Malaysian cuisine is one of our all-time favorites. The blend of Chinese, Indian, and Malay influences is second to none. This also extends to Malay drinks. In this post, we’ll look at some of the different must-try Malay drinks when traveling in Malaysia.
Best Ones to Try When Visiting Malaysia
In Malaysia, diversity is at the forefront, and variety follows. So when selecting which drinks are the finest, it is easy to become bewildered by all the choices available.
Almost all of the drinks I will discuss here are available at most venues across Malaysia. You’ll be glad to hear that most of them are extremely affordable too. So whether you’re visiting their quirky cafes, kopitiams, street food venues, or fancy restaurants, you’re bound to come across them on your travels.
So, when you’re looking for popular drinks in Malaysia, we’ll help you find out which ones are the tastiest, where to get them, and what they’re made from.
Popular Drinks in Malaysia
Amber and I have made numerous trips to Malaysia over the past decade. When we lived in Bali and Bangkok, it was very easy to pop down to Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Langkawi for a taste of something different.
During our trip to Malaysia, we certainly enjoyed our fair share of drinks in Malaysia. Much like drinks in Thailand, drinks in Korea, or drinks in other Asia countries, there are very popular drinks in Malaysia worth trying.
Being a Muslim country, most of the popular drinks in Malaysia are non-alcoholic. Fruit juices, tea or coffee-based drinks, and sodas are among the most popular. This isn’t to say that you can’t find beer or other alcohol-based drinks. You can. They are readily available but are more expensive than in a non-Muslim country like Thailand.
Also known as “pulled tea,” this hot, creamy Malay drink can be readily available at most Malaysian coffee shops and street food markets.
The pulling of the tea makes this Malaysian classic different from an ordinary cup of tea. But what is the pulling? Essentially, the hot tea is poured at arm’s distance between two glasses. This help to cool the tea. It also put air into the tea, giving the tea its distinctive “foamy” look.
Teh Tarik is absolutely one of our favorite Malay drinks. We’ll drink it throughout the day, but it’s best to enjoy it during breakfast in Malaysia.
The drink is made from a blend of strong black tea and condensed milk. I know this may sound like a straightforward combination, but believe me, it’s a must-try. The quality of the tea used, combined with the sweet milk, makes this drink a totally satisfying experience.
Malaysian Kopi – Malaysian Coffee
Malaysia’s come far in regard to its coffee over the years. In fact, Malaysian coffee is now up there with some of the best in the world. It is compared to the same quality of coffee you expect to find in Hong Kong.
When it comes to flavor, it is fragrant, glossy, rich, and very dark in color, and more often than not, it has been roasted locally.
If you want to hunt down a cup of Malaysian coffee, try heading down to the cafes and street vendors. You’re unlikely to find it in higher-end restaurants that often serve Asian teas.
When you’re looking for something new and exciting to try and see Barley Juice on the menu, it may not sound the most appealing, but I say you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
This Malay drink is usually served over ice with sugar and lemon. It has a somewhat silky and syrupy mouthfeel to it. It contains whole pearls of barley, which adds another dimension to the texture. It’s refreshing, light, zesty, and sweet. It also has many health benefits.
This one isn’t quite readily available everywhere. Still, if you keep your eyes peeled, you’re sure to find it at many of the local cafes and restaurants.
A popular choice with Malaysian locals, this drink can be enjoyed any time, with any meal. It consists of condensed milk, evaporated milk, and rose syrup. The flavor is sweet and creamy, with a delicate aftertaste of rose.
Sirap Bandung is often enjoyed by Malay people after fasting because it is refreshing and a good source of instant sugar.
Known to some people as “Iced Milo,” this is one beverage you won’t struggle to get your hands on in Malaysia. In fact, you can even pick one up at fast food restaurants such as KFC and McDonald’s.
Milo is a milky, chocolate-flavored drink made by Nestle. So if you’ve ever had a chocolate milkshake with ice, you can imagine exactly what this popular choice tastes like.
Milo is enjoyed by many Malaysians alongside many Malaysian snacks including roti canai.
Also known as the “grass jelly drink,” some Malay people often enjoy this beverage as a dessert due to its thick consistency and jelly-like texture. It’s similar in character to “bubble tea.”
A wide variety of flavors are available, and you can pick them up all over Malaysia. You can even get some of them at the supermarket and make them yourself.
Air Mata Kuching
A classic when visiting Malaysia, this is another drink the locals often drink. It’s a refreshing drink that is not only tasty but also full of nutritional value.
This thirst-quenching beverage is made from just 5 ingredients. This includes Buddha’s fruit, winter melon, dried longan, brown sugar, and water, which explains its health benefits.
It’s quite often something that Malaysians make for themselves at home. Still, it is also available to pick up from many cafes, vendors, and restaurants throughout the country.
Many people don’t realize that Longan berries can be made into a drink. Often found at street food centers, it comes in a choice of either black or white.
The black one is made from dried longan berries, and the white comes from the flesh of the fresh Malaysian fruit. They’re surprisingly different in flavor. The black one is much stronger in flavor and slightly bitter, while the white one was a tad sweeter and a lot more refreshing. Both were nice in their own way, so I’d recommend trying both.
Three Layer Tea
This tea, known to the locals as “The C Peng,” consists of a layer of black tea, evaporated milk, and palm sugar.
It’s obvious where the name comes from, and the flavor profile is pretty self-explanatory. Also, it’s a sweet, creamy tea with all the flavors you’d expect from a black tea at the same time. Cafes and some restaurants serve this refreshing Malayasian drink, and you can find it in many cafes.
Drinking In Malaysia
We have said for years that Malaysia is one of the most underrated food destinations in the World. This extends to drinking in Malaysia. The influence of Malay, Chinese, and Indian culinary traditions shines through in the diversity of drinks in Malaysia.
Hopefully, this guide will help shed light on some of the must-try drinks in Malaysia and prepare you while visiting Malaysia.
FAQs – Malaysian Drinks
Yes, you can drink alcohol in Malaysia. While Malaysia is a Muslim country, not everyone in Malaysia is Muslim. Because of this, you can drink alcohol in Malaysia. You’ll find beer and spirits readily available in Malaysia including convenience stores. Compared to its neighborhood Thailand, the cost of alcohol in Malaysia is slightly higher.
Without a doubt, the iconic Malaysian drink is teh tarik or “pulled tea”. Teh tarik is very popular across Malaysia and enjoyed all day long. The “pulled tea” is a result of mixing the hot black tea between two glasses. The mixing is done at arm’s length to help cool the tea and make it foamy.