Satay (skewered meat) is a popular dish in Malaysia. There is never a problem finding grilled sticks across the whole of South East Asia. Ipoh is no exception. Indeed, satay is very much a staple ‘street food’ in Ipoh. Whether it is a kopitiam (coffee shop), a food court or a market, a delicious skewer option is likely to be on the menu. In Ipoh, as Malaysia more generally, the most common types of meats for this popular dish are chicken and beef. The meat gets its distinctive look and taste by marinating it in turmeric, coconut oil, palm margarine, and sweet soy sauce. It is then grilled on charcoal embers. Normally it is served with peanut sauce, pickles, cucumbers, and onions. Slices of ketupat (a type of rice dumpling) are also sometimes used as an accompaniment.
Origins and Types
The origins of satay probably lie in Java, Indonesia. In turn, this was most likely inspired by the kebab following the arrival of Arab immigrants. It made its way to Malaysia (and other South East Asian countries) around the late 19th century. Malaysians have since added their own fusions, such as Sate Lok-Lok. This involves skewing a selection of raw meats, fish and vegetables for consumers to cook themselves in a pot of boiling water or stock. There is also the Satay Celup fusion, especially in Malacca which uses hot peanut sauce instead of boiling water.
In Ipoh, satay can be topped with rice cakes (called ketupat), onion wedges, and sliced cucumbers. In fact, you can find many types of skewered meats, including the varieties described above, throughout the city. Finding the type of grilled stick that most pleases your gastronomical pallet is no challenge at all in Malaysia’s food capital!