork or Thai chicken. Brighten this up with a salad of your choice, such as the grilled prawn and papaya salad, before driving home to one of their signature dishes, including the beef Massaman which gives way to a wonderful blend of spices finished in a decadent coconut cream sauce.
Another one of the Auckland restaurants to have the best Malaysian food is no other than Pappa Rich. Apart from its open-kitchen concept, this restaurant takes the cake when it comes to serving up a family-friendly time.
A feast for the eyes and for the palate, Pappa Rich’s menu is true to its name, with an extensive list of Malay items that everyone can enjoy. For comfort food items that bring joy to kids and kids at heart, you cannot go wrong with cereal prawns, the nasi lemak with curry chicken and sambal prawns, and of course, the buttery roti canai.
Pappa Rich also has vegetarian and vegan options for those who are not meat or seafood eaters. This ensures that there is something for everyone, even for children and adults who are just getting to know what Malay food really is.
Next on this list is Mutiara which first opened its doors in 1996. As one of the more established restaurants on this list, you can expect no less than an authentic and no-frills dining experience unlike any other.
Although Mutiara can only seat a few people at a time, a maximum of around 35, it certainly makes up for it with its Halal, vegetarian and vegan food that’s as delicious as they come. Of course, the intimate setting is even elevated with the unassuming food that’s presented on your table.
One of the best Malaysian dishes you can come across in this restaurant is the ikan bakar. This fish, whole or filleted according to your liking, is grilled in banana leaves, with its spices peeking through, definitely kicking your meal up a notch. Meanwhile, there’s also lemak laksa for those who want a comforting noodle meal finished off with a serving of spicy coconut gravy and all the trimmings you could want – bean sprouts, bean curd, chicken, prawns and more.
For Malaysian food that goes beyond the usual, there’s nothing like Mamarich Café in Greenlane to widen your knowledge of Malay cuisine. As a matter of fact, this is the usual spot for many locals for its authentic Malaysian-style cooking brought by food lovers from Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
This café provides various Malay food from different regions, perfect for introducing your palate to something you have never tried before. Some of the food items you will come to love include char kuey teow boasting of smokey flavours against the soft flat rice noodles and the Bak Kut Teh, a delicate spare ribs soup made from herbs and spices that will invigorate the soul.
From soups to different types of delectable rice dishes, you will surely come to know Malaysia one meal at a time with Mamarich Café.
Last but certainly not least on this list is KK Malaysian Cuisine. With over 15 years in the business, it seems that this Malaysian restaurant has proven time and time again why Malay cuisine stands the test of time – because of its balanced use of herbs and spices coupled with their masterful flavouring.
The restaurant may be on the smaller end, but it does make up for its space by using the finest local ingredients and turning it into magic by with the help of its executive chef. Even its interiors take pride in showcasing the cultural diversity that Malaysia is known for.
As for food, you can share dishes family-style and try the Assam fish using a whole snapper. Laced with a generous serving of tamarind sauce over it and garnished with tomatoes, onions and cucumber, this can make for a refreshing meal together with some spring rolls.
Not to be missed is their popular KK special chicken. KK Malaysian Cuisine’s version is unique in that it makes use of chilis, garlic, onion, curry leaves and spring onion to pack in some flavour to its beloved chicken, leaving you wanting more. The mummy chicken, with a dark, caramelised sauce, is worth trying as well as the beef curry.