Rose syrup with lime and ice is a wonderful
thirst-quenching drink and pretty sight :)
It's also happens to be one of my drinks of choice when eating
I have a Japanese friend who thinks alcoholic drinks, especially sake, goes well with pretty much any food. Since we share a common love of sake and beer, she was shocked when she asked me what drinks I thought went best with Malaysian food, and my reply was restricted to non-alcoholic drinks!
More specifically, I had told her that my favorite drink in Malaysia is rose syrup with ice and lime -- and I find it perfect with assam laksa, nasi kandar and a whole lot of other foods besides. Also, that I like drinking Malaysian style iced, black coffee when eating such as the pork balls and kidney meehoon (white rice noodles) in soup dish at the Perak Lane stall that's always the first place I go and eat at on my return to Penang or bak kut teh (translation: pork bone tea -- and no, despite the name, it's much more of a substantial dish than mere drink!).
In addition, there are lots of fruit juices that I love to drink when in Malaysia -- including watermelon juice, mango juice and coconut water (but absolutely not coconut milk, which is something Malaysians cook with -- including to make nasi lemak -- rather than drink!). Best of all, but not always easy to find, is ampullah with some preserved plum mixed in. Oh, and nutmeg juice is pretty delicious too!
In explaining to my Japanese friend my preference for non-alcoholic drinks to go with Malaysian food, I told her that it's only partly because Malaysia is a country with a Muslim majority (in terms of religion) -- though it's true enough that nasi kandar and certain other traditional eateries operated by Muslims don't serve alcohol. Rather, it's also because I tend to prefer to drink non-alcoholic drinks when eating spicy food -- not least because certain particularly fiery spicy foods get me needing to drink a lot of liquids in order to cool my mouth down!
In any case, it's also true that Japanese food is actually the only Asian food that I think is enhanced by drinking alcohol (specifically sake or beer) with. Indeed, when eating Thai, Vietnamese and Indian as well as Malaysian food, I really do prefer to non-alcoholic drinks as accompaniments. And while I have been known to have some beer or even soju to go with Korean meals, I'm also pretty happy to drink a Sprite or some other fizzy soft drink when having bossam, galbi, a jigae or something else altogether! ;b