Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy located in Southeast Asia. It consists of thirteen states and three federal territories and has a total landmass of 329,847 square kilometers (127,350 sq mi) separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo). Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines. The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. In 2010 the population was 28.33 million, with 22.6 million living in Peninsular Malaysia. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia, located in the tropics. It is one of 17 mega diverse countries on earth, with large numbers of endemic species.
Malaysia is located in the equatorial region, and has a tropical rainforest climate. Located near the equator, Malaysia's climate is categorized as equatorial, being hot and humid throughout the year. The average rainfall is 250 centimeters (98 in) a year and the average temperature is 27 °C (80.6 °F).
The official language of Malaysia is Malaysian, a standardized form of the Malay language. English remains an active second language, with its use allowed for some official purposes under the National Language Act of 1967.Malaysian English, also known as Malaysian Standard English, is a form of English derived from British English. Malaysian English is widely used in business, along with Manglish, which is a colloquial form of English with heavy Malay, Chinese, and Tamil influences. The government discourages the use of non-standard Malay but has no power to issue compounds or fines to those who use improper Malay on their advertisements. Many other languages are used in Malaysia, which contains speakers of 137 living languages. Peninsular Malaysia contains speakers of 41 of these languages. The native tribes of East Malaysia have their own languages which are related to, but easily distinguishable from, Malay. Iban is the main tribal language in Sarawak while Dusunic and Kadazan languages are spoken by the natives in Sabah. Chinese Malaysians predominantly speak Chinese dialects from the southern provinces of China. The more common dialects in the country are Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainanese, and Fuzhou. Tamil is used predominantly by Tamils, who form a majority of Malaysian Indians. Other South Asian languages are also widely spoken in Malaysia, as well as Thai.
The current population of Malaysia in total is 30,267,367, a slight increase from 2013’s estimate of 29,791,949. Of this number, 50.7% (or 15,345,555) is the male population, and the remaining 49.3% (which is 14,921,811) is female population. Last year, the number of births taking place in Malaysia is 330,910 while deaths are recorded at 77,390.
The Malaysian constitution guarantees freedom of religion while making Islam the state religion.[ According to the Population and Housing Census 2010 figures, ethnicity and religious beliefs correlate highly. Approximately 61.3% of the population practice Islam, 19.8% practice Buddhism, 9.2% Christianity, 6.3% Hinduism and 1.3% practice Confucianism, Taoism and other traditional Chinese religions. 0.7% declared no religion and the remaining 1.4% practiced other religions or did not provide any information. Sunni Islam of Shafi'i school of jurisprudence is the dominant branch of Islam in Malaysia.
Malaysia's cuisine reflects the multi-ethnic makeup of its population. Many cultures from within the country and from surrounding regions have greatly influenced the cuisine. Much of the influence comes from the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Javanese, and Sumatran cultures largely due to the country being part of the ancient spice route. The cuisine is very similar to that of Singapore and Brunei, and also bears resemblance to Filipino cuisine. The different states have varied dishes, and often the food in Malaysia is different from the original dishes.
Sometimes food not found in its original culture is assimilated into another; for example, Chinese restaurants in Malaysia often serve Malay dishes. Food from one culture is sometimes also cooked using styles taken from another culture,]This means that although much of Malaysian food can be traced back to a certain culture, they have their own identity. Rice is popular in many dishes. Chili is commonly found in local cuisine, although this does not necessarily make them spicy.
1. Roti canai:
A classic Malaysian breakfast of Indian derivation, though this flaky finger food is good any time of day (and really good at about three in the morning). A dough of flour, egg, and ghee (clarified butter) is incredibly, almost unbelievably elastic; it's stretched quickly into a tissue-thin sheet, like pizza dough but even more dramatic, then folded back up and griddled. In its best form, right off the griddle, it's flaky and crisp like a good croissant on the outside, soft and steaming and a little bit chewy on the inside. It's also served with curry, often lentil dal; other versions are cooked with egg, or onion, or sardines.
2. Chicken curry:
A whole genre, rather than a distinct dish, you'll find curries of all sorts on Malaysian tables, a bowl of rice usually not far away. Malaysian versions tend to start with a rempah, a complex paste of spices and aromatics that's cooked together and forms the base of the curry; like so many of the country's dishes, they tend to make use of coconut milk, too. They're often served with
3. Roti jala:
Thin, netlike crepes with turmeric and coconut milk, the batter quickly drizzled in concentric circles to form the elegant, delicate shape. (Learn to make them here!) They're always served alongside another dish, like the curry we just met, though I harbor fantasies of making a pile and sprinkling them with cinnamon-sugar, or drizzling them with melted Nutella, or just buttering them and eating them plain for breakfast.
4. Asam laksa:
There are endless varations of laksa, Malaysia's beloved noodle soup, but there are two umbrella categories: asam laksa and curry laksa. The former, pictured here, has a tart tamarind-based broth and is generally cooked with a flaky white fish; noodles on the bottom, cucumber and pineapple and the bitter torch ginger flower to top. It's a little diferent everywhere you get it: in Penang, pictured here, it's often particularly tart and spicy; the city's proximity to Thailand is reflected in their penchant for those flavors.
5. Curry laksa :
The richer member of the laksa family, thanks to coconut. (Learn how to make curry laksa here!) The rempah (spice paste) of turmeric and ginger and lemongrass, chilies and belacan, imparts flavor to the coconut milk broth; along with noodles, it'll be topped with shrimp, tofu puffs (that soak up the rich broth), cucumber, fish balls, and eggs.
Wait, I thought satay was Thai!" Malaysians will proudly declare that they have the best satay, and that others have just been more successful at marketing it. (Thailand and Indonesia, to name two, might contest that.) But you'll see satay all over the place in Malaysia, towering piles of skewers in hawker stalls that are tossed on the grill once you order. Penang food writer Helen Ong distinguishes Malaysian satay by its peanut-based "sweet and slightly piquant sauce" and the "meats marinated with local spices."
7. Popiah :
Rolls of shredded turnip, jicama, and other crisp veggies, along with perhaps peanuts or egg or tofu, all wrapped in a thin, pliant wheat crepe.
8. Hainanese chicken rice:
Like many of Malaysia's signature dishes, it originated somewhere else (Hainan, natch) but adapted to suit local taste. Its chicken boiled in stock and served cool alongside rice (which has also been cooked in chicken stock) and dipping sauce. "It is quite different than it is in Hainan Island--we have added chili to the ginger and garlic condiment it goes with," says Malaysian food writer Helen Ong. "We like our food spicy!
9. Mee goring:
Stir-fried noodles, which take many forms. You'll often see yellow noodles quickly wok'd up with soy, garlic, shallots, and chilies; along with them might be shrimp or chicken, beef or vegetables. It's fantastic street food; many hawkers use roaring charcoal fires, and their smoky flavor really makes anything cooked over it.
10. Beef rending:
A slow-cooked dry curry deeply spiced with ginger and turmeric, kaffir lime and chilis. (You'll find chicken, vegetable, and seafood rendang as well.) In Malaysian fashion, it fuses sweet, sour, and savory elements, the curry picking up a creamy richness from two forms of coconut and an elusive tang from asam keeping, slices of a sour sun-dried fruit.
1- Royal Selangor Visitor Centre:
Founded in 1885, Royal Selangor is the world’s foremost name in quality pewter, a brand synonymous with design and craftsmanship. In the hands of its skilled craftspeople, this versatile alloy of tin, copper and antimony is transformed into an endless variety of homeware and gifts, sold today in more than 20 countries around the world.
2- Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery:
If you have only a few hours to spare in Kuala Lumpur, one great way to spend it is to drop into one of the best kept secrets in Kuala Lumpur: the Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery located at Jalan Dato’ Onn. The Museum and Art Gallery is housed in the impressively sleek complex of glass and titanium, Sasana Kijang, the Central Bank of Malaysia’s centre of learning excellence.
3- Petronas Twin Towers:
Soaring to a height of 451.9 meters, the 88-storey twin structure is Kuala Lumpur's crown jewel. Majestic by day and dazzling at night, the PETRONAS Twin Towers is inspired by Tun Mahathir Mohamad's vision for Malaysia to be a global player. Together with master architect Cesar Pelli, the international icon powerfully captures the nation's ambitions and aspirations.
4- Dewan Filharmonik Petronas:
DEWAN FILHARMONIK PETRONAS (DFP) is home to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) and is Malaysia’s concert hall devoted specifically to classical music. Located in the PETRONAS Twin Towers, it was officially opened on 17 August 1998 by the patron of the MPO, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Haji Mohd Ali and former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
5- Batu Caves:
Batu Caves is a an iconic and popular tourist attraction in Selangor. Site of a Hindu temple and shrine, Batu Caves attracts thousands of worshippers and tourists, especially during the annual Hindu festival, Thaipusam. A limestone outcrop located just north of Kuala Lumpur, Batu Caves has three main caves featuring temples and Hindu shrines.
6-Gunung Mulu National Park:
Mulu Caves National Park is home to one of the longest networks of caves in the world. Here lies the world’s largest underground chamber, the Sarawak Chamber, capable of accommodating forty Boeing 747 airplanes.
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