Cheap Malaysian Breakfast

You know, I sometimes will watch on Youtube, how those white people tourists would come to Malaysia and sample our delicious food? I find great pleasure in seeing white people enjoying Malaysian food and sometimes having hilarious responses, even though I admit this is a somewhat narcissistic behavior.

Wait, what the hell am I talking about? Narcissistic is having an excessive or erotic interest in oneself, not one’s country. Okay, I’m not narcissistic, I’m just having a strong sense of pride for my country’s cuisine.

Anyway, when it comes to Malaysian breakfasts, the things that I see white people love yapping about all the time are the Nessie Le Mack and Rotee Ke-Nigh. Understandably so, because these 2 are sort of our most famous national dishes so obviously their local friends would recommend these.

Although seriously, why won’t those same local friends make sure to teach them the correct pronunciations greatly baffles me. Keeps me up at night sometimes.

It just so happens that a couple weekends ago, I was out early in the morning so I decided to have breakfast in the food court. Haven’t done this in quite a while, so I snapped some pictures. So here I am today, presenting you international people with a typical Malaysian breakfast that you can easily find in Chinese styled food courts or morning markets. A Malaysian breakfast that the locals eat, that isn’t nasi lemak or roti canai.

Clockwise from bottom right:

经济米粉 Economic bihun (bee-hoon)Bihun means rice vermicelli, and economic means… well, cheap. Cheap is economical. Makes sense, right? So… cheap rice vermicelli, stir fried. How cheap, you may ask? Well, how about RM 1? The fried egg is an add on for 60 cents, so my whole plate was RM 1.60.

芋头糕 Yam cake – Well, cake made of yam? Okay, not exactly that. They basically prepare a big platter of batter made of flour and yam chunks and probably some other things, and then steam it, and then sprinkle a healthy chunk of fried shallots and spring onions on top of it, and then cut the whole thing to serve in portions with sweet sauce. RM 2 for mine here.

咖啡冰 Iced kopi (coffee) – This isn’t your Americano or Espresso or Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks. It’s local cheap coffee with condensed milk, and ice. It is sweet, and it is cheap. I think most places in KL sells this for RM 2 these days, but I’m in Penang and I got mine for RM 1.40.

Economic bihun with fried egg
Yam cake

RM 5 kept me well fed until early evening.

So if you’re white and you don’t like spicy food, next time you come to Malaysia, well… bookmark this blog post. Hunt for these instead. Well, don’t worry about getting the Chinese names, the aunties in the food courts might not speak a lot of English, but they’ll surely understand “economic bihun”, “yam cake” and “iced kopi”. 😉

Maybe I should do a few more alternative Malaysian breakfast post, huh?


  1. I still can get what they meant by Nassie Le Mack, but Rotee Ke-Nigh? Is it roti canai? 😮

    You’re gonna make me salivate over the Malaysian breakfast dishes, especially the yam cake – and yes, please do an alternative Malaysian breakfast too! If any one of my Aussie friends can brave our crazy humidity, I’d love to show them this post and the alternative one so that they can have a rough idea on what to order when they find themselves in a kopitiam. =)

    • Yeah, roti canai. Trust me, I’ve heard in more than 1 videos they pronounce it that day, most recently Fung Bros when they came to Malaysia. 🙄

      I’ll see what I can do, in due time. 🙄

  2. This is a trip down memory lane.

    What does chap fan look like? Does it come in a soup base with braised egg , mixed meat and ho fung like pasta?

    • Hahaha, chap fan = mixed rice. You get a plate of white rice, and select dishes from a buffet line, and then get charged accordingly. Something like this.

  3. Yes, I’d agree the economy bihun is a common item for breakfast but then to us Chinese, almost every type of food is a common Malaysian breakfast…be it CCF, nasi lemak, roti canai, all types of noodles, porridge, bread & eggs…even chicken rice, BKT and chap fan (I’ve seen people eating chap fan in the mornings)! 😀

  4. I just had yam cake that day, yums, though these food may not be very fanciful but they are sure satisfying to have. But for the bihun, normally I will add in luncheon meat and chicken wing, yum yum yum.

    • I don’t know about Singapore, but in Malaysia, you will not find luncheon meat or chicken wing in an economic bihun stall. They only sell plain fried bihun and noodles, and sometimes fried eggs. Nothing else. 🙄

  5. Malaysia does indeed have lots of varieties when it comes to Food.. economic or expensive, sweet or sour, spicy or savoury.. everything got! And I like your choice too, I can replace the coffee for a bowl of sweet tong sui! Best!

    • Well, you can call it a brunch, but I had it during breakfast hours (early morning) so… 😛

  6. I consider that a very satisfying breakfast. Economic beehoon in spite of being kosong, tastes really good. I used to get my fix from the coffee shop near my office but they recently tutup shop.

  7. These are my daily breakfast when I was in college. Even lunch also the same thing coz not enough money. But it does make me fat. Really fat that I was 10kg heavier back then @_@

    • Daily? OMG… Apparently, these were also my mom’s daily brunch when she was young. Brunch because her family was poor and they only get 2 meals per day. 🙄

  8. You are right, kopi peng in KL is from RM2 above depending on the exact location of the old coffee shops. I like eating breakfast like this – so affordable and tasty! Better price in Penang than KL. A pack of economy bihun from my local morning wet market is RM2 compared to yours RM1, quantity wise is about the same I think.

    Yes, to more posts about local breakfast and the price.

    • The last time I saw economy bihun in the pasar near my Ampang home, they were selling for 1.50/small and 2.00/big. I think it is more expensive now. 🙄

  9. wow…very economical! RM5 eat till full…this is a typical M’sian Chinese breakfast that my mum would buy from the morning pasar. I grew up with these…especially on weekend where I dun go to skool and enjoys cheap bihun/yam cake/etc…I seldom take such breakfast anymore coz i wake up late on weekends 🙂

    • Find one weekend day and get your lazy bum off the bed in the morning for a trip down memory lane then! 😛

  10. You know, sometimes you teach someone how to pronounce the proper name and they just simply…don’t…get…it… So just enjoy the Malaysian food 🙄

    It’s been ages since I had one of those yam cakes :/

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