Exotic Malaysian Food in London (Malaysia Hall Canteen)

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Very spicy fried rice noodles (kway teow)

Very spicy fried rice noodles (kway teow)

Let’s talk about authentic, exotic Malaysian food. The list is endless but there are some very popular ones which will always remain as my favourite. I had written about it before but this time it’s special because I went with my daughter to this Malaysian place in London to eat. It’s commonly called Malaysian Hall Canteen. It serves the cheapest and most authentic Malaysian food….cooked by Malay chefs.

I thought it interesting how my daughter, Sharon, and I see and share things quite differently. She shared her interesting part of the story in her blog about eating at the Malaysian Hall Canteen (Cafe) London.

Now, I’ll tell you how good it is. My girl whispered to me on the plane to go to Malaysian Hall for dinner. HUH….CRAZY!! This means putting down our luggages in our accommodation and straight go there. Do you believe that I did that? Taking 2 underground tubes and further walking there in this freezing weather? I mean after landing? It’s just not me. But I lost again. That’s the weakness of a mother sometimes. It’s either I go or I would have to bear with her pestering through the night and be dragged off the next morning, most likely eating lunch and even dinner there!

Noodle soup

Noodle soup

Each time I went there, it would usually be the same thing we ordered. But this time, we ordered a new one…..noodle soup. It was really delicious. The soup was peppery and tasty, just perfect for the freezing weather. We had a special friend to join us so we had more to share.

Teh tarik ('pulled tea')

Teh tarik ('pulled' tea)

As usual, teh tarik (a special, popular ‘pulled tea’) is a must to order. Sometimes we ordered 2 glasses each. I think I can even drink 4 glasses! Looking at the 3 glasses, I just feel amused. I try to figure out how they were at the same level…haha. We must have liked it so much we all gulped it down together without any second thought.

Eating with hand

Eating with hand

While waiting for my food, I noticed a Malay lady next table eating with her hands. Now, don’t be too surprised or judgemental. This is the way most Malays and Indians eat in Malaysia. Please, for goodness sake, don’t keep staring at them or pass unkind remarks. It’s just part of the culture. They do wash their hands very clean before eating. I am always curious and amazed at how they manage to gather the food together before putting it cleanly into their mouths. I would have dirtied my nose, my cheeks and my chin if I do that…haha. You can try to imagine how I look…..*wink*

Mi hoon and kway teow mixed

Spicy mi hoon and kway teow mixed

I ordered fried rice vermicelli (mi hoon) which was not spicy. But my spicy-loving daugther loves spicy food. She ordered fried spicy rice noodles (kway teow) shown above (first picture). When her plate of fried rice noodles came, she tried one mouth and went, ‘Arrrrggggh, SO spicy!’ I tried a little and my gosh….it burned my tongue. That was seriously spicy. I think they used the tiny bird-eyed chillies (cili padi). The only solution….mix up my dish and her dish. So we had fun doing our own ‘frying’ on the table….haha. Was it still spicy? Of course it was but more toned down. It was still too spicy for me but Sharon loved it. You can imagine her cheeky grin as she ate my share!! I felt cheated. But what to do? My own sweet, loving, adorable daughter! I lost again! She tucked in happily, smiling away.

Long queue

Long queue

While my girl went for an appointment the next day, I went to Westfied where there was a Malaysian food fair going on. Several stalls were set up, each cooking and selling its own specialties, some similar types. There were long queues at some stalls while others were not doing too well.

Grilling satays

Grilling satays

The stall that did the best was the satay stall. The queue was long and the satays were not grilled fast enough for sale. The picture here showed the usual way satays were cooked back in Malaysia. They are often sold at road side stalls or shops, by the sticks and not by the plate as in UK here.

Malaysian chicken satays

Malaysian chicken satays

The satays tasted very delicious. The sauce was really good. However I was quite disappointed that chicken breast meat was used instead of chicken thigh. The meat was tougher and more bland. Chicken thigh meat is juicy and tender. Back home satays are not in big chunks and so they cook very quickly. The marinade also gets into the meat quicker so the meat itself is also very tasty. I guess this is to cater to the western palate. This plate here cost £5. It was served as usual with cucumber, rice cubes and sliced red onions. You can use other types of meat to make satays.

Making teh tarik

Making teh tarik

I was delighted to find teh tarik stall. It was perfect for the freezing weather. I was thrilled to find the man performing his teh tarik skill right in front of his stall. He drew a crowd. In fact he was giving away small cups of teh tarik as samples to passers by. He had very good business. I often do this at home, too. All you need is 2 cups to pour the tea into each other from a height. Be careful if you are trying it out at home. Just don’t get burnt as you may splash and spill. It takes practice to get it right. You can also try it out with milo or coffee. By ‘pulling’ the drink, you incorporate air into it and gives the drink a special aroma and taste.

Sambal fried noodles (mi goreng)

Sambal fried noodles (mi goreng)

Here is a very delicious bowl of sambal fried noodles (mi goreng) served with a piece of fried chicken drumsticks. It cost £5, too. The portion is small. Actually it’s just the sambal sauce scooped over the noodles and you mix it up yourself. You can easily do this at home using my sambal at Easy Nasi Lemak Overseas - Malaysia’s Great Favourite.

Sambal is an important condiment in many Malaysian dishes. If you like Malaysian food and want to learn to cook it, this is one that you must try to make. You can add to almost all dishes or eat it together with other dishes.

Nasi lemak and other food

Nasi lemak and other food

In the picture here, you can see the nasi lemak in the forefront. At the right you see the spicy prawn crackers. The ones sold here are nothing compared to the real thing. These prawn crackers are very delicious, full of flavour. Prawns and fish crackers are very popular in Malaysia. We love it with spicy cucumber pickles (called acar), a great favourite during Chinese New Year.

At the top left in the picture here, you see curry puffs, another great Malaysian favourite. These are sold all over in Malaysia and often eaten for breakfast or any time of the day. If you like to make it yourself, I have a very nice spiral curry puff recipe which is deep fried. Check it out at Spiral Chicken Curry Puffs (Part 1 - Filling) and  Spiral Chicken Curry Puffs (Part 2 - Pastry). If you want less work, you can use the pastry for my Peanut Puffs.

Roti canai (layered flat bread)

Roti canai (layered flat bread)

Another of my great favourite, in fact every Malaysian’s favourite, is the famous roti canai. It’s pronounced as ‘roh tee char naai’. Several of my Western friends here pronounced it as ‘roh ti chey ney’. They are often served with lentil curry but you can also ask for other types of curry. It is quite a lot of work to make at home.

grilling roti canai

grilling roti canai

This is how roti canai is made…… grilled on a big metal plate and served hot to customers.

If you ever travel on Malaysian airlines, you will always be served with some of these specialties, especially if you travel in business or first class. I was thrilled when Jill Colonna at Mad About Macarons shared in my nasi lemak post comment box this:

Your post has just taken me right back to the most memorable and romantic of our trips: Nasi Lemak was our first ever dish served on our honeymoon; in 1st class Malaysian Airlines. I’ll never forget getting that served with such class and surprise for breakfast! Thank you, Mary, for showing us how to try it at home. Could be more likely candidate for a Valentine dish in our household ;-)

What a way to celebrate honeymoon and the coming Valentine’s day….with Malaysian food!

Other exotic Malaysian food that you may be interested in:
Best Fried Rice Noodles In London
Best Fried Noodles In London
Exotic, Authentic Malaysian Food In London
More Malaysian Food In London

If you like to try authentic Malaysian food, you can go to the Malaysian Hall at the location below. Maybe you can enquire more before going.
Location:
30-34 Queensborough Terrace

London W2 3ST
Area: Bayswater

0871 961 8354

Nearest Transit:
Bayswater (Circle, District)
Queensway (Central)
Hours:
Mon-Sun 8:00 - 22:00
Quote of the day……

“The first step in the acquisition of wisdom is silence, the second listening, the third memory, the fourth practice, the fifth teaching others.”

- Solomon Ibn Gabriol

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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52 Comments

Belinda @zomppa  on February 24th, 2011

You know how much I adore Malaysian food. And street food. So sad that is hard to find here.

skip to malou  on February 24th, 2011

Thank you for giving me a Malaysian food tour. It’s like watching Anthony BOurdan’s No Reservation… only the hosts are you and your daughter haha.
I love eating with hands, we do that too in the Philippines. Other than that, I should love to know more about Malaysian Food landscape as my exposure to it is very nil.

LeQuan  on February 24th, 2011

You and Sharon are hilarious! Us moms always seem to lose the battle when it comes to our kids. With the hubby, it’s a whole different story. I will fight till the end. Lol. I really need to try more Malaysian restaurants here. Only problem is there aren’t many authentic ones. And when they are authentic, they cost an arm and a leg. I need my arms and legs to pick my battles with the hubby…kekeke. I’m glad you explained why the tea needed to be poured at such a height or I would’ve asked. That really takes great practice. Reminds me of the time I traveled to Beijing and the waiter literally poured me my glass of tea from the opposite side of the table (one of those big round 12 ppl tables). I was in awe to see my tea fly across the table into my tea cup. Such perfect aim too. The sprout was shaped specially for them to do that though, but still amazing. Thank you for introducing all these authentic Malasian food to us. The Malaysian sauces are so wonderfully flavored. I must be quite careful though as some have peanuts in them. Sometimes I cannot resist and still eat it though because they are so yummy. I would absolutely love to experience authentic Malaysian cuisine with you and your “sweet, loving, adorable daughter” (tucked away smiling or not ;-)) someday. Thank you for sharing, Mary.

Swathi  on February 24th, 2011

Looks delicious food. nice place to eat.

Ginny Hartzler  on February 24th, 2011

What an interseting food tour. All of this is new information to me! I didn’t know that Malaysians eat with their hands. The soup looks the best to me. I see there is celery, broccoli, and noodles in it, but what is the white on top? Is it a poached egg, or maybe sour cream? I think I will try to make it. Thanks for the fun tour!!

Jeannie  on February 25th, 2011

Wow! You must have enjoyed yourselves very much tucking in all the delicious looking food! Makes me want to run out and get me some too!

kitchen flavours  on February 25th, 2011

Great post, Mary! Eating by using the hand can be quite fun and very appetizing, especially with spicy sambal! Have not done that for a long, long time! It is nice to know how Malaysian food is done over in London, are those vendors Malaysian themselves? It might be expensive but I guess for those Malaysians that find it not convenient to cook, wouldn’t mind to pay for something that they really miss from back home! Thank you for sharing this really interesting post. I like the part where both you and your daughter do your own char kway teow, very cute!

suituapui  on February 25th, 2011

Gosh! That’s like you never left home!

Loved the food at Malaysia Hall…and that was the only place in London where there were ants - when I was there. LOL!!

Mary  on February 25th, 2011

@Belinda @zomppa - looks like you have to try and make them at home…just like me :D

@skip to malou - Haha…love your description! :D I have tried to eat with hands but won’t describe to you how my face look…LOL. I can only manage to do that at KFC…finger-licking good!

@LeQuan - Haha….LeQuan, love you really. You always understand me as a mother! :D As for me, my hubby also wins all the time. He always eats my share too….hmmm. These days he commented, “You eat more than last time!”….cos I won’t share so much….LOL. Yes, authentic national food are just too pricey. I just find it hard to have to pay about £8 for a plate of fried rice without much ingredients in it. We can cook better ones at home. Blogging helps us to be better cooks, right? :D Whah….pouring tea from one side of the table to the opposite side!! Totally mind-blowing. I think I am going to practice that…maybe in the garden first with water…haha. Yes, we should go for Malaysian (also Vietnamese and Hong Kong) food together one day!

@Swathi - Thanks very much, Swathi! :D

@Ginny Hartzler - Yes, mainly the Malays and Indians eat with their hands. Other races usually go for chopsticks, or fork and spoon. Yes, it’s a poached egg there. have fun cooking :D

@Jeannie - Those were some of the rare times here when we just tucked in happily at all those food. Hard to get authentic Malaysian food elsewhere. Hope to visit it again sometime. Looking forward to more eating :D

@kitchen flavours - You eat sambal with hands? My gosh…thought your hand will feel hot and spicy! I think I just need to practice. Ya, those vendors are Malaysian but too often the food served is adjusted to suit the Western palate…not good. I hope I can cook real authentic Malaysian food here, with all the spices and sambal. I need to keep practising :D

@suituapui - Yes, we feel so at home there. The canteen looks just like our coffee shop back home, too, so are the chefs and the waiters and waitresses. Haha…I’m so amused when you said it was the only place with ants :D Hope there’s no lizards and cockroaches.

somewhere in singapore  on February 25th, 2011

The foods is so tempting..

Suman Singh  on February 25th, 2011

Street food are always near to my heart. And everything out there look so tempting and delicious…thanx for this great post dear!

Jill  on February 25th, 2011

Mary, I just adore your entertaining posts and what a surprise to see my comment at the end. (You do realise I don’t normally travel in first class seats. I think the flight assistants took pity on us poor looking honeymooners and decided to bump us up!)
Hard to believe that you can have all these Malaysian feasts in London. Just amazing photos and loved the one of the pouring ceremony of teh tarik. Looked an incredible feast and great fun! Have a super weekend. J x

Barbara  on February 25th, 2011

Yes, we do tend to let our daughters lead us, don’t we? But they often have the right idea. And yours certainly did this time. Love the photos especially of the man making teh tarik.
I’m intrigued by the roti canai too, Mary. It looks delicious.
Great post!

muppy  on February 25th, 2011

What a fantastic post. I have never tried a pulled tea before. And I have read about the roti canai but not yet tried. Everything looks so authentic.

shaz  on February 25th, 2011

I remembered eating at Malaysia Hall when I visited my uncle in London - well over 16 years or so now! It’s an institution huh? The fair looked fun too, everyone looks so rugged up for the cold though, you must have enjoyed your teh tarik very much :)

anncoo  on February 25th, 2011

These are all my favorites and I must try to make some Malaysian food at home too:)

divya  on February 25th, 2011

ohhh…droooooling here…perfect n tempting..

Chris  on February 25th, 2011

Hi Mary!

Just want to say thank you for dropping by my blog. Appreciate the support! I thoroughly enjoyed your post and all the delicious-looking pictures (they really got me drooling :-D). Will definitely check back again!

tasteofbeirut  on February 25th, 2011

Fascinating post and a big window opened on Malaysian food; I have had my curiosity awakened here and want to know more! Seeing people eat with their hands is not a big shock as it is done in some parts of the middle-east especially with bedouins. I love all this food and wish I could taste it!

sushma  on February 25th, 2011

wow all those food made me hungry:)…amazing clicks:)

Cookie  on February 25th, 2011

Hi Mary, When are you coming to London again? you have to take me there at your next trip.

RamblingTart  on February 25th, 2011

What a wonderfully fun thing to do with your daughter. :-) You were such a good sport going there right off the plane. :-) The noodle soup looks so scrumptious to me, and the tea. Mmm. :-)

Cooking Gallery  on February 25th, 2011

That Kway Teow looks so good…!! You’re lucky that you still can find some authentic Malaysian food abroad.

Namitha  on February 25th, 2011

wow..what an array of goodies..You are a great mom and you havea great daughter :-)

Uncle lee  on February 25th, 2011

Hi Mary….looking at your fantastic food pics, creative cooking….you not only have a black belt in cooking, but an artist in culinary skills.
You a graduate of The Swiss Finishing School?
You are good, love your beautiful displays and presentations…

Sometimes I wish can have 2 wives, one Malay,
one Chinese, as I love both cooking. Ha ha.
Have a nice day and keep a song in your heart.
Best regards, Lee.

Mary  on February 25th, 2011

@somewhere in singapore - They are just delicious! :D

@Suman Singh - Thanks very much, Suman! :D

@Jill - Thanks very much, Jill! Haha…your description! No, it’s not true. They do serve satays and nasi lemak in 1st class or business class. If you had told them it was your honeymoon, they probably would have given you a souvenir :D Hope you get to try more Malaysian food, I mean the authentic ones.

@Barbara - You are right. They often have great ideas. Without them our lives would be so boring. Hope you have the chance to taste authentic malaysian food :D

@muppy - Thanks very much! Hope you get to try them some day :D

@shaz - Wow…that is really a long time ago! It’s sort of an institution to take care of Malaysian students. Yes, I just love teh tarik…so delicious :D

@anncoo - Have fun cooking! :D

@divya - You can try to cook some :D

@Chris - Thanks very much for visiting and lovely comment, Chris! Love your blog :D

@tasteofbeirut - Oh I see…bedouins also eat with hands! I guess, many cultures adopt that. I love eating chicken with hands. It somehow tastes better :D Hope you get to taste some authentic Malaysian food.

@sushma - Thanks very much, Sushma! :D

@Cookie - Oh, sure I would love to take you there. Will let you know :D

@RamblingTart - That’s just crazy to go there from Heathrow. I must have been drunk…haha :D

@Cooking Gallery - So far that’s in London at Malaysian Hall…..not in Aberdeen though. I have to cook myself :D

@Namitha - Thanks very much, Namitha! :D

@Uncle lee - Thanks very much for your lovely compliments, Uncle Lee! I think a little too good to be true. I wish I can cook so well like what you think :P 2 wives?? No, I know you won’t. Well, after marriage, NO FISHING! :D

food-4tots  on February 25th, 2011

It’s really fun and exciting to do something unusual once in a while especially when it involved Msian food. Haha! I feel so hungry thinking about them now. ;)

Carolyn Jung  on February 25th, 2011

Roti, spicy noodles and tea that’s poured from five feet in the air. What a dazzling display for the senses. I’d try that trick with the tea at home, but I think I need to have a mop standing by. ;)

redkathy  on February 25th, 2011

WOW Mary, I have to read this one several times, lots of delicious looking food here. And you went from flying to food. The two tube rides would have been too much for me. Amazing what we do for our children isn’t it!

Have a blessed and lovely weekend.

Mary  on February 26th, 2011

@food-4tots - Yes, thoughts of Malaysian food always make me hungry. If I see pictures…even worse…haha :D

@Carolyn Jung - Haha…. yes, have the mop ready. I splashed the tea all over the place when I first tried it :D

@redkathy - That was one of the rare crazy things that I did. Hope it doesn’t happen too often! :D Hope you have a lovely weekend, too.

Joanne  on February 26th, 2011

What a great post! I love learning about different cuisines.

pigpigscorner  on February 26th, 2011

Malaysian hall does serve really good Malaysian food…I miss that place!

Cheah  on February 26th, 2011

That was a fantastic round-up of M’sian food. I have eaten in M’sia Hall too, agree with you that the spicy foods there were truly hot and spicy. When we were there, the next table was occupied by a group of SIA stewards and stewardess, can’t help overhearing for they were talking quite loudly. And when we boarded the plane to return home, they were the crew members on that flight. Small world.

rebecca  on February 26th, 2011

wow this place rocks must visit next time I am in London LOVE it

Lyndsey  on February 26th, 2011

Wow! What a treat for you. I know of several cultures that eat with their hands. I think it’s funny you got a photo of it! :D I would love some of the satay right now! Any chance you got some for me? Thanks! :D

5 Star Foodie  on February 26th, 2011

This place sounds great, I would sure love to try some of these authentic Malaysian specialties!

claire  on February 27th, 2011

Great that you can get some Malaysian food over there though i dare say you can do anytime better! :)

Mary  on February 27th, 2011

@Joanne - Thanks very much, Joanne! :D

@pigpigscorner - I guess you can find very good Malaysian Malaysian food in Manchester. Sadly, not in Aberdeen. Maybe I should open one…hehe :P

@Cheah - Oh wow…what a coincidence but a surprise too. I expect the air hostess not to be so loud…haha :D They look so sweet and soft when on duty. Must be airline etiquette. I wonder if they recognise you when you were on their flight.

@rebecca - Yes, indeed you should go if you want nice authentic Malaysian food :D

@Lyndsey - Haha, I was so happy that I managed to get a picture of that lady eating with hands. I had to be real quick to do that. Didn’t want to be ‘caught’ doing that :P Wait, I need to learn to make good satays….real authentic Malaysian ones.

@5 Star Foodie - Hope you get to try some soon :D

@claire - I wish I can cook as great as theirs! :D

crustabakes  on February 27th, 2011

I love malaysian street food, and teh tarik is one of my all time fave beverage!

lena  on February 27th, 2011

hi mary, i remember too when sharon was talking how good the food in malaysian hall earlier in her post. Those food really look good and very ‘malaysian’. When i was little, whenever my mum cooked sambal petai with rice, i will also used my hands to eat that but dont know why, i jsut stopped doing that later on. you are right on the satay, myself would prefer a little fat on the meat, they just taste better!

Faith  on February 27th, 2011

Fantastic post, Mary! You know, I don’t think I’ve ever had Malaysian food! I hope I have the chance to, as it looks really delicious!

Angie's Recipes  on February 27th, 2011

kway teow looks so good! I want some for the supper. :-))

noobcook  on February 27th, 2011

always good to know that one can find authentic Asian food in western countries. The chicken satays look great!

penny aka jeroxie  on February 28th, 2011

All the food looks pretty authenthic as well.

C1tr4  on February 28th, 2011

Anything I see here make mouthwatering… gosshhh.. I miss that kwee tiaw.. I can’t find here in Turkey :(
And btw, thx for visiting my page, nice to know U also :)

Mia's Bakehouse  on February 28th, 2011

Wow! I came onto your blog after your kind comment on my banoffee cupcakes, and was presented with this amazing article on malaysian food! Which interests me greatly as I am travelling across Malaysia in July and can’t wait to sample the food, as I adore Thai food and I imgaine it’s similar tastes :) Thank you for the insight! I will be sure not to order the fried spicy rice noodles, as they sound way too hot!x

Tastes of Home (Jen)  on March 1st, 2011

still remember this when I was studying in London hehe and my little brother is now there and also ate there haha. thanks for the reminder :)

kristy  on March 1st, 2011

Mary, I think your daughter was doing the right thing by dragging you there for the sake of the food. I would too! haha… It was so fun to do that once a while. Do they have this kind of activities every weeks or what, in London? Have fun again!
Cheers, Kristy

Mary  on March 4th, 2011

@crustabakes - Lovely to know you love Malaysian food :D

@lena - Yes, we never miss Malaysian Hall when we are in London, especailly if Sharon is around. This girl only thinks of good food :P Malaysian Hall is just the best and cheapest, though still very expensive if we convert. I look forward to going again.

@Faith - Thanks very much, faith! Hope you have a chance to try the authentic Malaysia food :D

@Angie’s Recipes - Time to cook, Angie! I wish I know how to cook like that :D

@noobcook - Thanks very much! :D

@penny aka jeroxie - Thanks very much, Penny! :D

@C1tr4 - Thanks very much for visiting and lovely comment!
Like you we don’t have a Malaysian restaurant here in Aberdeen, Scotland. maybe I should open one :D

@Mia’s Bakehouse - Oh wow…you are travelling across malaysia in July? Awesome! You are going to be confronted with lots and lots of mouthwatering food. Go for the fried kway teow but ask them not to make it too spicy…..just a little. Hope you have fun as you travel there :D

@Tastes of Home (Jen) - You must be so jealous each time he tells you what he eats there…haha :D Hope you brother enjoys his stay there.

@kristy - Oh no…dangerous to travel with you…haha. I don;t mind if the weather is good. Well, this is the first time I heard of this Malaysian fair in London. I was lucky t be there when they have it. I wish they have t more often. Maybe we should organise one in Aberdeen :D

Thas  on March 12th, 2011

I am drooling looking at these food picture, and a nice write up. I haven’t tried much of the Malay dishes, would love to someday. I often make Malaysian style Net pancakes or crepes. Didn’t know that Malays also eat food with their hands, also the picture of tea making reminded me of the street vendors making tea in my hometown. Wow, you do it too, that’s quite a skill!

mar  on March 21st, 2011

hellooooooooooooooo i´m from north of spain, i like your blog very mucho, ist nice and fantastic, i stay here to follow you .) (i hope your understand my english jajaja) :)

Ludivina Wiker  on June 17th, 2011

The ‘eating with hand’ shot is great ! Looks like an open air version of Oriental City (that used to be in Collindale, North London). I miss Oriental City.

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