Crashing a Malaysian Wedding, Food, and a Surprise Durian

By Mark Wiens 13 Comments
Malaysian wedding food
Feasting at a Malaysian wedding in Langkawi

One of the greatest places where food, culture, and celebration collide is at a local wedding.

While my wife and I were on the island of Langkawi, Malaysia, it happened to be wedding season, and driving along the road we noticed many weddings.

With the help of our guide, who was in charge of showing us around the island, we stopped by a local wedding one afternoon, and soon we were feasting with the family.

Malaysian wedding
Malaysian wedding in Langkawi

First, let me explain a little about how I attended the wedding:

My wife and I were invited Naturally Langkawi to attend the Langkawi International Laksa Carnival 2015 and to experience the island, blog about it, and make videos about it.

It was an incredible experience, and we had an amazing time.

We had a guide, Wan Kash, and our driver Fami, and as we were driving around Langkawi they explained to us that it was wedding season and there were many weddings taking place across the island.

After a little more talking and explaining how good the food was at weddings in Malaysia, Wan Kash and Fami suggested we just stop in at a random wedding.

“They will be ok if we just go, everyone is like family in Langkawi,” they said.

I agreed, knowing that attending a wedding is a fantastic way to experience a local culture and eat local food.

So just before parasailing for the first time, we had about an hour, and we stopped at a wedding we saw on the side of the road.

They welcomed us to the wedding and they were just as excited for us to be there as we were to be there – in other words, we were all excited.

The bride and groom hadn’t yet arrived, and so we went back to the kitchen tent, where all the food for the wedding was being prepared.

eating at a Malaysian wedding
Food at a Malaysian wedding

How the food works at a wedding

At a Malaysian wedding in Langkawi it’s kind of like an open house.

Food is prepared in huge quantities, and attendees will come and go throughout all hours of the day, and when they arrive they will eat.

The food is typically finished being cooked by about noon, and it’s held on standby as people come and go.

We arrived right at noon. The food was fresh and all ready to go – just in time!

buffalo curry
A huge pot of buffalo curry

I immediately spotted the massive pan of buffalo curry.

Buffalo is one of the most common meats at a traditional Malaysian wedding, sometimes there are multiple buffalo dishes.

buffalo curry
Before I knew what was happening, he was feeding me

As soon as I showed interest in the ginormous pot of buffalo curry slowly simmering, the chef reached out his hand and fed me a piece of it.

I was surprised how tender the buffalo was. It was so tender it just fell apart, and it had an irony and crumbly texture almost like liver.

I loved it.

Langkawi Malaysian food
Delicious plate of food

The feast

After taste testing the buffalo curry, all the aunties and uncles who were preparing the food, invited us to eat amongst them where they were all cooking.

In just a few minutes, and without me even knowing what was going on, they had dished out plates of all the dishes they were serving at the wedding.

We each had our own individual plate of rice, and then there were side plates of buffalo curry, red chicken curry, fried fish, yellow mango salad, and finally a soup made with taro stems.

buffalo curry in Malaysia
Malaysian buffalo curry

I spooned a bit of each of the dishes onto my individual plate and then started to dig in.

Even though I had already tasted the buffalo curry, I had to take another bite of it first. The buffalo was tender and delicious, and the curry was mild, but had a good dry spice flavor blend.

I took a small fried mackerel, which may have been rubbed in some turmeric to give it an orange color. I’m a huge lover of mackerel with rice, and I could eat it everyday.

The chicken was also very good, made into a red curry that was slightly sweet and creamy rich.

sour curry
Sour curry with taro stems

In southern Thailand one of my favorite dishes is gaeng som (sour soup) and while it can contain green papaya, pineapple, or bamboo shoots, I really like it with taro stems.

So when I saw the clear whitish soup, I immediately recognized the taro stems.

The soup was clear, mostly with the flavor of sour and slightly salty, and big chunks of taro stems and some kind of starchy cassava or yam.

amazing mango salad
Yellow mango salad

But out of all the dishes we ate at this Malaysian wedding, probably my favorite dish was the simple yellow mango salad.

In Thailand there are plenty of green mango salads, but I have yet to see a yellow mango salad in Thailand.

For this dish, the mango was shredded, mixed with little salted fish (maybe anchovies), sliced Chinese long beans, peanuts, shallots, garlic, and I think some toasted shredded coconut. It had that wonderful contrast of salty and sweet (from the naturally ripe mango), kind of like a mango salsa.

The mixture of different dishes is what really made this wedding feast so spectacular.

Laksa Langkawi
Laksa Langkawi

Laksa Langkawi

Part way into a bite of buffalo curry, one of the Aunties handed my wife and I a plate of Langkawi style laksa, saying we needed to taste it.

The laksa used the thick round rice noodles, that look just like Japanese udon noodles, and they were topped with a pureed fish curry mixed with slices of cucumber and onions.

The curry was nice and sour, and had a wonderful fish flavor. It was almost tasted like a tuna salad with extra sour and spicy flavoring to it.

durian
Then came the surprise durian

Surprise durian

I was eating my curry and laksa, and enjoying the beautiful cultural environment when all of a sudden I got a whiff of something that’s impossible to not recognize on first smell: durian.

Wan Kash our guide had showed some of the ladies our youtube videos, and they saw that I liked durian.

And so in the middle of our meal, someone literally went into the backyard (it happened to be durian season) and picked a durian right off the tree and brought it to us.

durian in Malaysia
Perfectly ripened durian

It was truly a kind and generous gesture.

The durian was perfect, just ripened to the point of golden creamy flesh, with a hint of bitterness. It was like ice cream on seed, absolutely incredible.

Langkawi
Wedding in Langkawi, Malaysia

The wedding

I continued eating, and just as I was wiping my plate clean, and licking the durian from my fingers, we were alerted that the groom had arrived.

Both the groom and the bride were dressed in extremely bright neon colored and beautiful outfits.

They met on the side of the street, and then walked together into the house, where I presume they would stay and greet all of the wedding guests throughout the remainder of the day.

After signing the guest book and saying thank you to the family and all the friendly people we had met at the wedding, we continued on our way to parasailing, yet this time having just experienced an incredible Malaysian wedding.

Malaysian wedding
Attending a Malaysian wedding in Langkawi

Conclusion

Some of the best travel experiences are not planned, but are just the experiences that unfold in front of you as you go along.

It was an honor to get a quick glimpse of a traditional Malaysian wedding in Langkawi, eat a delicious meal, partake of a surprise honorary durian, and just admire and observe the beautiful culture of a Malaysian wedding.

I would like to say a huge thank you to the family who so kindly invited us into their home, fed us delicious food, and allowed us to celebrate with them.

Experiencing a Malaysian wedding was one of the most memorable experiences I had in Langkawi.

13 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Joel Bruner

    2 years ago

    Man 🙂 I hadn’t read this one before, I love this! Dude you literally have so many stories that several books would not be enough…. What a great experience! And yes, the best days are usually ones with little or no planning at all! I am mega jealous of that backyard durian, wow. What a beauty!
    Take it easy man, enjoy the day!

  • Khadijah Adnan

    2 years ago

    i love yr food trips in uzbekistan n samarkhan. would love to go there next year. just want to know whether u can recommend a good local guide for me

  • Whitney

    2 years ago

    What an incredible opportunity to get to experience the culture in Malaysia!

  • azmi

    5 years ago

    Thank you for coming Mark.. It was a very pleasure to have you and your wife in our sister wedding fest. Langkawi is a great place to stay… The people, the food, and the culture was superb.. please do not hesitate to come again.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hi Azmi, nice to meet you, thank you very much for having us. It was such an amazing experience. The hospitality was incredible. Thank you!

  • JOSE ROCHA

    5 years ago

    Congratulations for your very original project “Street Food Lovers around the World”, great job just travel around the world, eat nice food, meet interesting people, explore new cultures, at end a lot enjoyment and a lot more could be said about it, your job is more a holidays around the world than a hard work, i am a truly fan of Thailand and all your videos. I watched all them already and i am always anxious to watch more and never get fed up, dear friend Mark Wiens you still to have millions of different streets foods to taste around the world, you still to have a lot to do and even you do it all your life you’ll have always a different street dish to taste..
    You’re a charismatic guy and as i said before your videos are also funny, interesting, a truly picture of your food tastes and very original, a last word to say about it is your project is “an endless story”.
    Good lucky!

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Jose, thank you for your kind words and for your support. Yes, I feel blessed that I’m able to do this, and I’m thankful for all the support from so many people, I could not do it without people like you. I think there’s a never ending amount of food to experience.

  • Bob Mata

    5 years ago

    Aloha Mark,
    I really enjoy your food videos, especially the ones from Hawaii !! I was born and raised in Hawaii and “long” for the food of the islands…..now that we live in California. Keep up the good work and continue to keep smiling…………
    Mahalo,
    Bob

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Bob, great to hear from you, thank you for watching, really appreciate it!

  • Amelia

    5 years ago

    Nice post. The food is really different compare to the wedding food in Johor o.O Anyway, I miss langkawi so much. Such a lovely place to visit

  • Neil Mitchell

    5 years ago

    Hi Mark!! I really got a kick out of this post, mainly because of the differences between cultures where you were and other places like where I am. For example if I were to stop by some wedding here where I live unannounced like you did over there what would MOST likely happen is after I refused to leave someone would call the police and they would lead me away as an uninvited guest. So there is the main difference, where I live you get the police called on you and where you were in Malaysia you get offered a bowl of curried buffalo, too funny!!! I think we can all learn a lesson from the kind people you dealt with at this wedding Mark…..a bit of a different post, but an excellent one…

  • Vaughn Glenn

    5 years ago

    Hi Mark, Me and my Thai wife absolutely love all your food videos. You are the best! 🙂 Well I just want to suggest that you find a way to have a search feature for your comments area so people can easily find answers to questions you have already told someone else about. Also, just incase you have time to respond before we move to Thailand in a couple weeks, do you know if there are places to rent near Bangkok that allow you to have a medium sized dog? (40 pounds) Thanks either way if you get this message. We look forward to watching your future videos, Take care dude.