Kuala Lumpur’s signature dishes

Known as little Asia inside South East Asia itself, Malaysia offers who visit this country variety of tasty treats, especially street food. The bustling capital – Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (KL in short) is a true heaven to seek for authentic Malaysia culinary. If you are searching for “not-to-miss” signature dishes in KL, this master guide is definitely your reference.

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  • Nasi Lemak

Rice cooked in coconut milk, served together with fried salty small anchovies (Ikan), peanuts, boiled or fried egg, cucumber slices and the extreme key secret that creates the unique taste of the dish – Sambal, Nasi Lemak is the only one not to be missed if you are just able to try one of Malaysia’s dishes. This specialty is ranked and voted on top of local food by many famous traveling magazines.

Seeking for a specific restaurant or Mamak (stalls) in KL is not hard, but to eat the way local people do is another matter. These 3 restaurants shall let you enjoy the authentic Nasi Lemak without ruining your wallet.

Nasi Lemak Bumbung (approximately 2800 reviews on Google)

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This restaurant is at Jalan 21/11b in Seapark, near LRT Taman Paramount station. Opened only at evening, this place offer you the most affordable qualified Nasi Lemak Chicken at just RM 5.5 for one portion. Though not much rice are served but the quality is out of question! Fragrant soft rice dipped in the not-too-sweet Sambal sauce creates a joyful feeling. Chicken is deep-fried but still moist. Fried egg does enhance the flavor to the next level. However, the environment nearby is not clean and hygienic enough to provide a safe feeling. So, eat at your own risk!

Rate: 8/10

Operation Hours: 17:00 – 4:00

Address: Nasi Lemak Bumbung, Jalan 21/11b, Sea Park, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Nasi Lemak Wanjo Kampung Baru (approximately 1900 reviews on Google)

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Located inside Kampung Baru, which is just walking distance from the LRT station named after the place, this restaurant may attract people by Nasi Lemak cooked with the original Malaysian recipe. A dish of Deep fried Chicken with a great portion of rice, salty anchovies and peanuts cost you roughly RM 8. You may also want to add extra side dishes as chicken sausage, fried chicken nuggets or fried fish beside the original dish. The restaurant does provide me a proof of eating the most authentic Nasi Lemak in KL by the number of Muslim guests inside the restaurant as well as the clear taste. Their sambal sauce is spicy but sweet. Fried chicken is without doubt, too dry. Anchovies are also saltier than the rest of the list. Despite the fact that their recipe does not suit me much, they are still one of the best options to choose from various food stalls out there in KL.

Rate: 6.5/10

Address: Nasi Lemak Wanjo Kampung Baru, 8, Jalan Raja Muda Musa, Kampung Baru, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Nasi Lemak Village Park Restaurant (Approximately 4000 reviews on Google)

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Considered as the king of Nasi Lemak, this restaurant on Jalan SS 21/37, Damansara (2 kilometers away from TTDI MRT Station) is often packed with crowded at lunchtime or during the weekend. A selection of Malaysian dishes are served but Nasi Lemak marks their bestseller. Be aware that you may not have a table when coming at these times. Their Nasi Lemak come with all the other ingredients for a signature dish. I was really amazed at the huge fried one quarter chicken coming with the dish. Priced at RM 10,50, the dish is a balanced composition of ungreasy coconut rice, awesome spicy Sambal sauce and tendered fried chicken. Which I dislike is that they put on too little Sambal sauce. Too many flakes of fried garlic on top of the chicken makes the rice saltier than it’s supposed to be.

Rate: 8.5/10

Operation Hours: 7:00 – 19:30

Address: Village Park Restaurant, 5, Jalan SS 21/37, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

  • Naan + Tandoori Chicken

In my opinion, Indian meals are not obviously attractive. Perhaps, for Vietnamese, we do not get used to using too many herbs and spices in our dishes, especially curry leaves. Hence, the combination of Naan and Tandoori chicken is a blast that drives away all of my prejudice for Indian cuisine. Flatten dough stuffed with cheese baked in a large vase called “Tandoori” comes with red colored chicken roasted in the same “oven” is what you should have for a joyful dinner.

But, where to find it?

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From the name itself, RSMY Best Cheese Naan Restaurant on Jalan Medan Tuanku, which is just 5 minutes walking from Medan Tuanku Monorail Station, reflects the quality of the dish. They are said to serve not only generous cheese amount inside the baked Naan but also the most flavorful tandoori chicken in town. The combo costs you at RM 19.5. Tried many times the dish, that was the first time I found myself happy with so much cheese spilled out from the hot soft inside but crispy outside coat naan. Dipped with the sour sauce, the chicken has special aroma that I can’t stop resist. They do even have a sink for you to wash your hand after the meal. Salute for their top rated Naan and Tandoori chicken.

Rate: 7.5/10

Operation Hours: 11:00 – 00:00

Address: RSMY Best Cheese Naan, 11&13, Jalan Medan Tuanku, Medan Tuanku, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.

  • Satay (Grilled Chicken Sticks)

Falling in love with BBQ? You do not need to search anymore but take a chance on Satay – Malaysian BBQ style!! Marinated with traditional sauce, chicken or beef are then made in small sticks and grilled on red coal. From a distance, aroma smell of the grilled meat spreads away, luring any fan of street food’s hearts. Often accompanied by sweet peanut sauce, nasi impit (cube of cooked sticky rice) and cucumber, such dish is ranked among the yummy cheapest top snack with normally just RM 1 per stick.

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Capitol Satay 1995 Warisan (150 reviews on Google) is always proud of their budget satay. Hidden in Kampung Baru – “the last traditional Malaysian village” inside the national capital KL, this stall makes sale of thousand satay sticks daily with loyal customers from all over the districts. What make them different from other satay stalls is that the ratio of meat and skin for every stick. Their Satay rather consists of more lean chicken or beef meat than skin or lard. The sweetness of peanut sauce is neutral that creates a smoothness over the satay. Nasi impit itself is not so wet or overcooked, hence the dish is not boring at all.

Rate: 9/10

Operation Hours: 15:00 – 00:00

Address: Satay Capitol 1951 – Warisan, No, 1, Jalan Haji Hashim, Kampung Baru, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur

  • Buttermilk Chicken

If there is any particular area that wins my heart for good food, it’s SS15! Named after SS15 LRT station and a long road, this is one of a few places you have to visit if craving for absolute fantastic food. One of the main reason for me to recommend this zone is because of the Gold Chili Restaurant, where you may find the best version of butter milk chicken rice throughout KL.

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Same as any restaurant in this list, Gold Chili met the expectation of Malaysian for their signature one – The buttermilk chicken. Please stay away from lunch or dinner time or else you will be in a long queue for table. A combo of butter milk chicken with some rice, soup and one drink (Teh ais or Teh oh) shouldn’t cost more than RM 11. Their boneless chicken is diced and stir-fried first before dipping with “a sea of butter”. The spicy sauce seems to be sweeter and greasier than I thought but when combined with plain rice, it turns out to be a perfect partner. Adding some kaffir leaves inside helps the meal smells irresistibly pleasant.

Rate: 8.5/10

Operation Hours: 12:00 – 23:30

Address: Restoran Gold Chilli, 5, Jalan SS 15/8b, Ss 15, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor

  • Durian Cendol

What do you expect when summer has come in KL? Cool and fresh iced dessert is a good idea to quench your thirst during the hot humid days, which is, in some aspects, a specific features of this country. Durian Cendol is here to rescue your mind! Made with cute green rice flour jelly, sweet palm sugar, coconut milk and sometimes, azuki beans or corns, this treat gives you the first impression of refreshing your body thanks to great amount of smashed ice. Simple does it look, Cendol is sold all over the mamak (food stalls) around KL, but, for the famous Durian Cendol, you have to find it at Durian king TTDI – One of the two most well-known durian supplier in town!

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Opened quite late at noon, the property welcomed most locals nearby to enjoy fresh durian there – a South East Asian eye-catching spiky fruit with stinky odour but sweet and creamy insides. Take MRT to TTDI station and walk for 10 minutes until you see their stall behind a wet market.

Besides the addictive durian, they do offer you big bowl of cendol topped up with sweet flesh of durian. It’s your choice to have any kind of durian to be paired with your cendol, from D24 to D101 or Musang King, whose price varies from RM 18 to RM 30 a bowl. The palm sugar is not so sweet. In addition, durian flesh is creamy, not so wet and bitter. What fascinating is the jelly, it has a pure smell of pandan as an ingredient to create the color of jelly. I bet that you will come back for more cendol after the first try of their Durian Cendol.

Rate: 9/10

Operation Hours: 15:00 – 00:00

Address: Durian King TTDI, 179, Jalan Wan Kadir, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

  • Durian

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If you are looking for the weirdest type of fruit in South East Asia just to satisfy the curiosity, Durian is that you should take a look at. Originated from Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia, this fruit is considered the king of fruit for its creamy sweetness. On contrary to most Asians, westerners tend to stay away from durian due to its intolerably foul smell! Despite the fact that the odor may be a real obstacle, its innards’ taste is wonderfully delightful.

SS2 Durian (or now Durian man since their recent refurbishment) is recommended by most Malaysian living in Petaling Jaya. Accessing here is not a problem for public transportation thanks to a new free PJ bus system starting from LRT Taman Paramount or LRT Taman Jaya. Decent as it looks, the property serves you on the basis of your choices. Feel free to have any type of durians you wish for, ranging from D24, D101, Musang King or Susu with prices of RM 28, RM 30, RM 50 to RM 10 per Kilogram respectively (Prices are subjected to market’s demand). They even have a durian buffet which you can eat all you want for just RM 50 per pax. I completely find the idea of providing you with services of fresh coconut while enjoying durian excellent! The quality of both items are, not to mentioned, perfect.

Rate: 7/10

Operation Hours: 12:00 – 00:00

Address: Durian SS2, 193, Jalan SS 2/24, SS 2, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

  • Dumplings (Dim sum)

If I have to pick up from my mind, which dish just want to keep on coming for, the winner shall be Dim sum. “Definitely worth it” is what I would like to comment for this treat. It’s clearly that Dim sum has taken an important role in chinese cuisine that reflects the people’s lifestyle to enjoy snacks. The word “Dim sum” Literally means light treats for morning’s breakfast. The dish does not have an exact figure but is a combination of various stuffed snacks steamed in bamboo trays. Scallop dumplings, pawn dumplings, salted egg yolk buns, lotus sticky rice (Lomaigai), little dragon dumplings (Xiao long bao) and radish cakes are among the most chosen for Dim sum feast.

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Head toward Jin Xuan Hong Kong dim sum restaurant if you want the best recipe for the dish with reasonable price. Dumplings are sold at mostly RM 3 to RM 6 for a tray of 2 or 3 pieces. The dish is served with iced Chinese tea and traditional soy sauce to provide true experiences of having it. My personal experiences suggest the hot but soft pleasant salted egg yolk buns. You can feel the sweet salty sauce of newly the steamed bun slowly spill in your mouth when taken a bite. The slight juicy taste of Xiao Long Bao as well as the deeply marinated of mince pork is just there to satisfy your appetite. You may want to book your table first or queue for around 30 minutes to be served in most branches in KL, especially at lunch or dinner time.

Their branch in SS20 Damansara (walking distance from MRT TTDI) seems to be the crowded spot of all the location.

Rate: 9.5/10 (Super awesome)

Operation Hours: 7:00 – 23:30

Address: Restoran Jin Xuan Hong Kong (Damansara Jaya), 59, 61 & 63, Jalan SS 22/19, Damansara Jaya, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

  • Popiah (Crispy Rolls)

Rolling in, rolling out, a roll of Popiah is just wow!

Popiah is ranked on top of affordable snacks to be found in Malaysia generally and KL specifically. Normally a huge Popiah roll full of bean sprout (sometimes, it is just an option), sweet reddish, crispy flakes, cucumber, fried omelet just cost you RM 2.5 or RM 3. Fujian people migrated to Malaysia just brought their snacks with them and spread it all over the country. Hence, the original taste of the dish. A little sweet, spicy and crunchy with soft textile wrap is what I may want to describe about the bite.

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It’s used to be a secret about the location of the original stall of 2 Sisters Crispy Popiah, which you may accidentally come across in some malls within Klang Valley, until I discovered it to be at ICC Pudu. To get there, you just need to ride train to LRT Pudu station, walk some minutes on Jalan Pudu until you reach a building name ICC Pudu. The stall of 2 sisters is just inside the main area on the right. This place is always packed with people from 10am to 1pm daily. Seeking for free table is a pain in the neck. Even loud noise from people chatting around does affect your Popiah. However, the quality of this snack is worth fighting for all I mention, especially when they are even cheaper than other branches inside famous malls.

Rate: 8/10

Operation Hours: 6:00 – 14:00
Address: 2 Sister Crispy Popiah (GF) ICC Pudu, Jalan Kijang, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

  • Hainanese Chicken Rice

The most common dishes that can be spotted at any food center or local restaurants belongs to Chicken Rice. There maybe a number of chicken rice here as with islam, chicken is among a few sources of poultry that can be used for food. Had not been for the migration of Chinese people to Malaysia back to many decades ago, We wouldn’t have the top-notch Hainanese chicken rice with a marvelous way to boost the taste of both rice and chicken. What we may know from the “mysterious” recipe of Hainanese is that they use the broth of boiled chicken to cook rice (perhaps some add-on ingredients as chicken fat or curcumin). The result is attractive yellow greasy yellow rice that has good scent or tastes naturally sweet either. There are also 2 chicken versions to be accompanied by rice as boiled or roasted chicken. A portion of Hainanese chicken rice should have a bowl of yellow rice, thigh/drumstick/boneless or any part of a chicken depending on your choice, soup and their special sauce that made of minced chilies and gingers.

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Located in the center of Bukit Bintang as well as right beside Jalan Alor (a tourist food street full of Chinese and Thai cuisine), Ayam Chee Meng Chicken Rice offer you the top rated Hainanese chicken rice at roughly RM 11 for a set of rice. They often run out of steamed chicken after noon. So, please, schedule your time if you wish to have that type of chicken. For me, the roasted chicken is better. Just a bite and you are sure to feel the soft, deeply marinated tender meat. Dipped the chicken with soy sauce for more flavor. The best part is that the soy sauce is not extremely sweet as many other restaurants may serve you. Chili sauce is also a bonus while it’s not too spicy but balanced. Their soup has some peanuts to differentiate them with other properties’ menu. Though you are guaranteed to have the best chicken rice there, the surrounding environment may not as good as it seems since it’s hot to pack yourself inside just a small local restaurant. 

Rate: 8/10

Operation Hours: 11:00 – 22:00

Address: Restoran Nasi Ayam Chee Meng@Bkt Bintang, 50, Bukit Bintang Street, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur

  • Roti John (Buns)

What do you want for a dinner if you are broke, a pack of plain Nasi Lemak or a Chinese bun? Roti John should be taken into consideration for a worry free meal at just RM 5!!! Sold mostly at night mamak (food stall) near residential area, the dish is actually, not a brand-new delicacy but budget snack for your night hunger. Fried with omelet, Hot Dog buns are then added with stir-fried ground chicken or tuna. Extra cheese is also available for more cheesy experience. I have never found any Roti John with pork but chicken and tuna. Perhaps, they are served for mostly Muslims with Halah ingredients. Sometimes, you may find Roti John at simple burger stalls as side dishes in the menu.

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Please, expect a long queue when you pay a visit to Roti John Titiwangsa (Walking distance from LRT station Datuk Keramat). The small local “restaurant” is reported to be unexpectedly crowded at night from 8pm to 10pm with waiting time comes up to 30 minutes. Communication with the staff need little effort of Bahasa Melayu since there is just 1 or 2 persons that can speak English. Their menu ranges from RM 3 to RM 10 depending on single or double in portion that you order. Be aware that a double long Hot Dog bun is more than enough for 2 persons. Hungry as I was, the quantity was still so much that I couldn’t finish.

Their Roti John is good with extra french fries on top as well as chili sauce. As mentioned above, quantity is a plus point. Regarding as street food, you shouldn’t expect them to have outstanding quality lah.

Rate: 7.5/10

Operation Hours: 11:00 – 22:00

Address: Roti John Titiwangsa, 199, Jalan Datuk Keramat, Kampung Datuk Keramat, 54000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

  • Indian Rojak – Pasembur

I used to have the idea that Indian Rojak is the strangest dish I have ever heard during my time in Malaysia. Have you ever thought about a combination of fried dough, tofu, chicken, shredded jicama and sliced cucumber with salty sweet peanut sauce? For me, the answer is never! It’s just like you are trying to mix dessert with main course!!! Not attractive as it may seem, the dish, in contrary to my prejudice, is tasty with a joy of having sweetness and saltiness at the same time! Crunchy fried dough with fried chicken dipped in brown sweet juicy peanut sauce is not bad. But, I bet you can’t have the second portion since it easily cloys your appetite. Different from the Chinese rojak version, Indian rojak are sometimes called Pasembur and treated as creative specialty of Indian Muslim.

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Searching on Google, I encountered Rojak Bellamy in Bukit Petaling as the most famous one with more than 500 reviews. Someone even claimed them to remind them at their childhood with the same qualified Rojak after many years. Their property is old but interesting since you have to walk through a shady forest path after jogging on a road passing the Dusun Bandar park to reach the destination. It’s good to know that they do have take-away Rojak if you come in Ramadan months. Rojak is mixed well with peanut sauce that is not too sweet but balanced; fried chicken and fried dough is good too. Overall, they should score 7 out of 10 for their signature Rojak

Rate: 7.5/10

Operation Hours: 7:00 – 17:30

Address: Rojak Bellamy, Jalan Bellamy, Bukit Petaling, 50460 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

  • Hainanese Tea and Toast

It’s not until I visited Penang – one of the largest cities in Malaysia peninsular that I really admired the way local people enjoyed life here. Malaysian Chinese living in Penang starts their day by having a couple slices of Kaya Toast with Hainanese Tea or Hainanese Coffee. I observe that they slowly enjoy the peaceful vibes of the fresh early morning by such a slight breakfast with eyes focusing on newspaper. When working in KL, I had chance to acknowledge that this routine is practiced by most Malaysian Chinese elder since their very first migration to this country a long time ago. Though cheap may the dishes seem, It makes me curious to try such one in an authentic local stall.

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You still remember the Sister Popiah above? Yes, one of the most popular Hainanese tea and toast stall is operated side by side to the Sister Popiah in ICC Pudu. The property’s name is Ah Weng Koh Hainan Tea and Coffee. It really kills to birds with one stall as enjoying both of them is so convenience. As explained early, ICC Pudu is densely packed by local residents at lunch, which is a real nightmare for enjoying the tea and toast for relaxing. But then, It’s better than standing there for minutes when there is no free table left. Two slices of Kaya Toast with a mug of Hainanese tea cost you around RM 7.5. Toast is not over burned on two sides while the salted butter and kaya fill is out of questions. For Hainanese tea, with me as a Vietnamese, it’s not really great but tastes like a slight cup of Milk Coffee with considerate amount of milk and not too much sugar. Nonetheless, it’s still acceptable and somehow good to me.

Rate: 8.5/10

Operation Hours: 5:30 – 14:00

Address: Ah Weng Koh Hainan Tea – ICC Pudu, Jalan 1/77C, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

  • Asam Laksa

If you are in Penang for once, you should have heard about the fame of Asam Laksa – the soul of Penang’ culinary culture. Created with the infusion of both Malay and Chinese features by Peranakan (Nyonya) – the later generation of Chinese migrated and born in Malaysia, the dish is ranked top of must-try dish in Malaysia, specifically Penang. The standard recipe of Asam Laksa consists of tangy broth made by lemongrass, cucumber, turmeric, shredded pineapple, onion, fish sauce as well as some kinds of herb. The main ingredient is mackerel to boost the flavour. What bring tourist unforgettable experiences for this dish is its signature sweet, sour and spicy soup.

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Making a food adventure to Penang is not a wise decision for those who are to busy to catch a 6-hour-bus or a flight to the island. Rest assure that you still can enjoy the authentic Asam Laksa cook by Penang local residents by just RM 8 in O&S Restaurant with walking distance from LRT Taman Paramount or by PJ 02-03-04 bus from the respective station. I regret not coming there early but lunch to find myself stuck in confusion waiting for a free table in a small densely packed restaurant. The stall’s owner refused to take my order due to no evidence of a free table. After 20 minutes standing there watching people come in and out, I finally got a chance to share a table with a gentle man. I admitted that the food’s quality here is great since they are cooked by Penang people themselves. Asam Laksa is not too sour, a problem happened very often at other’s local restaurant. Fish is soft and well marinated. My favorite part of the dish is the aroma flavor of the herb as well as tasty white Laksa. All in all, they should be promoted for their savory Asam Laksa.

Rate: 8.5/10

Operation Hours: 7:00 – 15:00

Address: Asam Laksa – Restoran O & S , 39, Jalan 20/14, Taman Paramount, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

  • Char siew Wanton Mee (BBQ Pork Dumpling Noodle)

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The three main ingredients that bring joy for the dish are Chinese traditional handmade noodles, roasted pork and last but not least, dumpling. The secret key of BBQ pork sauce enhances the taste of fresh cooked fried noodles to the next level. While the dumplings are stuffed with minced pork, the pork slice is soft, flavorful and yummy by the sauce itself. It’s hard to claim any imperfection you may recognize when enjoying the dish.

One of the best place for authentic taste of Char Siew wanton mee is a humble restaurant hidden inside Jalan Petaling (or Chinatown as tourist term) named Koon Kee Wanton Mee. You should be aware of their location since it’s hard to spot their sign. Dark and narrow as the place may seem, it offers, according to many Chinese living nearby, the best qualified and original plate with a cost of RM 7 for the big size. Their BBQ pork slice is kind of tasty with sweet soy sauce and BBQ sauce all mixed together. Their noodles are chewy and fresh as I feel. Not bad for such a low cost experience.

Rate: 7/10

Operation Hours: 10:00 – 22:00

Address: Koon Kee Wan Tan Mee , 95, Jalan Hang Lekir, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

  • Young Tau Foo (Fried and Bolied Stuffed Vegetables)

It’s interesting that Yong Tau Foo is not the representative by its name but one of many  choices you may find at a stall or restaurant. Firstly, Yong Tau Foo refers to those fresh man-made silky bean curd (Tau Foo). However, it’s not the only thing you should expect in the dish. The creativity of the first generation of Chinese Malaysian results in the three main genres of Yong Tau Foo as vegetables stuffed with fish paste, fried dumplings or boiled Yong Tau Foo itself. They are all dipped in soy sauce or soup and accompanied by rice.

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Ampang has long been rumored as the first origin of the dish. Therefore, don’t be surprised to find a number of Yong Tau Foo restaurant nearby the area. The most authentic one is Foong Foong Restaurant on Jalan Merdeka near LRT Ampang Station. I was extremely confused with how the dish is ordered here due to lack of English as a way to communication. Please, be aware that waiters and waitress do not speak English but the cashier and the owner. You just have to point out the images shown on the menu with a number of pieces you want to have. Soup is by default, served with the dish. However, for option of rice, you have to mention it yourself to the waiter or waitress. My favorites among all types are eggplants, chilies and fried dumplings as they are really tasty and crispy. Normally it cost you around RM 1.5 per piece regardless of type.

Rate: 7.5/10

Operation Hours: 9:00 – 16:00

Address: Foong Foong Yong Tau Foo , 621, Jalan Merdeka, Kampung Baru Ampang, 68000 Ampang, Selangor

  • Nasi Ayam Goreng Kunyit (Turmeric Chicken Rice)

Which is the most available dish at any Mamak or Nasi Kandar (Self service Rice) restaurant? Definitely Nasi Ayam Goreng Kunyit. It’s hard to spot any food truck without this recipe as I have observed for a long time. Chicken are deep-fried until they change to golden crispy chicken before stir-fried again with string beans, onion, garlic, shredded carrot and tumeric. Their recipe reminds me of a similar dish in Viet Nam cooked mostly in countryside. It’s Malay people’s talent to create such a savoury recipe not to let down a food lover like me :D.

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Though located far away from the city’s center, Mat Rock restaurant still attracts a number of local Malays to hunt for their signature dish. The property is clean with clear signs of menu. You even see the way they prepare food, so there is no worry of unhygienic kitchen. A combo of Chicken, rice, soup and drink cost RM 7 meanwhile those with a combination of either Beef, Prawns, Squid and chicken ranges from RM 12 to RM 20. You collect all the food at the cashier and enjoy yourself. Food is qualified but the quality is happy factor for me to consider a return there. Literally you have around 7 small pieces of chicken for a portion, which seems to be expensive. However, overall, I think it’s kind of worth for your first time there, especially the spicy yummy recipe.

Rate: 7/10

Operation Hours: 11:00 – 23:00

Address: Mat Rock Special Ayam Goreng Kunyit, Jalan Kampung Pandan, Maluri, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

  • Roti Canai (Crispy Flatten Bread)

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Roti Canai is the crispy flat version of Naan, both of which are rated as the most popular dish of North Indian culinary in Malaysia or Singapore. The dish is usually eaten with curry, sambal or Dhal sauce. Sometimes, Roti Canai is also stuffed with sweet ingredients namely banana, condensed milk or even ice cream! It’s the art of a cook to make the bread flatten, crispy and dissolved right away in your mouth. It should also be noted that Roti Canai is enjoyed by both Malays and Indian Malays during the whole day for its affordable price of around RM 2 to RM 4 for one portion.

Let me introduce you – Roti Valentine – the best Roti Canai in town (actually, they even claimed the title on their sign). Location is quite decent with walking distance from LRT Datuk Keramat. Besides, GoKL Orange line does have free service from Monorail Titiwangsa to this place (SRK Jalan Runey). Staff does not speak much English but still have an idea about what you want to order. Roti Canai ranges from RM 2 for plain option to RM 4 for add-on ones. I rated the Roti Canai Ghee, Roti Garlic Cheese and Plain Roti Canai 4.5; 4 and 3.5 respectively. The Roti Canai Ghee is a must to try with so flavorful sweet aroma from Ghee (Indian butter). While there is not much cheese in Roti Cheese and Garlic, they are worth trying for their smell, crispy dough and the awesome Dhal sauce – perhaps the best Dhal sauce I have ever had in Malaysia.

Rate: 9/10

Operation Hours: 17:00 – 00:00

Address: Valentine Roti, Stor No. 1, Jalan Semarak Opposite Menara Celcom, 54000 Kuala Lumpur

  • Curry Laksa (Curry Noodles)

Ranked second on top dishes to try all over the world released by Lonely Planet, Curry Laksa may leave us an extreme curiosity to prove all the legends and myths are true. Their curry broth is different from that you always see at Indian or Malay restaurants as it seems to be more flavorful with balanced infusion of coconut milk, tumeric and curry leaves. Thanks to the Peranakan generations, we now have so creamy savory dish everywhere in Malaysia. Cockles, tofu, long beans, chicken/pork are what you should expect for the dish’s topping. It depends on your Choices of whether rice vermicelli, yellow or white hand made noodles to be the main ingredient of your meal.

Madras Lane Curry Laksa is highly recommended serving the best version of the dish that can win your heart right at the very first taste. Deep inside the narrow lane is a line of food stalls. It’s hard to spot out the best Curry Laksa among the three stalls next to each other. According to my investigation, the last stall counted from the Madras Lane’s gate in Chinatown is the one you need to look for. A bowl shall be from RM 6.5 to 7.5. Food is served fast and hot. Curry broth is good in taste, not too greasy and salty too. Toppings come in a great amount for such a price. Their soft chewy chicken and fresh cockles are what I like most. Be aware that you are not allowed to sit wherever you want but those of the stall you order your food.

Rate: 7.5/10

Operation Hours: 8:00 – 15:00

Address: Madras Lane Curry Laksa – The last stall from the entrance, City Center (old) Madras Lane Off Petaling Street

  • Chili Pan Mee (Chili Minced Pork Noodles)

Chili Pan Mee, in fact, is a confusion of both Malay and Chinese culinary. With such recreation, the dish soon surprised Malaysian by the spicy taste it provides. Someone claimed that the more spicy it is the closer it is to the standard of original recipe. Pan Mee is made with hand by traditional Chinese method, thus enhances the flavor of dough. Fried Chili Pan Mee is a combination of minced pork, both fried and fresh chili, half-boiled egg, and fry anchovies. Mixed the noodles with yolk liquid as well as minced pork to upgrade the dish’s savor.

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Restaurant Kin Kin in Chowkit district near LRT Sultan Ismail is stated to be the creator of this meal. Their property is not large and decent but it’s sure to give you an impression of having food in a truly Chinese style. My comment about the restaurant is that just a bowl of noodles does not fulfill your craving but at least two. The portion is not worth the price RM 8.5 when compared with other stalls around the city. Furthermore, you are required to pay RM 1 for any additional pack of Chili to boost the spiciness. Although it’s quite tasty, I may think again about having the same dish at this restaurant. May be their fame is a made up story or that after many years, the quality has fallen significantly?

Rate: 7/10

Operation Hours: 7:00 – 18:30

Address: Restaurant Kin Kin, 40, Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman, Kampung Baru, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

  • Char Kway Teo (Chinese Stir Fried Noodles)

People have long been obsessed with the reputation of a dish derived from Penang city. It’s a common belief that the pride of Chinese Malaysian – Char Kway Teo, which is made by Penangite, is among the best version to be found throughout Malaysia Peninsular itself. “Wok hei” is a transformed Cantonese word means “charred aroma” – the only element to define how an original dish of Char Kway Teo should be. Not only the charcoal does participate in enhancing the taste but also all of other items namely raw cockles, Chinese sausage, pork lards, prawns, eggs and beansprouts. As a matter of fact, these ingredients shall be cooked in a deep wok to provide such the smell. Someone even claimed it to be an adaption from Pad Thai. However, it’s essential to note that Pad Thai is sour and sweet and leans towards seafood rather than a combination of both seafood and pork. 

A variety of Char Kway Teo outlets, stall or even high standard restaurants are in operations for so many years but has yet to win a constant lot in Malaysian’ hearts. I had to make up my mind among those recommended on some social media sources to treat myself the most authentic version of Char Kway Teo. Secret Penang Cafe in Hutong Lot 10 – a food court that resembles hawkers in Penang with real human interaction when shop’s owner cries his wares loudly towards guests. Take an MRT to Bukit Bintang and follow exit entrance at Gate D and you are ready to explore the food culture of Hutong Lot 10.

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With no more than 10 minutes, I was served with a medium portion of Char Kway Teo full of “Wok hei”. The brownish color is a hint that the dish is well-prepared with soy sauce and oyster oil. I can literally feel the freshness of raw cockles and prawns as they were just caught from the sea.  It may be tasteless at first, but then, the Chinese sausage rescues the whole eat as they are really well marinated. Overall, this experience does not really disappoint me within such a well-known tourist site as Lot 10 Shopping Mall. Please expect to pay RM 12.8 if you opted your meal with duck egg. They do provide you a cute packet of tissues along with the dish.

Robert’s Char Kway Teo in Golden Kim Wah restaurant in Damansara or else Lau Wan Kuetieu are also highly recommended by local people. While the first one is open from early morning until 3 PM, Lau Wan Kuetieu is operated at evening until midnight with Halah ingredients. 

Rate: 7.5/10

Operation Hours: 10:00 – 22:00

Address: Lot 10 Hutong Food Court,  Lot 10 Hutong, LG Floor, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, 50 Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur.

  • Beef Ball Noodles

In fact, I have not any specific idea about how this dish becomes the “must-try” in Pasar Seni area (or Chinatown if you refer to Tourist’s term). For a sunny Saturday, I was in search for a good restaurant and then, accidentally click on a banner to advertise for the noodles. It turns out to be the best version of minced beef noodles accompanied by beef balls soup you may have in the vast Klang Valley according to most comments on Google. Enjoy by both local Chinese and tourists, Soong Kee Beef Ball Noodles admitted having approximately 50 years experiences in preparing their signature food. They even have an outlet in Hutong Lot 10 – the food court established with all the best selection of Malaysia’s culinary. 

Located not far from Bangkok bank, the restaurant is humble with not more than 10 round tables. You can even watch them cooking in the kitchen behind, which is a great additional point for a worry-free meal. 

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A large bowl of minced beef dry noodle with some beef balls cost RM 7. You may wish to try their Tripe menu with numerous real beef slices as addition to the original recipe at just RM 12. Oily as it seems, minced beef are well bathed in soy sauce without any hint of salty while noodles are fresh and great in quantity to fill up your stomach for a breakfast. Their beef balls are really bouncy to provide you a lot of fun when enjoying them. 

Rate: 8/10

Operation Hours: 11:00 – 22:00

Address: Soong Kee’s Beef Ball Noodles86, Jalan Tun H S Lee, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

With such a love for food, I hope this guide accompanies you in seeking for a truly Malaysian Culinary experiences within your trip towards the beautiful “Little Asia” country. There shall be other properties or restaurants which offer better qualified Malaysian dish rather than my post. Finally, may you have great memories of Malaysia’s cuisine and thanks for reading this content until the end 😀

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