Malaysia Country Guide



Dietary Restrictions

Eating Halal
Being a Muslim country, finding halal food (permitted for Muslims) in Malaysia is easy, but most Chinese stalls and restaurants are non halal. Ask if in doubt. Meals at Malay and Indian Muslim establishments as well as Western fast food restaurants (e.g. McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut) are halal. Restaurants at major hotels are not certified "halal" since they serve alcohol but food are often prepared halal. Local Muslims will eat at Western, Chinese and Indian eateries if there is a halal sign on the walls. Most restaurants tend to display their halal certification or sign issued by a government agency, usually JAKIM.

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KFC restaurant in Port Dickson

KFC restaurant in Port Dickson

Vegetarianism is well-understood by the Chinese and Indian communities (not so by the Muslim Malays and other indigenous minorities). Many restaurants or hawker stalls will be able to come up with something on request for a vegetarian meal. However, do not rely entirely on menu descriptions since innocuous-seeming vegetable dishes like "fried vegetables" will often contain meat bits, shrimp paste and fish sauce. Upmarket Western restaurants, will normally have some good vegetarian options. 

Chinese vegetarian restaurant

Indian restaurants usually have very good vegetarian selections. The roti (Indian flat bread such as roti canai, roti naan, capati, tosai) are good choices and insist on being given dhal (a vegetarian-based lentil curry dip) lest you'll be given a fish or chicken curry dip. Purely vegetarian Chinese restaurants (often serving remarkable 'imitation meat' products made from tofu, gluten, etc.) are available in the cities where there is a large ethnic Chinese population.

Indian restaurant in Bangsar
Indian restaurant in Bangsar
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