Keropok Lekor: Malay Fish Sausage

14 Dec

One of my favorite aspects of Malaysian culture is how there’s literally someone on every corner waiting to sell you something tasty. For example, a couple of weeks ago a guy set up a shave ice stand outside my apartment complex. (I keep meaning to stop by, but his hours are unpredictable.) The local supermarket is no exception; in addition to a subterranean indoor food court, Pizza Hut, and KFC, there’s an open-air food market. I was feeling a bit peckish, and noticed a new vendor selling something snacky and fried.

I wasn’t sure what it was, but it must be tasty if it’s fried, right? Anyway, it turned out to be keropok lekor, a kind of fish sausage made of Indian mackerel, sago flour, and pandan leaves. It comes freshly fried (these food vendors usually have a propane tank for cooking on the spot) and doused in sweet chili sauce. The texture was unexpected: the outside is crisp, but the inside is spongy, like savory styrofoam. It was also chewier than your average fried snack (though not in an unpleasant way). Very different from Japanese or Korean fish sausage, which tends to be more like a hot dog made of fish paste. I think I prefer the chip form, though.

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2 Responses to “Keropok Lekor: Malay Fish Sausage”

  1. Abdulla October 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    You are extremely brave food in Malaysia are extremely dodgy , the nationals have no regard for hygiene . Having lived there for 2 years I have seen things and the way foodstuff are handled even in hotels leaves a lot to be desired . The only place we shopped was at The Cold Storage . As for Keropok Lekor the fish used are sometimes almost at a stage of rot , this I have seen with my own eyes . Terranganu supposably where the best Keropok is to be found ! To justify my claims just look at the skin of Malays . Public Toilets also is pathetic even in the so called major shopping centres !

    • rgautz November 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

      I’ve rarely had problems with food-borne illness in Malaysia, and I find that food hygiene can be iffy in any part of the world. I’m sorry that you missed out on the rich and delicious cuisine of Malaysia and I hope that you’ll have a more open mind if you return.

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