Taste Rich Asian Flavors: What To Eat in Kuala Lumpur

Because Malaysia is Asia’s cultural melting pot, it’s no surprise that its top city, Kuala Lumpur, has become a foodie paradise. Eat your way through the capital and discover a variety of Asian flavors, including savory Peranakan, Indian, and Chinese-style dishes.

From spicy curries to coconut-rich delicacies, Malaysian dishes are known to be bursting with flavor. We’re here to introduce types of cuisines, delicious staples, and where to get them! Read up on our Kuala Lumpur food guide below and seek out these mouthwatering Asian treats:

How To Get There:

Grab KLIA Ekspress Tickets to go straight from the airport to the city centre! You’ll reach your destination under 30 minutes and satisfy your hunger pangs from the flight ASAP.

Malaysian and Singaporean Cuisine

Nasi Lemak

Nasi lemak, a traditional Malay curry paste rice dish served on a banana leaf (image via Shutterstock)
Nasi lemak, a traditional Malay curry paste rice dish served on a banana leaf (image via Shutterstock)

Often making the top spot on foodie lists and as Malaysia’s national dish, nasi lemak is a fragrant rice dish that has definitely earned its titles! Head to Village Park Restaurant to sample the best nasi lemak in town and savor every bite of coconut rice, sambal paste (a spicy shrimp paste), anchovies, peanuts, and a hard boiled egg. Pair your meal with Malaysian fried chicken or spicy chicken rendang and dig in!

  • Price: RM10.40
  • Best Bet for Nasi Lemak: Village Park Restaurant
  • Address: Village Park Restaurant, 5, Jalan SS 21/37, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. (Park in Starling Mall)

Kaya Toast

Bite into a creamylicious Kaya Toast (image via Shutterstock)
Bite into a creamylicious Kaya Toast (image via Shutterstock)

Toast might not seem like a big deal but trust us, you’ll be craving it back home! Again, local cuisine loves the use of coconuts! Head to the locally-frequented Yut Kee Restaurant to munch on a warm and crisp bread loaded with kaya jam (coconut egg jam) and sugar, topped off with a slice of butter and a side of soft-boiled eggs.

Have a cup of coffee to wash it all down. Breakfast has never tasted this good – French toast and cereal be damned.

  • Price: ~RM22 – 42
  • Best Bet for Kaya Toast: Yut Kee Restaurant
  • Address: 1, Jalan Kamunting (Lorong Kamunting 2), Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur

Char Kuey Teow

(image via Shutterstock)
(image via Shutterstock)

Are you a fan of Asian noodle dishes? Then try this Chinese-inspired local version of pad thai and don’t blame us if you get seriously addicted! It’s flat rice noodles stir-fried with egg, prawns, fish cake slices, chicken or pork, shrimp paste, chili, and a mixture of soy sauces. Opt to have yours with bits of Chinese sausage for a more savory treat.

  • Price: RM5.50 per plate
  • Best Bet for Char Kuey Teow: Rock Restaurant
  • Address: Rocky Restaurant, 15, Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar

Hokkien Mee 

(image via Alpha, Flickr)
(image via Alpha, Flickr)

Hokkien Mee originated from a hawker-style stall operated by the famed Kim Lian Kee and the heavy influence of China’s Fujian province cuisine. Try this iconic Malaysian fried noodle made even better (charcoal-grilled!) inside KL Chinatown’s Kim Lian Kee restaurant, the birthplace of the dish!

Indulge in the stir-fried noodles braised in thick, black sauce (soy and mushroom sauce) and completed with pork belly slices, squid, egg and cabbage. Another highlight of this dish – you can adjust it according it your taste. Garnish yours with chili sauce, garlic sauce, or other condiments.

  • Price: ~RM8
  • Best Bet for Hokkien Fried Noodles: Kim Lian Kee in KL Chinatown
  • Address: 56, Jalan Petaling, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Indian Cuisine

Roti Canai  

(image via Yun Huang Yong, Flickr)
(image via Yun Huang Yong, Flickr)

Think that only white rice is the go-to for Asians? Think again; this beloved Indian dish is a flatbread snack consumed all over Asia, including Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia. Bite into one and you’ll learn exactly why – the mildly sweet taste, the fluffy texture, the crisp flakiness of the bread’s edges, and the variety of sauces make it palatable for everyone’s taste buds.

Drop by Valentine Roti to try a special roti canai with sardines, along with cabbage, onions and chives!

  • Price: RM1.20 – RM4.50
  • Best Bet for Roti Canai: Valentine Roti
  • Address: Stor No. 1, Jalan Semarak Opposite Menara Celcom, 54000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Chinese Cuisine

Bak Kut Teh

(image via Shutterstock)
(image via Shutterstock)

No KL food list would be complete without this hot and soupy staple! Bak kut teh or BKT simply means pork bone tea. Don’t be mislead by the name ‘cause there’s no tea in it – the broth consists of hearty pork ribs, fragrant medicinal herbs, and additional ingredients like fried shallots or tofu. Enjoy the depth of flavor and heartwarming goodness best on a rainy day.

  • Price: RM7
  • Best Bet for Bak Kut Teh: Hong Bee Bak Kut Teh Restaurant
  • Address: Batu 3 3/4 No. 613 Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur 51200, Malaysia

Cantonese Cuisine

Char Siew

(image via Derrick Loh, Flickr)
(image via Derrick Loh, Flickr)

Imagine a luscious, caramelized glaze over tender, barbecued pork with glistening fat and charred edges…drooling yet? Come to Char Siew Yoong to let the glossy char siew melt into your mouth. Pair yours with white rice or plain noodles to balance the heavy meat. Need we say more?

  • Price: ~RM26 for 4 people
  • Best Bet for Char Siew: Char Siew Yoong at Pudu Ulu
  • Address: 23, Jalan Pudu Hulu, Taman Pertama, 56100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

KL Foodie Haunts To Visit:

Jalan Alor Night Market

(image via John Walker, Flickr)
(image via John Walker, Flickr)

Situated near the city centre, this is the best place for an authentic taste of KL’s street food scene! Delight in endless cheap options like BBQ chicken wings, salted egg squid and beef satay  – aside from the dishes we listed above –  for as little as RM3.50.

  • How to Get There: From wherever you are in Kuala Lumpur, ride the LRT and alight at Bukit Bintang Station (near Lot10 Shopping Mall). Take a 5-minute walk to Jalan Alor
  • Address: Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Petaling Street Market

(image via Andrew Lawson, Flickr)
(image via Andrew Lawson, Flickr)

Aside from colorful handcrafted items and souvenirs (think bags, clothes, wallet, perfume etc), you can get your fill of Chinese-style cuisine here. Sample succulent salted duck, beef noodles, hokkien mee, chee cheong fun (porridge) and claypot pearl noodles.

  • How to Get There: KL Sentral or KLCC, hop aboard the LRT and alight at Pasar Seni. Find Chinatown on your right
  • Address:  Jalan Petaling, City Centre Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, 50000, Malaysia

Pro-tip: Pair your meal with teh tarik (pulled tea)

(image via Shutterstock)
(image via Shutterstock)

Since a lot of local dishes tend to be spicy, this pulled milk tea drink should help soothe your tongue. Enjoy the natural sweetness of Malaysia’s national drink, a fine blend of black tea, sugar and condensed milk! You can find and order a glass almost everywhere in KL.

  • Average Price: ~RM2 – 2.5

Savor Malaysia’s wide selection of Chinese, Peranakan, and Indian dishes you never knew existed before in Kuala Lumpur. Embark on a flavorful journey filled with culinary delights and cheap street eats. Stay tuned for more tasty recos from us (your foodie buddies) here at KKday!