Cover A tourist posing with a mural in Georgetown, Penang. Photo: Chung Kevin

With state borders open again, now's the time to be a tourist in your own country while getting a taste of regional specialities & rare experiences

1. Partake of a Kristang feast in the chef’s own home

Bubbly and brimming with energy, Chef Melba Nunis is a revered gatekeeper of Kristang cuisine, a crossover between Portuguese and Malaysian cooking. The cookbook author, award-winning chef and storyteller hosts intimate dinners in a supperclub setting replete with good eats. Many of her specialities aren't available anywhere else, as Kristang restaurants are scarce in Malaysia, let alone the world. What's on the menu depends on what's available in the market that week, but our favourites include the Keluak Curry, Black Sambal Sotong, Smoked Bacon Debal, and Eurasian Sugee Cake. Click here for a more thorough write-up on Chef Melba's supper clubs.


Petaling Jaya


+6012-402 0500

2. Enjoy a guided cultural tour while enjoying street eats

Spearheaded by Mark Ng and Pauline Lee, two food guides certified by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, Simply Enak has a clear-cut mission: to introduce the world to Malaysian food, culture and heritage through the lens of food and drink. Experiences in George Town, which include a tour of a Clan Jetty and a taste of famous char kuey teow, are led by Ng, whereas Lee will walk participants through Kuala Lumpur-based excursions such as wet market visits and/or bar hops.


Penang & Kuala Lumpur


Call +6017-287 8929 or email

See also: Live Like A Crazy Rich Asian At The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion In Penang

3. Try your hand at paddy planting or harvesting

Dubbed 'the last Shangri-la of Sarawak,' the Long Semadoh Valley is a rare utopia that remains unspoiled by man. Coveted by chefs worldwide, some of the best quality rice in the world stems from the region. Besides helping some 45 farmers make an honest living, social enterprise Langit Collective curates experiential trips to the pristine paddy fields twice a year: planting takes place throughout August whereas harvesting lasts from December until January.


Lawas, Sarawak


Call +6016-739 4603 or email

Related: 6 Ways That Restaurants Are Serving Langit Collective Rice

4. Visit a family-friendly dairy farm

Opened since October 1978, Desa Dairy Farm is populated by purebred Holstein Friesian cows, a breed particular to Australia and New Zealand. The scenic attraction in Sabah's highlands is packed during the school holidays, as families with kids convene to feed calves, learn about milk production, and relish homemade ice cream, yogurt, and cheese in the cool outdoors.

Note that Desa Dairy Farm has yet to open its doors during RMCO, but will welcome visitors again soon.


Ranau, Sabah


Walk-ins only. Email

See also: Burnt Cheesecake Ice Cream By The Tokyo Restaurant & Crème De La Crème

5. Enjoy a smorgasbord of durian

Tatler Asia
Above Lindsay Gasik, professional durian travel agent (Photo: Year of the Durian)

So you think you're a durian lover? Wait until you meet Lindsay Gasik, founder of Year of the Durian. The self-professed 'durian travel agent' first tasted durian at a Vegan Festival in Oregon in 2009, and as they say, the rest is history. Not only has Gasik penned a book on durian, but she and her team have also created a durian app to help travellers seek out their next durian feast in Southeast Asia. Those who prefer the convenience of a guided tour should hit her up.


Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Sabah & Sarawak



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