Food & Cuisine in Kuala Lumpur
Malaysians' passion for good food is visible in the large number of restaurants and eateries that have come up in Kuala Lumpur. Apart from being well known for its Malaysian cuisine, KL is also famous for other cuisines of the world.
Eating out in Kuala Lumpur is not expensive and you can get a good meal for a fairly small amount.
Our Kuala Lumpur Restaurant Guide below provides information on the local cuisine, and offers some recommendations on where to eat out. In Kuala Lumpur you'll be able to find the entire range of Malaysian cuisine as well as food from around the world. There are also numerous street-stalls and markets, perfect for picking up a snack whilst shopping in Kuala Lumpur. We also provide general information for eating out on your Malaysia holiday.
Food & Cuisine in Kuala Lumpur
The roadside stalls or coffee shops in Kuala Lumpur, known as kedai Kopi by Malaysians, operate like a food square, with many stalls selling a mixed variety of food. Non-halal Chinese food is served over here. Tables and chairs are put along the sidewalk in front of the coffee shops for people to sit at while they eat. Kuala Lumpur has countless coffee shops on every street. Jalan Alor in the Golden Triangle, Jalan Sultan and Jalan Hang Lekir and Jalan Petaling in Chinatown at the City Centre have some of the finest coffee shops and stalls. These stalls open for business only at night.
Food outlets, known as "Mamak" shops, are arch rivals of the coffee shops. These shops and stalls, run by Indian Muslims, are popular because they offer excellent food at competitive prices all over Kuala Lumpur. The food that they serve is halal, which is permitted in Islam law just as kosher is acceptable in the Jewish tradition. Jalan Doraisamy, near the Heritage Row food courts, has many such Mamak stalls that are very famous. You can get good Malaysian food in cleaner surroundings if you visit the malls but the prices are high compared to the coffee shops.
Kuala Lumpur has loads of good restaurants. Restaurants in Midvalley, Golden Triangle, Heritage Row, Bangsar, and a few areas in Hartamas and Damansara serve excellent food. The restaurants usually close shop by 10 pm, so you will have to settle for street food if you get hungry in the night.
All types of authentic Chinese cuisine in Kuala Lumpur, from the simple to the most sophisticated dishes, are available. But if you want to eat ethnic Chinese food, especially Cantonese, then Chinatown is the best place for it. Brickfields and Lebah Ampang in the city centre serve Indian food. Jalan Masjid India, Chow kit and Kampung Baru areas in Tuanku Abdul Rahman district serve authentic Malay food. There are many expensive restaurants in Bangsar which offer Western food. Ampang Jaya has some great Korean food. Bukit Bintang is famous for its numerous Arab and Middle Eastern restaurants.
Chow Kit Market
The biggest food market of Kuala Lumpur is the Chow Kit Market located at the northern end of Jalan TAR. All types of fresh food, fruit, vegetables, tofu, spices, meat, fish, crabs, lobsters and live worms are available here. The hawker stalls sell delicious roti canai and nasi campur, which is rice served with assorted meat, fish and vegetable dishes.
Jalan Alor is situated parallel to the Jalan Bukit Bintang in the Golden Triangle. This street comes alive in the night with aromas from the pavement cafes and from the delicacies cooked by hawkers on the roadside. Visitors have the choice of moving on to other stalls if they are not satisfied with the food and services offered.
Hawkers sell delicious food all day long at Jalan Petaling in Chinatown. If you visit early in the morning you can feast on steamed dumplings and porridge. Preparation for the night market starts in the evenings and cars are not allowed inside the lane. It is interesting to see hawkers and cafes setting up stalls and preparing for the night market, with tables and chairs occupying the streets. The seafood restaurant located at the edge of Golden Triangle is famous for its shark fin dishes. Here food is served by waitresses dressed in traditional attire. The menu card displays a long list of wines that includes French, Italian and Australian wines. Visitors don't mind waiting to get a table on the terrace.
Drink in Kuala Lumpur
Apart from good coffee shops there are many well known pubs and clubs which have live performances for entertainment. After a night out at the clubs Malaysians prefer to go to the street side stalls or Mamak stalls, to relax and have a bite to eat. These stalls are open 24 hours a day and serve light food and a range of non-alcoholic beverages like the tarik, which is a drink of frothed tea. Mamak stalls, found all over the city, are famous and they form an important part of the Malaysian night market.
Kopitiam, an expensive version of the traditional Chinese coffee shop, has set its own trend. Mostly open during the day, this place serves some of the best tea, coffee, light meals and snacks like nasi lemak, which is coconut flavoured rice with fried anchovies and peanuts. The other popular dish is toast with kava, which is made of coconut and curd and is used as a spread. Kuala Lumpur has many chains of international and local coffee outlets for those who prefer Western style coffee. These include Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and San Francisco Coffee.