Malaysian Street Food: Roti babi (fried pork sandwich)

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The name roti babi literally means ‘pork bread’, a dish of peranakan straits heritage, often referred to as nonya cuisine due to the cultural identity of women, the cooks as ‘nonyas’.

Essentially, and very vaguely they are the descendents (the word Peranakan translates as ‘descendent’ in both Malay & Indonesian Bahasa, according to Wikipedia) of Chinese traders who settled into Malaysia, Singapore and parts of Indonesia and whilst retaining their home culture they took to their new environments, married locals and over time fused everything together to create their own, unique culture.

There’s a tonne of interesting foodie things that have come from nonya culture.

Roti babi cake at Yut Kee restaurant Kulala Lumpur`

Roti babi is a sort of fried pork sandwich. French toast with an Asian twist, if you will.  Slices of white bread are filled with a mixture of ground pork, crab meat onions, garlic and a spicemix. The whole mixture is egg coated and fried. It’s often best eaten with Worcestershire sauce and chillies.
It’s absolutely calorific, indulgently greasy Chinese Malaysian dish that is increasingly hard to find available from hawkers. Yut Kee in Kuala Lumpur is an old school Kopitiam well worth visiting, and a place to pick up a roti babi.

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Malaysian street food : Mee siam (Siamese style noodle salad)

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During our trip to Melaka we were really keen to try as much as possible of the Nyonya, or Peranakan food we could get our hands on. Melaka is a fantastic city in general for eating, and whiling days away doing little –  we will definitely be going back.

Mee siam, or Siamese noodles is a one dish meal of fried vermicelli noodles, served quite dry and with a spicy but slightly sour sauce that coats the noodles.

The noodles are topped with a variety of additions including any combination of chicken, spring onions (scallions, salad onions) beansprouts, boiled egg shredded cucumber, sliced omelette, fish cake, tofu and fresh sambal.

Mee siam

Mee siam

We really enjoyed the sour spicy kick of the noodles with just enough gravy to lubricate without making it sloppy. It was almost like a fresh, noodle salad. According to some interest research there is also a variation in Singapore where a more wet gravy is preferred.

Mee siam is served with calamansi lime, a small sharp lime around the size of an avocado stone which usually has green unripe skin which develops to an orange colour.

Baba low, outside of the main central area has great mee siam at around five Ringgit. They also serve popiah, laksa lemak and pai tee.

Phrases worth knowing 

Satu – One
Dua – Two
Tiga – Three
Hello  – Hello
Apa kabar – are you well/ how are you?
salamat pagi – good morning
Salamt tingal – goodbye
sila (see luh) – please
Terima kasih –  Thank you (people will often respond with ‘sama sama’ which means’ you’re welcome)
berapa harga – how much?
tidak pedas – no chilli
bungkus – Take away
Tidak – No
Ya – yes
Maaf – sorry

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