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Malay Dinner at Perhentian Islands, Malaysia.

Malay Dinner. When we talk about Malay dinner, we usually at the project will imagine a luxurious and delicious dinner that surely makes your mouth water. After a very long day doing snorkel surveys at foraging ground, kayaking, snorkelling, beach cleaning and trekking, having Malay Dinner as a treat is irresistible.

In Malay custom, we usually eat by sitting on the floor. Traditionally, we only eat food using our right hand, as our left hand is used to do ‘dirty businesses’ in the toilet. Before we start eating, we must wash our hands. As a Malay courtesy, you need to take the dish that nearest to you, before you take the others. Sometimes, when you go to someone’s house for Malay dinner, they will give you rice (as rice is our staple food in Malaysia), and if you think the rice is too much for you, and you surely cannot finish the rice, you need to politely ask if you can have small amount of rice before you start the meal. When you end you dinner with a lot of rice leftover in your plate, it means you did not appreciate the food, and also wasting is not part of Malay culture. Usually a mom will cook for dinner, and they love if people eat a lot, and always ask you to add more rice! Also, they will love it if you can finish all the dishes they prepared for you!

After a long day working hard and sweat till your clothes wet, night is time you for you to rest and relax after you had your hearty dinner. Among Malays, we usually wear Sarong Batik for ladies and Sarong Pelikat for guys. Sarong is very comfortable and the materials are made from cotton and will not make you feel hot. When our team attending Malay Dinner in the Perhentian village, we will wear sarongs and dress properly. There are two different ways in wearing sarong. Guys will roll their sarong at their waist, while ladies will flip their sarongs and tuck in.

Generally in Malay Dinner, they will cook one type of protein, one type of vegetables, lots and lots of rice and some ‘ulam’ like fresh cucumbers, long beans and stinky beans that you dip in a spicy sauce. Malay use a lot of spices and coconut milk in most of their dish. Malay loves spicy food, and you can easily find any spicy sauce at most of Malay restaurants that you eat with rice at every meal even for breakfast!

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