Faces of

Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea, some 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. The islands are a part of Malaysia’s Kedah state, but are adjacent to the Thai border. By far the largest of the islands is the eponymous Pulau Langkawi with a population of about 45,000. The island is a declared duty-free zone.

The peak season is from December to March when moonson at the eastcoast shuts down most of the Islands there (Perhentian etc.). This makes Langkawi a good island alternative during that time period. Generally though, Langkawi can be visited all year around.


Ipoh is the apital of the state of Perak and the fourth largest city of peninsular Malaysia with a population of 760,000 (Metro area: 1.4 Mil). It is scenically located amoung karst limestone hills in the Kinta Valley, about 2 1/2 hours north of Kuala Lumpur. The city is somehow forgotten by most travellers in Malaysia, however it has a lot to offer with many colonial buildings and shophouses (it used to be a very rich city around the turn of the 19th century due to tin mining) and the nature (hills, caves) around. Among Malaysians it is known for good food like the popular Ipoh Chicken Rice.

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Kek Lok Si Temple in Penang

Breakfast in Malaysia

I know it is very convenient when the hostel of your choice offers breakfast included and after having rice for so long you just enjoy the cornflakes or bread as if it was most exclusive delicacy. Oh, you just had it this morning? Well, then there is no excuse. Tomorrow, you'll do it malaysian style. Outside. On a plastic chair. For around 2 Ringgit including a drink. Deal?
Roti Telur with Teh Ais, a classic

Roti Canai / Roti Telur

Roti Telur with Dal-Sambal sos and Teh-Ais (Ice Tea with condensed milk)
Roti Cani is a type of indian bread. You can get it at most indian and malay stalls. It is quite a sight to watch the masters at work when they prepare the dough for bread. They will toss it in the air until it beccomes super-thin and then they will fold it four times a fry it. After that they will literally beat the bread so that it becomes fluffy and you can see the various layers.
Sometimes you get curry with it and sometimes you get Dal with it to dip in. Personally, I prefer Dal Samabal, where a spicy chili sos (Sambal) is added to the Dal. To make to breakfast more wholesame, try Roti Telur with has egg inside. Sometimes people will add some Chilli and Onion too, a good stall anyway. I once tried the Roti Canai with condensed milk (susu manis), not my favorite but not bad at all.

How to order a Roti Telur with Dal Sambal and Ice Lemon Tea:
"Roti Telur. Satu. Dal Sambal. Teh O Ais Limau. Satu."
"Satu" here means that you only want one.
--> the science of ordering drinks in Malaysia


Tosai with Teh O Limau (Lemon Tea without condensed milk)
Tosai is a different type of indian bread. You will only find Tosai at indian stalls however. It is very thin and crispy. Here, the liquid dough is poured on the hot plate and then being spread by a cup. When it is done it appears quite enormous in size but usually a tosai appears bigger than it is since it is very thin and not as greasy as Roti Canai.

Tosai will be served on a metal plate with 3 small pockets each filled with a different sos. The standard sauces are Dal and Curry and the third sauce is usually different from place to place - different kinds of chutneys.

Tosai: looks huge but it's just a snack after all
Just like with Roti Telur you can also order Tosai with egg (Tosai Telur) or with sugar (Tosai Gula). If you want to eat Tosai for lunch or dinner, try Tosai Masala where it is fill with potatoes and other vegetables in a spice Masala sauce.
How to order a Tosai with a Teh Tarik (Teh with condensed milk):
"Tosai. Satu. Teh Tarik. Satu."
The "k" of "Tarik" is silent as any "k" at the end of a word in malay.
--> the science of ordering drinks in Malaysia

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak seems to be the most popular breakfast amoung all races in Malaysia. It's also eaten anytime during the day and a popular fast food at rest stops for example. Nasi Lemak (fat rice) is coconut rice with egg, sambal, anchovies, nuts, cucumber and sometimes chicken or fish. As the word suggests it is quite heavy. To heavy for me in the morning anyway.

Nasi Lemak is usually cold as it is already prepared and wrapped in a banana leave and newspaper. In the morning you will notice the small "pyramides" on the tables of the stalls. Now you know what is inside.

roti bread
telur egg
boss general word to call the "waiter"
satu one
dua two
tiga three
satu lagi one more
boss, kira we'd like to pay
terima kasih thank you
nandri thank you (tamil)
susu milk
manis sweet