It’s all about food
After the first two weeks spent on peninsular Malaysia, it is still difficult for us to draw an image of our impression. We entered the country without knowing much about it and were surprised to find and unexpectedly modern, organized industrialized state on its road towards being considered as a developed nation internationally. Today, it has one of the highest GDP per capita rates in the region, one of the most developed infrastructure networks is the only nation in Southeast Asia to manufacture its own car models.
One of the most striking impressions when crossing the border to Malaysia from Thailand is certainly the colorful mix of different cultures on its streets. Dating back to British colonial times, Malaysia’s society today has a consistent Chinese (23%) and Indian (8%) heritage, which influences not only the street picture but most extraordinarily the local cuisine, best appreciated in street food stalls.
Most Indian migrants are originally from the Southern state of Tamil Nadu, many among them from its capital, Chennai, and every other of them seems to run a restaurant. The best news for us out of this was: the porotha – here called roti Chennai – is already deeply enrooted on the Malay menu.
The most striking heritage of the British era on the peninsula is – besides the beautiful city of Georgetown and some other more or less crumbling colonial buildings in major cities – a for regional standards high level of English spoken by locals.