The GlossaryThis glossary is mainly in Malay i.e. Bahasa Malaysia. However, many food ingredients or terms are better known in local Chinese or Indian dialects. This is because of Malaysia's multi-ethnic population, and its culturally diverse cuisine and cooking styles. Certain ingredients are used exclusively, or more frequently in different ethnic kitchens, while some foods may be forbidden due to religious beliefs. Wherever possible, spelling variations, similar names in English, or in other countries nearby and afar, shall also be included in the glossary.


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Five Spice Powder

Serbuk Rempah [Malay], Ng Heong Fun [Chinese]

A mixture of star anise, fennel, pepper, cinnamon and clove. The proportions of each ground or powdered spice is a closely guarded secret. Its distinctive aroma enhances many dishes and is essential in Penang's famous Lor Bak [Deep Fried Pork Rolls].



Vethiam [Tamil]




Tahu Kering [Malay], Varuval [Indian]

Dried Bean Curd Sticks.


Fun See

Soohoon [Indian]

Cellophane Noodles or Glass Noodles. This transparent, slippery noodle is made from Mung Beans often misleadingly called 'Green Beans'. The noodles are usually available dried. It can be used in a soup, or soaked briefly in water and used in a stir fry with other ingredients.


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