The 10 Best Things to Eat in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur Travel Guides / October 24, 2016
The 10 Best Things to Eat in Kuala Lumpur Image credit: mandameeca

Similar to the iconic tallest twin buildings in the world, the National Capital of Malaysia boasts unforgettable and exceptional food fare. With Chinese, Indonesian, Indian and Malay-infused cuisine, it’s no wonder that one of a foodie’s dream destinations is Kuala Lumpur. Their incredible wide variety of food is a reflection of the diverse cultural traditions they have.

With the infinite culinary options in this city, we’ve trimmed down all the choices that to our opinion, are the 10 best things you definitely should have in the Klang Valley.

Once you’ve experienced Kuala Lumpur’s cuisine, you’d discover that their food is incredibly cheap, full of different tempting flavors, very enticingly aromatic and have varied textures, thus always making every meal a wonderful gustatory experience.

From flavorful curries, to slurp-worthy noodle and soup dishes, savory meat viands to decadent desserts, Kuala Lumpur has something good to offer everybody, depending on what one fancies and one’s budget.

KL’s food scene is aptly comparable to Petronas Towers’s stature – exemplary, well-known and a constant great source of pride.

Here are the 10 best things to eat in Kuala Lumpur.

1. Nasi Lemak (Fatty Rice)

Nasi Lemak (Fatty Rice) Image credit: thamkc

The mere fact that it has earned the reputable Malaysia’s National Dish label, Nasi Lemak should be on top of any foodie’s list of must-tries.

As one would unwrap the banana leaf, the aroma of pandan leaves would waft in the air, whetting a hungry tummy’s appetite. Then a mound of fluffy, soft rice deliciously cooked in rich and creamy coconut milk, some side dishes of crispy dried fish, savory meat, cool cucumber bits, crunchy peanuts, and that noteworthy sambal paste will greet you.

A good sambal paste is made of anchovies, onions, chili, garlic, tamarind and lemongrass, which gives that distinct taste to Nasi Lemak. Have a bit of each ingredient in a scoopful and a myriad of flavors and textures would burst in your mouth.

Here are the best places to get your Nasi Lemak in KL.

    For delectable Nasi Lemak, breakfast bread and coffee
    What to order: Butter cakes, Kopi, Roti Bakar
    Price range: RM 3 to RM 10 ($0.72 to $2.40)
    When: 07:00 - 18:00 Mon to Sat, 07:00-14:00 Suns
    Where: 5 Jalan Stesen Klang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur
  • 6 2 10 GRILL & NASI LEMAK at Aman Suria
    For delicious Nasi Lemak and Western grilled dishes
    What to order: Nasi Lemak, Pork Sambal, Pork Rendang, Steaks
    Price range: RM 11 to RM 20 ($2.64 to $4.79)
    When: 12:00 - 14:30 and 18:00 - 23:00 daily; Closed on Tuesdays
    Where: C-21, Block C, Jalan PJU 1/45, Sunway Mas Commercial Center, Petaling Jaya, Aman Suria, Kuala Lumpur
    For Chinese-style Nasi Lemak and other out-of-this-world variety of dishes
    What to order: Nasi Lemak, Wild boar curry, Curry mutton, Sambal kerang
    Price range: RM 4 to RM 10 ($0.96 to $2.40)
    When: 16:00 - 20:30 daily
    Where: 96, Jalan Peel, Kuala Lumpur, Cheras

2. Ikan Bakar (Grilled Fish)

Ikan Bakar (Grilled Fish) Image credit: Li Tsin Soon/Flickr

Ikan Bakar is so simple and basic but it has brought so many humble stalls a massive number of devotees. The secret to its popularity?

The fish used is fresh out of the water. It is then infused with a spicy paste or rubbed with turmeric and salt that gives the tasty flavor to the fish. This will be grilled until it gets a slightly crispy skin and the flesh becomes heavenly soft.

You can dip it in a variety of sauces but a favorite is one that is made of soy sauce, tamarind water, chopped chilies and onions.

Include the grilled stingray as it is the best choice for a grilled fish. Be ready with a handful of napkins on your side as it will be a finger-licking treat!

Here are the best places to get ikan bakar in KL.

    For juicy and flavorful ikan bakar
    What to order: Grilled catfish, Grilled stingray, Fruit juices
    Price range: RM25 per pax ($8.20)
    When: 11:00 until end of lunch, daily
    Where: Dato Keramat Market, Jalan Dato Keramat, Kuala Lumpur
    For a tasty party of grilled seafood
    What to order: Grilled stingray, Roasted squid, Sambal roasted prawns
    Price range: RM25 per pax ($8.20)
    When: 11:00 - 23:00 Monday to Friday
    Where: Jalan Bellamy, Bukit Petaling, Kuala Lumpur
    For a huge range of authentic Malaysian dishes
    What to order: Grilled fish, Roasted squid, Braised beef tendon, Malay desserts
    Price range: RM10 to RM12 ($2.40 to $2.88)
    When: 07:30 - 02:00 Mon to Sat; 07:30 – 12:00 Suns
    Where: Lot 2990, Kampung Sungai Penchala, Jalan Damansara, Kuala Lumpur

3. Asam Laksa (Spicy and Sour Fish Noodles)

Asam Laksa (Spicy and Sour Fish Noodles) Image credit: Alpha/Flickr

CNN ranked this Malay dish #26 of the world’s 50 most delicious foods in 2011. A lot of restaurants ladle out this dish to customers who don’t mind the trickling sweat and tears they get from a fiery hot bowl of this noodle dish.

Some slippery vermicelli noodles cooked in a tangy and spicy tamarind broth is combined with sweet mackerel flakes, fresh mint, and coriander or pineapple bits for one mouth-watering explosive dish.

Pair a bowl of asam laksa with cold fruit juices to refresh your taste buds. This will help you accommodate more bowls of the flaming laksa.

Here are the best places to get asam laksa in KL.

    For having the best bowls of both asam laksa and curry laksa
    What to order: Asam laksa, Curry laksa, Chicken curry, Pork ball soup
    Price range: RM5 to RM9 ($1.19 to $2.16)
    When: Daily 08:30 onwards
    Where: Lorong Bandar 20, Off Petaling Street, Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur
    For generous portions of the famous asam laksa that’s been enjoyed for so many years
    What to order: Asam laksa, Char kuey teow, Fish ball noodles, Ice kacang
    Price range: RM9 to RM15 ($2.16 to $3.59)
    When: 10:00 - 22:00 daily
    Where: Lot 409-411, 4th floor, Suria KLCC, 50088, City Center, Kuala Lumpur
    For slurp-worthy noodle dishes
    What to order: Asam laksa, Pork spareribs curry mee, Noodle dishes, Yong tau foo
    Price range: RM7 to RM10 ($1.68 to $2.40)
    When: 11:00 - 23:00 Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Mondays
    Where: 11 and 13 Jalan Hujan Rahmat 3, Taman OUG, Kuala Lumpur

4. Klang-style Bak Kut Teh (Pork Bone Stew)

Klang-style Bak Kut Teh (Pork Bone Stew) Image credit: Cloudywind/Flickr

Klang-style bak kut teh is a delectable version of bak kut teh that is well loved all over Malaysia and Singapore. The allure of the dish lies in the herbal-rich broth, which can give tired travelers a quick dose of energy.

Slices of fatty pork marinated in herbs and soaked in thick and flavorful broth will be best enjoyed with heaps of rice. Top it with chili flakes, fried green shallots and mint leaves and it will surely leave your palate yearning for more.

Here are the best places to get a simmering bowl of Klang-style bak kut teh in KL.

    For the best bak kut teh in KL and even Malaysia
    What to order: White pepper pork belly soup, Ketchup bak kut teh, Vinegar pork leg
    Price range: RM7.50 per pax ($1.80)
    When: 06:00 - 02:00 daily
    Where: 351 Jalan Kepong, Taman Kepong, 52100, Kuala Lumpur
    For generous servings of wholesome bak kut teh righ in central KL
    What to order: bak kut teh, pork kidney, fermented beancurd
    Price range: RM10 to RM20 ($2.39 - $4.78)
    When: 07:00 -23:00 daily
    Where: 35A-43A, Medan Imbi, 55100, City Center, Kuala Lumpur
    For a large number of delectable food
    What to order: Bak kut teh, Steamed fish head, Pig intestines with wine, Chicken wine soup
    Price range: RM10 to RM20 ($2.39 - $4.78)
    When: 18:00 - 04:00 daily
    Where: 5, Jalan Klang Lama, Pusat Dagangan 3rd Mile Square, 58100, Kuala Lumpur

5. Satay (Grilled Skewered Meat)

Satay (Grilled Skewered Meat) Image credit: dolphfyn

Satay is absolutely a good option when you want great food. Here in KL, their skewered pork, chicken or beef are well-seasoned with turmeric powder and comes with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce that makes it more palatable.

What to expect from a no-frills food such as this? Just some succulent, chunky meat with a sweet-salty flavor that can be eaten on its own or with mounds of rice. It is a filling snack or a great viand that you can easily get anywhere in Kuala Lumpur.

Here are the best places to enjoy satay in Kuala Lumpur, at very reasonable prices, too.

    For one of the best satay in Kuala Lumpur
    What to order: Chicken satay, Beef satay, Lamb satay
    Price range: RM0.80 ($0.19) chicken, RM0.90 ($0.22) beef, RM1.40 ($0.24) lamb
    When: 18:00 - 23:30 daily, closed on alternate Sundays
    Where: 121, Jalan Gombak, Gombak Setia, 53000, Kuala Lumpur
    For a large array of food that aptly deserves two thumbs up
    What to order: Satay, Steamed fish head, Mee goreng, Tom yam noodles
    Price range: RM10 per person ($2.40)
    When: 10:00 - 00:00 daily
    Where: 74-96 Jalan Peel, Taman Maluri, Kuala Lumpur
    For juicy and huge servings of satay
    What to order: Pork satay, Beef satay, Mee robus bonda
    Price range: RM2 to RM10 ($0.48 to $2.40)
    When: 17:00 - 02:00 daily
    Where: 55, Jalan Pandan Kemajuan A, 55100, City Center, Kuala Lumpur

6. Rojak (Fruit and Vegetable Salad)

Rojak (Fruit and Vegetable Salad) Image credit: akulamatiau

Rojak is one of the dishes that best exemplify the cultural diversity of Malaysia. This toothsome mixture of fruit and vegetable salad combines all sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavors in one dish that can be perfectly enjoyed as a snack or as an appetizer.

What brings the blanched fresh fruits and vegetables together is the umami prawn paste that surprisingly works so well with this food. As if that’s not enough, a generous topping of crunchy ground peanuts is added to the already pleasurable rojak.

Make the rest of your day a whole lot better by pairing your salad with fruit thirst quenchers. Aside from being cheap and tasty, the best reason to try it is it will surely do a lot of good things for your body.

Here are the best places to have rojak in KL.

    For unique rojak dishes
    What to order: Nasi ayam, Rojak sotong, Rojak mi ayam
    Pricing: RM5 ($1.20)
    When: 07:00 - 17:30 weekdays, 07:00 - 15:00 weekends
    Where: Pernama PN 090, Jalan Bellamy, 50450, City Center, Kuala Lumpur
    For fantastic servings of fiery, good rojak
    What to order: Teh tarik, Mee rebus, Rojak mamak
    Pricing: RM5 ($1.20)
    When: 08:00 - 14:30 daily
    Where: Jalan Kamunting, 50300, City Center, Kuala Lumpur
    For rojak with heavenly peanut sauce
    What to order: Fresh juices, Pasembur, Rojak
    Price range: RM3 to RM 10 ($0.72 to $2.40)
    When: 14:00 - 15:30 or until rojak is sold out
    Where: Jalan Mergastua, Kepong Baru, 52100, Kuala Lumpur

7. Roti Canai (Flatbread)

Roti Canai (Flatbread) Image credit: rumandawi

This simply rolled out dough made of flour, sugar, margarine, eggs and condensed milk is certainly Malaysia’s favorite bread. It’s so versatile that can be enjoyed as a snack, as a meal or even as a dessert.

No-frills, basic and downright delicious on its own. But if you want to take it a notch higher, use the roti canai to scoop up the rich curry or top it with more condensed milk, some fruit chunks or ice cream.

With this kind of simple delicacy, the imagination just needs a little tapping to turn it into an excitingly delightful treat.

Here are the best places to get roti canai in KL.

    For soft roti and creamy dhall
    What to order: Roti Canai, Roti sardine, Roti telur
    Price range: RM1 to RM3 ($0.24 to $0.72)
    When: 06:00 - 12:00 daily
    Where: Jalan 4/112, Off Pantai Dalan, 59200, City Center, Kuala Lumpur
    For insanely delicious roti canai banjir special you wouldn’t find anywhere else
    What to order: Roti canai banjir special, Sambal, Fish curry, Teh tarik
    Price range: RM0.90 to RM3.80 ($0.22 to $0.91)
    When: 24 hours daily
    Where: 2, G/F, Selangor Mansion, Lorong Bunus Satu, Off Jalan, 50100, Kuala Lumpur
    For a wide selection of roti canai
    What to order: Roti potato, Valentine roti, Teh tarik
    Price range: RM1.20 to RM4.50 ($0.29 to $1.08)
    When: 10:00 03:00 daily
    Where: No.1 Jalan Semerak, 54000, City Center, Kuala Lumpur

8. Chilli Pan Mee (Spicy Flat Flour Noodle Dish)

Chilli Pan Mee (Spicy Flat Flour Noodle Dish) Image credit: Li Tsin Soon/Flickr

Chilli pan mee is yet another popular noodle dish that one should definitely try. This fiery hot noodle concoction is comprised of flat, chewy noodles, fried shallots, minced meat, crispy little dried fish, yolk-oozing poached egg and some highly lethal chili flakes.

There’s often a bowl of sweet potato leaves that come with the spicy noodles to help in toning down the flaming hotness of this exquisite dish. Chilli pan mee’s intensity literally does bring one to tears but it also brings one to ask for more. What else does this dish bring you? A truly lovely (and lively) gustatory experience!

Here are the best places to get chilli pan mee in KL.

    For constantly imitated chilli pan mee and the best comforting soups you will ever find in Kuala Lumpur
    What to order: Chilli Pan Mee, Homemade fried dumplings, Fish head noodles, Chinese prawn dumpling soup
    Price range: RM5 to RM10 ($1.20 to $2.40)
    When: 09:00 - 21:00 daily
    Where: 18, Jalan Metro Perdana 8, Taman Usahawan, Kepong, 52100, Kuala Lumpur
    For a wide array of pan mee variations imaginable to one
    What to order: Herbal chicken pan mee, Hot and spicy pan mee, Fried pork pan mee
    Price range: RM5 to RM10 ($1.20 to $2.40)
    When: 09:30 - 22:00 daily
    Where: 30, Jalan Kuchai Maju 9, Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park, 57100, Kuchai Lama
    For chilli pan mee that won Best Cheap Eats in the Time Out KL Food Awards 2013
    What to order: Sayur manis soup, Pork meat balls, Chilli pan mee
    Price range: RM5 to RM10 ($1.20 to $2.40)
    When: 07:30 - 21:00 weekdays, 07:30 - 16:00 weekends
    Where: 40, Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman, Kampung Baru, 50300, Kuala Lumpur

9. Char Kuey Teow (Stir-fried Noodles)

Char Kuey Teow (Stir-fried Noodles) Image credit: yuliang11

Char Kuey Teow (aka Fried Kuey Teow) is one of the most sought after dishes that never fail to please even the pickiest eaters. You can have it dry, wet or in-between.

The mere aroma of this dish can lure one enough to have a seat and take part in a feast of the senses. For as low as RM5 ($1.20), you can get the amazing flavors from the brilliant combination of flat, stir-fried noodles, deshelled cockles, crunchy bean sprouts, rich shrimp paste, chives, soy sauce and fresh prawns. Add some Chinese sausage or fish cake, you’ll instantly fall in love with CKT.

Here are the best places to get char kuey teow in KL.

    For award-winning and authentic Penang food fare
    What to order: Fried kuey teow, Curry mee, Nasi goreng, Green spicy sambal
    Price range: RM6 to RM10 ($1.44 to $2.40)
    When: 17:00 - 22:00 daily except Tuesdays
    Where: No. 13, Selera Wawasan, Jalan SS 3/33, Taman Universiti, 47300, Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur
    For good char kuey teow at very reasonable prices
    What to order: Fried tong hoon, Char kuey teow, Ice milk tea
    Price range: RM4.50 to RM5.50 ($1.08 to $1.32)
    When: 11:00 - 22:00 daily
    Where: 1083, Jalan 17127, Section 17, Petaling Jaya, 46400, Kuala Lumpur
    For appetizing kuey teow with distinct wok hei flavours
    What to order: Fried kuey teow, Yam cake, Fried lo bak gou, Noodle dishes
    Price range: RM4 to RM10 ($0.96 to $2.40)
    When: 07:00 - 14:00 daily
    Where: 20, Jalan Bandar 1, Taman Melawati, 53100, Kuala Lumpur

10. Cendol Dessert

Cendol Dessert Image credit: Li Tsin Soon

Now any foodie knows very well that a great meal would only be perfect if it is capped off with a sweet ending. And when in Malaysia, nothing gets any better than having a refreshing tub of cendol for dessert. It is the best way to cleanse your palate after all the rich food that you had.

A simple recipe of green pandan-flavored rice flour strands with palm sugar syrup, coconut milk, kidney beans and shaved ice is the most glorious thing one can have, especially under the heat of the sweltering sun. If you’re feeling fancy, add some creamed corn, grass jelly or even durian to your cendol.

Here are the best places to get cendol in KL.

    For tasty cendol and other penang-style desserts
    What to order: Desserts, Penang curry mee, Rojak
    Price range: RM6.50 to RM9 ($1.56 to $2.16)
    When: 10:00 - 23:00 daily
    Where: L1-43 and 44, Jalan Manis 6, Taman Segar, 56100, Kuala Lumpur
    For scrumptious snacks and more in an old-school setting
    What to order: Cendol, Pai tee, Old-fashioned biscuits, Nyonya laksa
    Price range: RM4.50 to RM16 ($1.08 to $3.83)
    When: 10:00 - 22:00 daily
    Where: 2, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, Bangsar Utama, 59100, Kuala Lumpur
    For the best thirst quenchers and desserts
    What to order: Fruit juices, Cendol, Rojak
    Price range: RM3.50 to RM10 ($0.84 to $2.40)
    When: 10:00 - 23:00 daily
    Where: Brein Mall, Jalan Kepong, Jinjang Selatan, 52000, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur