Michelle Yeoh just made history.
The 60-year-old actor became the first Asian woman to win best actress at the Oscars on Sunday. Yeoh, who was born in Ipoh, a city in the northwestern state of Perak, Malaysia, played Evelyn Wang in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the sci-fi comedy film that won a total of seven Oscars.
In her speech, she began by encouraging children who look like her, by saying that there’s a “beacon of hope and possibilities” out there. After calling out ageism in Hollywood, Yeoh dedicated the historic win to her 84-year-old mother, Janet, whom she said was watching the awards show on television from Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.
“I have to dedicate this to my mom, all the moms in the world, because they are really the superheroes. And without them, none of us will be here tonight,” Yeoh said.
“I’m taking this home to her,” she continued.
Yeoh, who’s known for starring in blockbusters like the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies” and “Crazy Rich Asians,” describes herself as a foodie. In a December interview with Netflix Malaysia, Yeoh shared the seven dishes she loves the most from her hometown.
Malaysia is known for its diverse food that blends influences from Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Peranakan cuisines.
“It goes on and on and on,” Yeoh said when listing her favorite local meals, adding that “Malaysia offers the best food.”
Here are Yeoh’s top choices when it comes to the best food in Malaysia.
1. Curry laksa: This dish comprises of yellow mee noodles and a thick, spicy and savory gravy. Yeoh’s hometown’s version is made with sambal belacan, a chilli-based condiment flavored with lime juice and shrimp paste.
2. Chicken noodles: While Yeoh didn’t specify exactly what kind of noodles she enjoys, the most popular rendition of this dish in Ipoh is “kai si hor fun.” The dish, which is lightly-flavored, comprises of a soy sauce-based broth, shredded chicken meat, and flat white noodles. Seafood like shrimp may also be added.
3. Chicken rice: Chicken rice is a popular dish that can be found throughout Malaysia. It’s made of steamed or roasted chicken and fragrant rice, served with a sweet-spicy sambal sauce. Char siew, or roasted barbecued pork, is also often paired with the rice.
4. Big head prawns: Malaysia is known for its fresh and abundant seafood thanks to its coastline. River and freshwater prawns are prepared in many different ways, including cooked in a wok and topped with a savory sauce.
5. Nasi lemak: Malaysia’s national dish can vary from state to state, but it typically comprises of fragrant coconut rice, sambal belacan, meats like fish or chicken, an egg, cucumber, peanuts, and dried anchovies. Lemak is a flavor category unique to Malay food, which describes the richness or creaminess of coconut milk-based food.
6. Nasi padang: Nasi padang is a banquet-style meal comprised of rice paired with several other dishes, which can be made with meat, fish, vegetables, and sauces like sambal. One dish that’s commonly included in nasi padang is rendang, a dried beef dish cooked in coconut milk and spicy gravy.
7. Bak kut teh: This pork rib soup is prepared in a broth with herbs like cinnamon, cloves, and fennel. In Yeoh’s hometown, the broth is typically darker, with dark soy sauce and more herbs added to the dish.