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Lemang is a tasty Malay dish of rice wrapped in banana leaves.

Cliff Lee/The Globe and Mail

Food is a national pastime for Malaysians. Here, in order, is a highly personal list of favourites.

Laksa: A spicy coconut curry noodle soup with shredded chicken that is richer than the curries at your local Thai joint.

Mantis prawns: These fresh sea critters taste like a cross between shrimp and lobster.

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Roti Canai: Indian roti served with a side of chicken curry for dipping. Great on the go.

Curry puffs: A deep-fried pastry filled with chicken and potato curry. Like a deluxe samosa.

Ice kachang: Also known as ABC, it's a dessert of shaved ice, secret syrups, evaporated milk and a variety of beans, seeds and jellies.

Nasi lemak: The national breakfast meal of coconut rice, spicy prawns, hard-boiled egg, peanuts and cucumber. Gets in all your food groups.

Lemang: A traditional native Malay food of glutinous coconut rice wrapped in banana leaves, stuffed in a hollowed bamboo and cooked over an open fire. Novel and delicious.

Otak otak: A mushy mix of minced fish, coconut milk and spices steamed in a banana leaf. An acquired taste.

Rojak: A medley of vegetables, fruit and fried bean curd tossed in a sweet-savoury prawn paste. Tasty but pungent. But not as pungent as ...

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Durian: Known as the king of fruits, the frozen Chinatown variety have nothing on the fresh version, with its even fresher smell like dirty socks. Roadside durian-eating stalls can be sniffed a block away.

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Assistant Toronto Editor

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