Gifting the Malaysian way
Have you ever noticed that when we go on vacation, we find ourselves wanting to buy souvenirs that remind us of our holiday destination, but we probably don’t buy those items locally while we’re at home in our own country? The only occasions we might look up Malaysian souvenirs is to gift to our friends whom we visit when going overseas, or when hosting visiting friends who would like to buy some for themselves.
And so whether you’re motivated to pack a few traditional, local-made items for your non-Malaysian friends and acquaintances when going overseas (that is, when we’re able to travel again!); or whether just wanting to support local artisans and handicraft, it’s always good to be able to identify a range of Malaysian products.
And so in the spirit Malaysia Day and rediscovering and getting closer to your roots, here are some lovely Malaysian-made items that would make excellent gifts for any occasion.
Items for the kitchen
If there’s one thing Malaysians are most proud of, it would probably be our food.
From sweet to savoury, there are a wide variety of ready-to-eat items you could make into gifts, such as a no-fail jar of pineapple tarts, a traditional cake such as a kek lapis (layer cake), a jar of murukku, or local crisps such as fried prawn/fish crackers or banana chips.
And for the friend who loves to cook, you could even gift them ingredients for Malaysian dishes, such as a rendang or laksa base paste or sauce. . Perfect for gifting Malaysians living overseas who may be missing the flavours of home!
A form of Malay art originating from Indonesia, batik is used for so many things in Malaysia; whether to be worn or to decorate a space. Traditionally, batik fabric is drawn on and coloured via a process called wax-resist-dyeing, which gives batik patterns a distinct look.
An alternative fabric gift is also songket, which is a Malay brocade material. Traditional songket is woven with metallic threads (usually gold or silver) which gives it a signature shimmer. Worn for important ceremonies like weddings, real, high-quality songket can even be quite expensive, depending on the producer of the fabric.
And if you could get the clothing sizes of the person you’re thinking of gifting, you could also just buy them a whole set of traditional wear such as gifting a kebaya or a cheongsam to a young family friend.
Items for the home
While it would be lovely to be able to gift someone something originally local like a rattan woven chair, there are simpler items that can double as decorative pieces (and that are easier to transport and gift wrap!).
Often used as a living room decoration, is a congkak board. The traditional game set makes for quite a trendy throwback living room piece, and must of course be gifted with the right amount of marbles (or substitute playing pieces).
Traditional woven baskets are also great presents that double as attractive and functional, and whether your home has a modern or traditional look, baskets always match any décor scheme and are never out of place in any room. Baskets of varying sizes can serve multiple purposes from being a waste paper basket to holding linens, towels and blankets.
As Malaysia has multiple national costumes, so as we do local jewellery items that adorn our traditional wear.
For example, a set of stacking kebaya brooches make for a unique gift, as do items such as a cucuk sanggul (a long hairpin meant to hold long hair in a bun).
And for those who can reach and support East Malaysian and Borneon accessory-makers, items such as Sabah pearls and traditional Sarawak beaded bracelets are up there with the designer accessories as stylish complements to any outfit.
Looking to support Malaysian artisans and businesses? You’ll find a number of gifts from local cakes and kuih, artisanal products like local coffee and peanut butter, as well as seasonal items like mooncakes ALL on GemSpot!
Browse through our gifts section and enjoy RM6 off from orders worth RM30 and above!