While you might be doing the usual chores of souvenir shopping (looking out for key chains, fridge magnet, postcards, just to name a few), I would like to introduce you to something unusual which you could have as unconventional souvenirs – food souvenir as a gift. Malaysia, as a food heaven country, there are plenty of delighting food which may catch you in the midst of your trip. Here are some of my top pick of local food souvenirs for you to bring back to your home country.
Dodol is a sweet sticky toffee-like candy, made of coconut milk, brown sugar, or gula Melaka and rice flour, giving you a chewy texture. It has become one of the favorite local food products in Malaysia today. It usually comes in a cylinder or a block, but now commonly in a diamond shape for easy consumption. Apart from the original flavor, it is also available in interesting flavors such as pandan, mango, and pineapple. However, the most popular local food souvenir is durian dodol. The price differs with the packaging size, ranging from MYR 8 to MYR 25.
2. MyKuali Penang White Curry Noodle
Gaining its fame by being ranked seventh in The Ramen Rater’s Ten Spiciest Instant Noodles of All Time 2013 and 3 times in a row in the top ten instant noodle list from 2014 to 2016, MyKuali Penang White Curry Noodle is not only the love of Malaysians studying abroad, but it is now also a unique food souvenir to be brought back the taste of Malaysia. Each packet comes with a good quantity of noodles, along with non-dairy creamer sachet, soup powder, and the chili paste. Blending all these together gives you a chewy noodle in the rich and aromatic soup broth, tantalizing every taste bud of a spicy lover with its fiery hot sensation. It is now available in some of the supermarkets like Aeon, Giant, NSK, Sogo at about MYR 8.35.
3. White Coffee
Born in Ipoh, Malaysia, it is famous with a mixture of three kinds of coffee beans, Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica. These coffee beans are then uniquely roasted with palm oil margarine but without sugar, giving it a lighter hue of the roast. Traditional white coffee is brewed and served with sweetened condensed milk, and never fail to attract coffee lovers to take a sip of the aroma abounding and rich-tasting coffee. With the vast selection of instant white coffee in the supermarkets, it enables you to indulge yourself with this prominent aroma back in your office or to be served over coffee talk with your lovable friends. It is hard to crown which one is the best as it is very subjective to all, depending on the scale of sweetness and bitterness, as well as the texture of the coffee. The price for a packet of 15 to 20 sachets is around MYR 15.
4. Madu Kelulut
Madu is honey in the Malay language, while Kelulut is a type of stingless bee. This honey is light in color with sweet and sourish taste. Kelulut being the smaller size honey bee, is able to suck the honey in the deeper part of the flower, producing highly nutritious honey. According to Dr. Sharif Haron, Director General of Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi), it is a superfood which has 10 times the anti-oxidant and twice as nutritious as regular honey. It is known to enhance our immune system and digestive system, expedite the wound healing process, improve sleeping problems, and even as a beauty agent, decelerating the aging process. However, there are lots of products in the market that claimed to be pure but mostly are mixed with brown sugar, maltose, or have the moisture content remove whereas the heating process would have oxidized the original nutritional value. With impure products and processed honey on the market, the price is basically hard to determine. But here is one of the brands that I have tried that is genuinely pure and unprocessed stingless bee honey.
5. Durian Chocolate
Durian is one of the best food you shouldn’t miss in Malaysia especially if you are here in its season. Durian, being additive to the multitude, pairing with chocolate, an object of obsession to countless, is a perfect match. Remember to look out for those with durian fillings instead of artificial flavoring. Durian chocolate is available in various brands that are easily found in most chocolate boutiques. The price differs from brands and the size of packaging. Make sure you reserve some space in your luggage for the best food souvenir from Malaysia to blow your friends off!
6. Cooking Paste
If you are a fan of the Malaysian kitchen, the cooking paste will be your top choice. Among choices available are rendang, Kapitan curry, Nyonya curry, asam pedas, sambal seafood, laksa, bak kut the, and the list goes on! All come in convenient packaging with a detailed recipe and easy steps guide printed on the label. Leave your doubts behind regarding instant stuff, although they are ready-to-cook, it is truly authentic and as enticing as those you have in Malaysia. I bet these will be a great help in preparing an extraordinary feast for your relatives and friends. They are easily accessible in supermarkets with just RM4-7 per pack.
So why not get these on your coming trip? Instead of knickknacks and gimcracks, which usually end up as dust gatherers, these delectable Malaysian food souvenirs are really worth as a gift to your friends and family. With the cooking paste, your friends would definitely be impressed by your Malaysian dishes. Together with toothsome titbits as dessert, you are now a home country version of Malaysian!