Popular Must-Try Local Food in Perlis, Malaysia

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

Table of Content

best local food in perlis
Popular Must-Try Local Food in Perlis, Malaysia

Popular Must-Try Local Food in Perlis, Malaysia

Kuih Dangai

Kuih Dangai, a beloved traditional snack in northern Malaysia, is a delicacy that is particularly popular in the states of Perlis and Kedah. This sweet treat is made using simple ingredients, including glutinous rice flour, grated coconut, sugar, and salt, but it is the way it is prepared that makes it truly special. The mixture is carefully molded into a cylindrical shape and then grilled to perfection, resulting in a beautiful golden-brown crust that is delightfully crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. The aroma of the grilled coconut and the sweetness of the sugar blend together to create a heavenly flavor that is sure to leave you craving for more. Whether you're a local or a visitor to northern Malaysia, Kuih Dangai is a must-try snack that will leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.

kuih dangai perlis
Kuih Dangai is a popular traditional snack in Perlis


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.

emping padi
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.

mangga Harum Manis
Mempelam Harum Manis is the most demanded type of mango in Perlis

Be sure to also try 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 aromatic rice!

pulut mempelam
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.

Laksa Perlis
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.

pulut ikan kering
Simple yet gratifying: Pulut Ikan Kering - a popular breakfast food in Perlis

Pekasam Puyu

This traditional dish of fermented fish is a common appetiser 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.

Pekasam Perlis
Pekasam Puyu is a traditional fermented fish dish in Perlis

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

Kuih Karas perlis
Kuih Karas is a sweet and crispy snack from Perlis, Malaysia


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.

Mentarang perlis
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.

famous food in perlis malaysia
Delicious and nutritious Nasi Ulam that can be discovered in Perlis

Sira Belinggai

The Belinggai fruit, also known as the wood apple, is a tropical fruit that is highly prized for its unique flavor and numerous health benefits. In Perlis, Malaysia, the Belinggai trees typically bear fruit during the eastern wind season, which is eagerly awaited by locals who cherish this fruit as a special treat. The fruit's pulp is extracted and mixed with coconut milk to create a traditional concoction known as sira, which is a popular snack enjoyed in the evenings. Sira can be paired with other local delicacies such as ringgi or emping, which are savory crackers made from rice or nuts. The combination of the sweet and tangy sira with the crunchy and salty crackers creates a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that is sure to satisfy any palate. So, if you're in Perlis during the eastern wind season, be sure to try this delicious and nutritious snack and experience the unique taste of the Belinggai fruit for yourself.

Must-Try Local Food in Perlis
Belinggai or the wood apple is surprisingly a highly appreciated fruit in Perlis, Malaysia

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!

Don't forget to share your travel & dining moments with us on Instagram by tagging @rollinggrace or #RollingGrace. Happy travelling!


  1. mentarang and sira belinggai I never ate.

  2. memang tak boleh tahan tengok semua menu ni sedap-sedap belaka. Memang wajib cari dan cuba kalau ke Perlis. BTW i suke theme blog ni dan semua gambar cantik2

  3. Oh my! I want that pulut ikan kering now - the simplest breakfast but the most satisfying breakfast! I want!!!

  4. nasi ulam dengan dangai tu favourite tapi dangai susah dah nak cari lani

  5. Uya ampunnn sedapnya semua makanan kat sini.. esp pulut mangga tu

  6. Banyak menu yang disenaraikan ni tak pernah makan. Bolehla cuba nanti

  7. This is an interesting and informative post. Most of the items on this list aren't available (or are hard to come by) in other parts of Malaysia.

  8. Interesting... I tried few before but most of the list I haven't.. Definitely going to try them out when I have a chance to visit Perlis in near future.. :P

  9. Wowww Laksa tu sedapnyaa.. my peberet!..
    Ada rezeki dapat ke Perlis nak cuba semuanya...

  10. hmm....so shy to admit that I have yet to try any from this must try 10 here.Gonna plan a trip to Perlis to try them all soon :D cheers, siennylovesdrawing

  11. sedapnyaa Ya Allah. huda kan jarang dapat makan kuih karas. Dulu masa pergi Langkawi, dapat rasa fresh dia baru buat. Sedap sangat. Harum manis tu memang sedap, eh rasa banyak nak comment pula sebab nampak sedap. pekasam pun kita suka, kita belajar makan dengan kawan kita. Orang jb, mana makan pekasam. Bila dah jumpa kwn makan pekasam, pastu kita try, sedap pula. hehe. Eh sorry terpanjang haha

  12. Aduyai... Terliur kita awakkkk!! Tengok laksa tu amboi. Menyelerakan! Bila laaa dapat ke sana nikmati food sedap-sedap. TQ share tau, kita save

  13. Wah yang i paling tau is the mempelam harum manis, coz my colleague treat me once and i m hooked to it.

  14. banyak2 dalam list sira belingai tu saya x pernah cuba lagi. nampak gaya nak kena ke perlis la cari nnti.


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