Nobody can resist the allure of Malaysia’s pasar malam/kedai runcit/roti man snacks and comfort foods, many of which are perennial favourites. Every Malaysian has something they relish and cherish, whether they prefer savoury snacks or sweet treats.
But old school comfort food has a special place in our hearts – for Boomers and Gen X’ers, they’re super nostalgic; for Millennials and Gen Z’ers, they’re retro-chic. Not to mention, surprisingly delicious and addictive!
So here are 16 classic Malaysian snacks our taste buds will always remember:
Whenever the roti man rode into my housing area as a child, I would tell him to stop so I could get only one thing: Nyam Nyam. One of my all-time favourite Malaysian childhood snacks, Nyam Nyam Rice Crispy came in an iconic orange cup that was no bigger than a small fist. Rice crisps and a sweet, creamy chocolate dip are contained in two separate compartments of the tiny cup. It’s just divine how the crunch of the rice crisps blended with the sweet, fragrant dip! To eat, simply scoop some chocolate and dip it into the rice crisps.
Would you eat into the icing or the biscuit first? Or were you one of those mischievous kids who would lick off the frosting before giving your mom the biscuit to enjoy?
Ice jewels, commonly referred to as naval cookies, are a classic treat you won’t soon forget. Ice gems, which are small biscuits topped with a swirl of sweet, firm “icing,” are one of the few Malaysian foods that all children born between the 1960s and 1990s can bond over.
White Rabbit Candy
In Malaysia, White Rabbit Candy was once quite well-liked. This Chinese treat was essentially an edible rice paper-wrapped soft, chewy milk candy. They have such a potent aroma that you can’t just eat one. Occasionally, they would also adhere to your teeth, of course! Nowadays, it’s impossible to find White Rabbit Candy in its original form in Malaysia. Despite the wide range of tastes that are currently offered, I still like the original!
These two nibbles each provide a pleasant surprise. Wafer balls with chocolate coating make up Ding Dang and Tora. The packaging is the only distinction. While Tora’s mascot is a pencil with wheels, Ding Dang’s is like Doraemon. But let’s face it, the majority of customers purchased these snacks due to the entertaining toys they contain.
These hard-boiled candies’ variously-coloured wrappers represent the range of available flavours. Although the orange ones are widely used as cough drops to soothe a sore throat, we prefer the ones wrapped in white. These have a light lemony zing to them, which makes them pretty fragrant and delicious. They also come in clove, apple, and blackcurrant flavours.
Er Duo Bing
Er Duo Bing, sometimes known as “ear biscuits”, is a particular favourite among Malaysian Chinese. The ear-shaped biscuits have a distinctive aroma, and are incredibly flavourful, despite leaning more to the hard side of crispiness.
Unquestionably, choki-choki is one of the most popular Malaysian appetisers on this list. Rich chocolate wrapped in thin plastic tubes make up this decadent treat. Tear the top of the packet slowly and suck on the tube to receive a pleasant sugar rush. You may be a chocolate-covered mess by the end, but it’s always worth-it!
Most of us initially believed these were copper coins! The fruit of hawthorn plants is used to make haw flakes. They can be categorised as a wholesome Malaysian snack because they are dried fruit. These fruity candies come in the shape of thin discs and are typically packaged in their unmistakable pink wrappers. Haw flakes have a well-balanced flavour since they are both very sweet and slightly acidic at the same time.
You may have spotted these packets hanging from the roti man’s bike and wondered if they were edible. Of course, you can eat them. Every single biskut piring is thin and crispy, and every bite will leave some on your tongue. Although it resembles a frisbee, you may eat it.
Anyone who grew up watching cartoons on television in Malaysia will never forget the Apollo brand. Back then, their TV ads were the ones most frequently seen! The wafers come in two variants: white chocolate-coated and chocolate-coated. Of course, in addition to creamy wafers, the Apollo brand also produces other well-liked items, such as tiered cakes (the chocolate kind was our fave) and cookie sticks with chocolate filling.
Take our word for it when we suggest that eating a Polo Mint is similar to travelling to the North Pole. Yes, this underrated Malaysian delicacy is an O-shaped mint that is so cooling that it will feel like snow is falling in your mouth. Polo Mints have a sweet aftertaste that tempts you to eat more, while also instantly providing you minty-fresh breath.
Most people have at some point been Kopiko-obsessed. Similar to a standard cup of coffee, Kopiko is a useful tool if you need to wake up, and quickly! If you’ve never tried one, the simplest way to describe them is sweets with a coffee flavour. If you adore them, Kopiko candies will quickly take the place of Americanos as your favourite pleasure! A fascinating note about this Indonesian brand is that it appeared in the Netflix Korean drama Vincenzo. It has rich, aromatic coffee scents.
Super Ring may be the most emblematic snack in Malaysia. A well-known Malaysian politician’s social media post caused Super Ring to quickly become well-known in the past year. Additionally, the brand’s success isn’t only a function of marketing spin. The savoury and sweet cheese rings from Super Ring are well-known for two things: first, their bright orange hue, which leaves your fingers stained, and second, the fact that they are an extraordinarily tasty and cheesy snack. Once you hear the crunch of the first bite, you’ll undoubtedly find it tough to stop as you quickly consume the entire bag!
Another exceptionally well-known Malaysian treat is the enduringly well-liked Mamee Monster noodle snack. As the name suggests, it is a crunchy meal that looks like a brick of instant ramen. The phrase Crunch It, Shake It, Munch It refers to another technique of consuming this snack. To get the whole experience, just break up the Mamee packet into bite-sized pieces, add the flavour packet, and shake to mix. And eat! Several varieties are offered, including chicken, BBQ, and others.
Popo Fish Murukku
Another popular Malaysian dish that we all enjoy is popo fish muruku, which has been around since 1975. Biting into this delicious and incredibly affordable snack is a crunchy pleasure, enhanced by a truly lovely smell. They come in large and small packages.
Potong Ice Cream
Forget about all those expensive ice cream brands! Nothing beats potong ice cream for Malaysians in our formative years! These are essentially just popsicles created with familiar and adored local flavours like red bean, durian, yam, and others. They’s so simple, but people still enjoy them for their sweet flavours and the freezing chilly sensation they provide when consumed!