We Malaysians have a strong love for all kinds of food. When you’ve tried it all, normal chicken soup and rendang just doesn’t cut it. In this article, we have compiled a list of “homegrown” exotic foods for you to try… If you dare. Every culture has its own exotic food, so here are what we think can possibly be Malaysia’s. Warning: Not for the weak hearted!

Kuala Lumpur

1. Bull Penis Soup

Yup, you heard it right. Bull penis soup is believed to enhance a male’s virility and is said to improve their performance in bed. This dish, “Sup Haji Abu Bakar” is served with Indian spices in a curry like broth at a street stall in Jalan Doraisamy. Besides bull penises, they also serve bull testicles if you are up for the challenge!

chopped up bull penis

vendor scooping soup

Image credit: teambuffet.com

Sup Haji Abu Bakar
Dang Wangi Asian Heritage Row, Jalan Doraisamy, Malaysia

Opening hours:
Mon – Sun: 1800 – 0000

Price: ~RM 10

2. Frog on a Stick

In KL’s most well-known night market, Jalan Alor, a stall sells deep fried frogs on sticks. Although frog’s legs are commonly eaten in Chinese cuisine (like in frog leg porridges), eating the entire frog is not as common. At this stall, the whole frog is deep-fried and eaten. Some say it tastes just like chicken!

frog on a stick 2 Image credit: charliedistracted.com

Frog on a stick
Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur

Opening Hours:
Mon- Sun: 1900 – 0000

Price: RM 25

3. Fried Pigs Brains (Non-Halal)

Love meatballs? How about trying fried pig brains? They look like normal meatballs on the outside until you bite into it. The smooth custardy texture and its unique taste is certainly not for the weak-stomached and is definitely an acquired taste. You can find this crazy dish at Restaurant Sek Yuen at Jalan Pudu.

fried pig brainsImage Credit: Seriouseats.com

Restaurant Sek Yuen

315, Jalan Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours:
Tues – Sun: 1100 – 1430, 1730 – 2200

Price: ~RM 25/ pax

4. Charcoal Barbeque Yong Tau Foo

Ever heard of barbecued Yong Tau Foo? Us neither. Yong Tau Foo is typically eaten with soup or eaten dried with some sauce over it. We wonder… If Yong Tau Foo is now barbecued, is it still considered Yong Tau Foo?

Try this new take on barbecued Yong Tau Foo, it might be your next favourite thing!

bbq yong tau fooImage credit: Old tricycle Facebook

Old Tricycle – The Original Charcoal Barbecue Yong Tau Foo

Jalan Desa Jaya, Taman Desa, 58100 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours:
Mon – Sun: 1800 – 0000, Tuesday closed

Price: ~RM 1.90

5. Nasi Lemak, Chicken Rice, Mango Sticky Rice Sushi

Next on the list, we have weird fusion sushi! Ruyi & Lyn, the creators of this amazing concept combined well-loved food in Malaysia with the Japanese sushi, and this is the product:

Ruyi and lyn sushi platter
Ruyi and lyn sushi platter
Hainanese Chicken Rice Sushi, Nasi Lemak Sushi, and Mango Sticky Rice Sushi
nasi lemak sushi
Look at that tiny Nasi Lemak egg!

Image credit: im-chloe.blogspot.com

Ruyi & Lyn Restaurant 

Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours:
Mon – Sun: 1200 – 1500, 1800 – 0200

Price: RM 43

6. Nasi Lemak Ice Cream

Okay, so Nasi Lemak isn’t exactly what most people would call “exotic” at first sight. But what about Nasi Lemak ice cream?

Most people expect their desserts to be sweet, so how about trying this wacky Gelato flavour? This Nasi Lemak flavoured Gelato is sure to mess with your taste buds – the sweet Cielo Dolci’s Gelato base, combined with the savoury and crunchy Ikan Bilis bits, put together and completed by spicy sambal flakes will leave you wondering if you’re really having dessert!

Here’s a bonus: this cafe delivers.

So for days when you just want to dine in? Place your order on Foodpanda! There are Foodpanda vouchers that gives you up to 50% off your meals so keep your eyes peeled for them.

nasi lemak gelatoImage credit: Cielo Dolci Facebook

Whimsical – Gelateria & Cafe 

D2-G5-05, Publika Shopping Gallery, 1 Jalan Dutamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours:
1100 – 0000

Price: ~RM 10

Another Ice cream shop that has joined in the Nasi Lemak craze is Skream Soft Serve. They created their own version of the ice cream with REAL ingredients like Ikan Bilis, cucumbers, sambal, and even egg! Go try it out!

nasi lemak soft serveImage credit: Skream Facebook

Skream Soft Serve
33-A, Jalan PSK 1, Pekan Simpang Kuala, Alor Setar

Opening hours:
1400 – 2200, Monday Closed

Price: ~RM 10


7. Porcupine Rendang

We all know that Rendang is a popular dish all over Malaysia and is commonly cooked with beef. It is no surprise that some ambitious people would try to create their own take on rendang. Restoran Lembah Bernam is famous for their exotic dishes and has taken it to a whole new level by using porcupine or landak meat. According to other reviews, the porcupine meat did not have any distinct smell or taste which makes it much more palatable, in our opinion.

porcupine rendangImage credit: Emily2u.com

Restoran Lembah Bernam
Jalan Main Canal, Tali Air 9, Sekincan, Pasir Panjang, Selangor.

Opening hours: 
Mon – Sun : 1100 – 1700,  Friday Closed

1kg – RM 120
500 g – RM 60
300 g – RM 36

8.Black Pepper Venison

Another one of their Restoran Lembah Bernam’s exotic creations is black pepper venison. The venison meat is cooked in a thick and rich black pepper sauce that may not look appetising but is certainly the most appetising dish so far. Venison meat is tender and soft and is considered to be a delicacy in Malaysia.

black pepper venisonImage credit: easytraveller.net

menuImage credit: Restoran Lembah Bernam Facebook

Restoran Lembah Bernam
Jalan Main Canal, Tali Air 9, Sekincan, Pasir Panjang, Selangor.

Opening hours:
Mon – Sun : 1100 – 1700,  Friday Closed

1kg – RM 80
500 g – RM 40
300 g – RM 24

Kuching, Sarawak

9. Sago Grubs

This won’t be an exotic food article without mentioning these grubs. Although considered a local food in Sarawak, not all locals eat these grubs because I would expect it takes some form of courage to put a live squirming insect into your mouth. However, Sago grubs are extremely nutritious with more vitamins, unsaturated fats, and minerals with less cholesterol than common meats like chicken or beef. So if you are thinking of leading a healthier lifestyle, perhaps try eating Sago Grubs.

sago grub
Sago grubs can be eaten raw (alive), with their heads twisted off first.

Image credit: mysabah.com

barbecued sago grubs
Sago grubs can also be cooked in various ways, most commonly stir-fried.

Image credit: Wikipedia

You can find these grubs being sold in Sarawak’s local markets.

Pasar Serikin 

Serikin, 94000 Bau, Sarawak

Opening hours: 
Sat – Sun: 0600 – 0055

Price: ~RM 40-45 / Kg

10. Dyak (Non-Halal)

The.Dyak serves Dayak cuisine, and for those of you who may not know, Dayak refers to the indigenous peoples of Sarawak, Indonesian Kalimantan, and the interior of Borneo. All the ingredients used in Dayak cuisine are sourced fresh from the jungle and comprise of uncommon ingredients like jungle fern (paku) and wild ginger flowers. Some exotic dishes include:

jungle fern and ginger flower
Jungle fern stir fried with wild ginger flowers
pig intestines stir fried with pineapples
Pig intestines stir fried with pineapples
chicken cooked in bamboo
Chicken cooked in bamboo leaves
chicken and tapioca leaves soup
Chicken with tapioca leaves soup. This dish is commonly served during Dayak festivals.

Image credit: The.Dyak Facebook

Not forgetting dessert, the restaurant incorporated an integral part of the Dayak culture, tuak, or rice wine, and included tuak ice cream into their menu.

tuak ice cream

Image credit: The.Dyak Facebook

Sublot 29, Panovel Commercial Complex, Jalan Simpang Tiga, Kampung Kenyalang Park, 93300 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Opening hours:
Mon –Sat:  1200 – 2030

Price: ~ RM20/pax

Of course, this may not be the most extensive list, and we may not have included your favourite “homegrown” exotic food. Every culture has their own exotic food, so we want to celebrate Malaysia’s very own.

You could also check out Klook to make bookings for guided food tours. There are some pretty interesting dining experience to try out. Remember to keep a lookout for Klook promo codes and discounts!

*Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

*First Published: 1 Aug 2017, Last Updated: 5 Nov 2018