Differences between Bulgaria and Malaysia

1. “What do you miss the most about/in Malaysia?”
2. “What do you like about Bulgaria?”
3. “What do you think about Bulgaria?”
4. “What are the differences between Bulgaria and Malaysia?”

I’ve answered the first 3 questions in my previous posts. Click on the links above if you haven’t read them. In this post, I’m going to share about a few differences between Bulgaria and Malaysia.

There are 3 significant differences between these 2 countries: the climate, the languages, and the food. There are definitely more than these but I’m going to share just these 3 points in this post.

1. Climate

  • The climate in Malaysia is equatorial. In short, it has either sunny or rainy days. The humidity level is quite high. During sunny days, it can be hot and stuffy that you can hardly breathe. During heavy rainfalls, the thunder and lightning can strike so hard that you feel like they’re just next to you.
  • The climate in Bulgaria is continental. There are several regions in Bulgaria that have the Mediterranean climate. In short, it has 4 seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Spring and Autumn can be chilly at times but I think the weather during these 2 seasons are the best (or I should say, more “humane”). Winter can be drastic and temperatures can drop down to -20° (or less). Summer can be so hot that you feel your skin burns under the sun.
  • Side notes: 1. No weather is perfect (haha!). 2. I’m not a climate expert. You can search for more information on the Internet if you are interested to know more.

2. Language

  • In Malaysia, we mostly use Bahasa Malaysia (BM) for government-related matters and both BM and English for official matters. However, Malaysians use different languages/dialects at different times, in different contexts and to different people. We usually speak “properly” when we are at school or at work or when we are talking to the elders, but most of the time, we prefer to use Manglish among friends to show solidarity.
  • In Bulgaria, the Bulgarian language is the main language. English is not necessarily a second language for Bulgarians and it is not widely used here. German, French and Russian languages are among the common choices for Bulgarians as a second language.

3. Food

  • I have problems describing this part. I’m not sure if they are called the “Malaysian cuisine” but we usually call it the “typical Malaysian food”. If you ask me what kind of Malaysian food I like, I’ll tell you that I like char kway teow (literal translation: stir-fried ricecake strips, from Chinese cuisine), nasi lemak  (literal translation: rice fat?? – fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves, from Malay cuisine) and roti canai (some kind of flat bread, from Indian cuisine). It’s really complicated. You should really search for more information on the Internet.
  • Pizza and pasta are common in Bulgaria, but most people stick with the typical Bulgarian cuisine. When you mention “Bulgarian food” (or beverage), you immediately think of musakakebache, sarmi, banitsa, tarator, gyuvech, ayran, boza… 
  • A side note: I know better “to eat”, and not “to explain”. Haha! 😀

In addition to these, I’m also going to share about other differences in lifestyle I’ve experienced in my daily routine.

4. Nodding vs. Shaking your head 

  • In Malaysia, nodding generally means “yes” and shaking your head generally means “no”.
  • In Bulgaria, it is the complete opposite.
  • I’ve mentioned this in one of my previous posts, click here to read about it.

5. Rice vs. Bread

  • In Malaysia, rice is essential in almost every meal.  Bread is mostly eaten during breakfast or as a snack.
  • In Bulgaria, bread is essential in every meal. Even if your meal consists of rice, you still eat it with bread. Rice is like a side dish.

6. Fork vs. spoon

  • In Malaysia, except in the case of fine dining where more than one utensil is used, we generally use spoon when eating. I use both fork and spoon but most my family members use only spoon when eating. Some Malaysians prefer not using any utensils at all.
  • In Bulgaria, again with the exception of fine dining or when you are drinking soup, usually only the fork is used. Yes, I eat rice with fork here! 😀

7. Alcohol vs. Non-alcohol

  • In Malaysia, alcoholic drinks are only allowed for non-Muslims. People usually consume alcoholic drinks (beer, wine or liquor) during night time or during special occasions.
  • In Bulgaria, people drink alcoholic drinks all the time, at any time of the day. In the restaurant menus, alcoholic drinks can take up more than 5 pages. Non-alcoholic drinks usually take up only about half a page. Alcoholic drinks are considerably cheap here. And many people own a vineyard and they brew their own wine. Every year, my father-in-law brewed his own wine, on average 200 litres per year.

8. (On a sunny day) Shopping malls vs. Beaches 

  • In Malaysia (except on long weekends or during school holidays), on weekends when you have nothing to do, most people go to the mall. After all, the malls are air-conditioned and you can find everything there. And you don’t have to suffer under the hot sun!
  • In Bulgaria, everyone goes to the beach. If you don’t go (or haven’t gone) to the beach, they think you’re weird. (Yeah, I’m weird). I know people who can go to the beach everyday for a month. Apparently, people here like to “suffer under hot sun” (a.k.a to get tanned)!

It’s so interesting to see the differences in the lifestyle of different people in different countries. I think the most interesting difference for me is eating rice with a fork. Which do you think is the most interesting?

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