Food in Kuala Lumpur

Book unique experiences offered by locals in Kuala Lumpur.

About Food in Kuala Lumpur

There is perhaps no better city in all of Asia for foodies than Kuala Lumpur. Malaysians are absolutely obsessed with eating! Thousands of local food blogs attest to their fascination with all things food. Beware of going out for lunch - locals will travel midday for up to an hour for the best (name your dish here), then head back to the office! And with four major cuisines merging on your plate, you will likely be delighted and surprised each and every meal. One word of warning: although Malaysian food is quite tasty and relatively cheap, it is hard on the arteries and the scale. So don't come to KL if you're on a diet!

What to Eat?

A trip to Kuala Lumpur would not be complete without a tour of the four major native cuisines: Malay, Chinese Hakka, Tamil Indian and Baba Nyonya, or a fusion of Chinese and Malay. Although there are many high-end dishes on offer, the basics are the following.

For street food, the Chinese Hokkien cuisine is second to none. Try the char koay teow (friend noodles), oyster omelette, chicken rice, the spicy Hokkien prawn mee or chee cheong fun (fried noodles in oyster sauce). For Malay food, try the curry laksa (curry with noodles), beef rendang (marinated beef), nasi lemak (literally, fatty rice or rice cooked in coconut milk with spicy sambal chili sauce, peanuts and fish). For Indian, try the roti cenai (fried bread with dhal curry) or banana leaf (a variety of curries, salads and fried seafood and vegetables literally served on a banana leaf). For fusion or Baba Nyona cuisine, try the asam laksa (a rice noodle in curry broth dish), otak-otak (fish cake wrapped in banana leaf) or bak chang (rice dumpling with pork).


Service is included in the bill in Malaysia.

Price per Meal

Street food will cost as little as $2 per dish. Average restaurants would cost about double that. Higher-end dining with tablecloths and air conditioning will run you $20 or more per head.

Best Restaurants

For street food, the best 'hawker' establishments are lined cheek-to-jowl on Jalan Alor near the nightlife district of Jalan Bukit Bintang. You'll be seated in plastic chairs on the street with no air conditioning, but the food will likely be better than most restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. We kid you not...

Best Cafes

The best cafes are actually the coffee houses or kopitiam. Although the traditional coffee houses are few and far between, any tour of Chinatown and Petaling Street would be incomplete without visiting one. Try the traditionally roasted coffee filtered through linen cloth, a hard boiled egg and toast slathered with kaya (coconut milk boiled for hours with sugar) and margarine. None of the traditional breakfast or coffeeship fare is healthy, it is delicious and the chatting patrons harken back to an earlier and fast disappearing age.

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