Malaysian drinks are unique. They are influenced by the climate, the culture and the resources available. I have spent a month in Malaysia, split mostly between Kuala Lumpur and Penang and have had the opportunity to try different specialty Malaysian drinks from the streets. So, here’s my list of Malaysian drinks that you must try. They include Milo Ice, Teh Tarik, Watermelon Juice, Sour Plum Juice and Coconut Lemon Juice.
Best Malaysian Drinks I Tried in Malaysia
I could have ended the list right here, with Milo Ice. This is quite simply one of the BEST Malaysian drinks you will ever have! My first morning in Malaysia, I went up to a street food stall and asked the Aunty to make me the best Malaysian drink. She mentioned two words with a smile: Milo Ice. Now I had ideas of Malaysian drinks being more fruity instead of a ice cold chocolate drink.
I recall (and hopefully you do too) drinking hot Milo during my childhood for breakfast before school and also have memories of homework and late night studying with a cup of hot Milo next to me. Needless to say, I was quite surprised to see that glasses of Milo Ice on nearly everyone’s table in Malaysia! TRY IT! You will not regret!
What is Milo Ice?
Produced by Nestle, Milo is a popular chocolate and malt drink for children and adults in the South America, Africa and Asia and the Pacific. Milo Ice is the cold version of the drink invented due to the hot weather in Malaysia. It is icy cold, chocolate-y, smooth, malty and sweet. A visit to Malaysia without Milo Ice (and Nasi Lemak) is basically as if you had never visited Malaysia at all. My tip is to ask for it in a plastic bag so they dump in some extra ice for you!
Ice Teh Tarik Tea
Another popular Malaysian drink is Teh Tarik. I have tried Malaysia’s signature Teh Tarik Tea hot and cold and I must say that I was very impressed by the ice version. It could have been the heat or the crispy chocolate banana pancake that accompanied it on that particular day, but Ice Teh Tarik is definitely now on my must-drink list.
What is Teh Tarik?
Teh Tarik is a strong, frothy black tea mixed with condensed milk to give it its well-known sweetness. If you prefer the hot version (which reminds me of my grandma’s tea!) then you can pair it with some Roti Canai for a nice Malaysian breakfast. It is also the National drink of Malaysia, so you have no excuse not to try it!
Best Fruit Juices in Malaysia
One great thing about Malaysia is that you can find plenty of fresh fruit juice places! The watermelon juice I had here (in Kuchai Lama Food Court, KL, was one of the best fresh fruit juices I have ever had. Thick, icy and sweet, you can even taste a few chunks of watermelon that have not been fully smashed in there! Absolutely heavenly. A tip is to be wary of places that might sell you sweetened drinks or syrup mixed with water! Take a look around you to see what the locals are drinking and it it actually looks fresh. I learnt quickly that if the locals are not ordering something, be it food or drinks, do not bother!
Sour Plum Lime Juice
Another drink I stumbled upon during my indecisiveness at a fruit juice stall is the sour plum lime juice! After 5 minutes of staring helplessly at the large menu of drinks, I ended up putting my faith in the vendor and asked her to give me her favourite juice. To that, she responded with a big glass of this juice. I have tried sour plum before but have never had it as part of a juice. It adds some tanginess to the acidic taste of the lime and coupled with some sugar or honey, creates an addictive authentic Malaysian drink. If you are looking for a lemonade with a twist, make sure you get this. I found my favourite one in the Tang City Food Court, Kuala Lumpur China Town!
Coconut Lemon Juice
Another special juice from Malaysia is the coconut lemon juice. What’s special about this drink is how the vendor adds some fresh creamy coconut flesh to your drink. This will happily rest at the bottom of your glass, waiting for you to finish your liquids before enjoying it. The juice is mostly made of coconut water and squeezed lemon which makes it very refreshing when walking through the markets in Kuala Lumpur.
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