Perlis is a wonderland for food explorers.

Located just beneath Thailand’s Satun province, the food variety in Perlis carries heavy Thai influences while staying true to its Malay roots. Expect plenty of sweetness, spices and piquant herbs with each bite! As Perlis is also one of the largest rice-producing state in Malaysia, you will notice that rice dishes in all forms and shapes are loved by the locals of all ages.

Read also: A Truly Authentic Local Market: Nat Pokok Getah Arau, Perlis

10 Must-Try Local Food in Perlis

Kuih Dangai

Kuih Dangai is a popular traditional snack in northern Malaysia, particularly in Perlis and Kedah. It is prepared simply using glutinous rice flour, grated coconut, sugar and salt, and is grilled until it is beautifully brown and crispy on the outside.

Must-Try Local Food in Perlis
Kuih Dangai is a popular traditional snack in Perlis
Photo credit: syok.my

Emping

Emping is the Malay word for rice flakes. This unique traditional snack is made using the young, green grains of the glutinous paddy that are separated from their husks through several heating and pounding processes. It is customarily served with freshly grated coconut, sugar and salt, and is delicious when eaten during the colder, windier months here.

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Emping made from young green glutinous paddy rice is a nutritious and popular food in Perlis

Mempelam Harum Manis

Harum means fragrant and manis means sweet - this should give you an idea of how the Harum Manis mangoes taste like! The fruit is seasonal and hence more expensive compared to other types of mangoes, and it can only be found in Perlis and some parts of Kedah. It has a high demand thanks to its rich taste and rarity.

cheap mangoes in perlis
Mempelam Harum Manis is the most demanded type of mango in Perlis

Pulut Mempelam

This dish comes in two parts: pulut sibar (sticky glutinous rice mixed with rich coconut milk) and slices of sweet, juicy local mangoes. It is also very common to find other topping varieties such as durian, banana and even sapodilla. After all, anything goes well with rice!

hidden gems in perlis
Pulut Mempelam is a common dish in Perlis, and it is highly similar to the Thai mango sticky rice

Laksa Perlis

As the most popular and appreciated dish in this state, Laksa Perlis a sour and savoury noodle soup bowl that consists of rice noodles, torch ginger, daum kesum or vietnamese coriander, as well as local fish - typically mackerels and round scads. Compared to other varieties of Laksa across Malaysia, Laksa Perlis has a relatively thicker gravy and a paler hue.

kuala perlis jetty food
The famous Laksa Perlis

Pulut Ikan Kering

A very common breakfast dish in Perlis, Pulut Ikan Kering is enjoyed by all classes of the society and is typically served during large social events. It only consists of three simple yet richly textured ingredients including glutinous rice, dried fish and grated coconut.

Must-Try Local Food in Perlis
Simple yet gratifying: Pulut Ikan Kering - a popular breakfast food in Perlis

Pekasam Puyu

This traditional dish of fermented fish is a common appetizer to start a meal in Perlis. The primary component of this dish is Ikan Puyu or the Climbing Perch which is a common freshwater fish in this part of the world. It is fermented for about two months together with rice that has been fried, tamarind and salt. There are other varieties of fish that are also fermented in a similar way, including the Javanese carps and Tilapia.

kuala perlis seafood restaurant opening hours
Pekasam Puyu is a traditional fermented fish dish in Perlis
Photo credit: Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia


Kuih Karas

This sweet and uber crispy traditional snack is made from rice flour and it resembles vermicelli because of its thin texture. To make Kuih Karas, the liquidy batter is scooped into a coconut shell pierced with tiny holes that allow the formation of long, thin strings when it flows through them and hits the hot oil.

Read also: Experience Malay Culture at Kampung Raga Homestay, Kedah

what to eat in perlis
Kuih Karas is a sweet and crispy snack from Perlis, Malaysia

Mentarang

I finally had the opportunity to try Mentarang or the Angel Wing clams for the first time during my recent trip to Perlis! These molluscs are scientifically called the Pholas Orientalis and they breed in the muddy shores of Kuala Perlis. The most popular method of cooking Mentarang is by grilling or stewed in a hearty turmeric gravy.

best kuala perlis seafood restaurant
Love seafood? Menterang is a popular choice here and it is both juicy and huge!

Nasi Ulam

This beautiful and colourful rice dish is a salad of nutritional and healing tropical herbs and aromatic spices. Leaves and fruits from plants such as putat, sekuntut, selo, mentalun, noni and cemumar are shredded into tiny pieces before being mixed into rice that has been cooked. Dried fish is usually added to give saltiness to the dish.

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Delicious and nutritious Nasi Ulam from Perlis
Photo credit: phoenixhillna.org


Sira Belinggai

The Belinggai fruit is also known as the wood apple, and those planted in Perlis typically ripe during the eastern wind season. The content from the fruit is added to coconut milk to make the sira. This traditional mixture can be eaten with ringgi or emping and enjoyed as a hearty evening snack.

10 Must-Try Local Food in Perlis
Belinggai or the wood apple is surprisingly a highly appreciated fruit in Perlis, Malaysia
Photo credit: FirstCry Parenting

Need a cold, refreshing drink to go with all these delicious traditional delicacies of Perlis? Why not try Air Nira Nipah - a natural drink derived from the Nipah palms that are planted locally here. Get the freshest nira drink at the Ladang Nipah Kipli of Sanglang, Perlis!

Eat well and don't stop exploring!