Having dinner with Malaysian friends can be tough because of food taboos.
As a rule of thumb:
* Muslims don't eat pork and want to have meat that's Halal (killed according to certain rituals).
* Hindus don't eat beef.
* Many Hindus who eat meat regularly, are vegetarian on Tuesdays and Fridays. (Well, actually most often this applies to the ladies but many of the men don't bother, unless they are eating with their female relatives.)
* There are many Buddhists/Taoists who don't eat beef.
* There are many Hindus and Buddhists who are vegetarian or vegan.
And to think I used to have difficulty cooking for friends who eat Kosher!
Anyway, because it's all so darn complicated, cooking for a dinner party can be a minefield. Having had some difficult experiences, I was particularly worried when we were married. It was about 6 months after our arrival in Kuching, Sarawak, and we had invited about 40 guests.
I solved it by catering to everyone. I cooked vegan and veggy food, chicken, fish, pork and beef dishes, and labeled everything clearly so that everyone knew what was what.
It was a lot of work but it was worth it. It was a great party and we had a blast. And remembering that day, I have to say: I miss my friends in Kuching!