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In Malaysia, You Can Drink Fresh Watermelon Juice Straight From the Rind

Malaysia Food + Drink
by Matador Creators Jan 26, 2023

Malaysian street food is famous for being some of the most delicious, flavorful, and varied in the world. Part of what makes it so distinctive is a mixture of Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences. From the hawker centers of Kuala Lumpur to the night markets of Penang, vendors sell everything from grilled satay, to rendang curry, to the national dish nasi lemak, which is made from a base of coconut-infused rice served with toppings like anchovies, peanuts, eggs, and cucumber. Street sweets are just as ubiquitous, especially cendol, a dessert that consists of coconut milk, shaved ice, and palm sugar syrup topped with green jelly noodles and red beans.

Beverages are no exception, including teh tarik, a black tea sweetened with condensed milk and shaken until frothy. But one of the simplest and most refreshing drinks you can easily track down on the streets of Malaysia are fresh fruit juices, such as the watermelon juice featured below.

@foodwtf #Streetfood vendor in #Malaysia selling fresh watermelon juice 🍉 🎥 @Hamdan Mubarak #foodie #foodtiktok #streetfoodmalaysia #watermelonjuice ♬ Fuchill – ZOULABEAN

Where to try the best street food in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia’s capital city is a street food powerhouse. There are a few specific streets where travelers should go first to delve into the scene. The first is Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang where an array of hawkers sell everything from char koay teow (stir-fried rice noodles) to crispy roti canai (a southern-Indian-style flatbread). Another must-visit street food destination in Kuala Lumpur is Petaling Street in Chinatown. As for the national dish, nasi lemak can be found all over the city but is especially popular around Kampung Baru and Bangsar.

Penang Island

An island off the Malay Peninsula, Penang is home to some of the liveliest hawker centers in Malaysia, especially in the multicultural capital city George Town. Seafood is particularly popular on the island and is sold both freshly caught and as delicious dishes such as assam laksa (tamarind- and fish-based noodle soup). Gurney Drive Hawker Center is one of the busiest street food centers on the island. For a stop that’s equally satisfying but much more underrated, try Ayam Iter Market near the Kek Lok Si Temple in the Ayer Itam suburb of George Town. You’d be hard-pressed to find better char kuey teow (stir-fried flat noodles), laksa (spicy noodle soup) or nasi kandar (rice with curry) at Ayer Itam Market.


Melaka is a coastal city in southwestern Malaysia and the capital of the state of Malacca. One of its main attractions is Jonker Street, the main drag of Melaka’s Chinatown, and the night market located there. There, you’ll find a wealth of Nyonya cuisine that was brought to Malaysia by Peranakans, early Southern Chinese settlers along the Southeast Asian coast. Classic Nyonya dishes include ayam pongteh (chicken stewed with potatoes) and otak otak (grilled fish cake). Be sure to visit Heeren Street, as well, a short stretch of the Melaka UNESCO Heritage Core area where you’ll find even more delicacies, such as apom balik (peanut and corn pancakes).

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