We interviewed 282 histologically confirmed cases of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) in Chinese residents of Selangor and the Federal Territory, Malaysia, and an equal number of Chinese age-, sex-, and length-of-residence-matched controls sampled from the general population. Consumption of 55 dietary items during childhood, and 5 years pre-diagnosis of NPC, was analyzed by univariate and multivariate methods. Four salted preserved foods (fish, leafy vegetables, egg and root), fresh pork/beef organ meats and beer and liquor consumption exhibited strong positive associations, and 4 vegetable/fruit combinations strong negative associations with NPC. Factor analysis and multivariable modeling using estimated factor scores strongly supported separate effects on NPC of vegetables/fruits, salted preserved foods, pork/beef organ meats and beer/liquor consumption. Multivariable modeling associated NPC most clearly with high consumption of salted fish, salted eggs, pork/beef liver and beer and low consumption of Chinese flowering cabbage, oranges/tangerines and shrimp. A strong residual association of social class with NPC remained after adjustment for diet, which is consistent with a substantial role for non-dietary environmental factors.