Ayam Penyet: Malaysia’s Culinary Gem

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Ayam Penyet, which translates to “smashed chicken”, is a dish that has found its way into the hearts of many Malaysians. Originally from Indonesia, this dish has been embraced by the Malaysian culinary scene and has been given its own local twist, making it a must-try for anyone visiting the country.

Nasi Ayam Penyet Sangat Sedap
Source: resepichenom

Historical Roots:

The origins of Ayam Penyet can be traced back to East Java, Indonesia. It was traditionally served as a simple meal for farmers and workers, but its rich flavours and unique preparation method quickly made it popular across different regions. As trade and migration patterns evolved, Ayam Penyet found its way to Malaysia, where it was readily adopted and integrated into the local cuisine.

Nasi ayam penyet
Source: cookpad

Distinctive Features:

What sets Ayam Penyet apart is its preparation. The chicken is marinated in a mixture of spices and herbs, then deep-fried to perfection. The “smashing” process, which gives the dish its name, involves gently flattening the fried chicken using a mortar and pestle. This not only makes the chicken tender but also allows it to absorb the flavours of the accompanying sambal or chili paste.

Popularity in Malaysia:

In Malaysia, Ayam Penyet is not just a dish; it’s an experience. Served on a wooden plate with accompaniments like tempeh, tofu, and fresh vegetables, it offers a symphony of flavours and textures. The Malaysian version often incorporates local ingredients, making it slightly different from its Indonesian counterpart. Today, it can be found in various eateries across the country, from roadside stalls to upscale restaurants.

Source: Rasa


Ayam Penyet is a testament to how food can transcend borders and become an integral part of a nation’s culinary identity. Its journey from the fields of Java to the bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur is a story of adaptation, innovation, and shared love for good food.


Article curated by Suwaytha Gopal