The cuisine and food scene in Kuala Lumpur

The local cuisine in Kuala Lumpur
Updated 2019-04-24 13:11

If there is one thing no one can complain about in Kuala Lumpur, it's food. One of the most exciting aspects of living in the city is how accessible a variety of food options are catering to every budget and whim. One of the upsides of this cosmopolitan city is that foreign ingredients and brands are well-stocked in grocery stores to ensure that your cravings for a home-cooked meal from your country of expatriation are satisfied.

Popular dishes

Malaysia is well famous for its cuisine and Kuala Lumpur is a one-stop shop to experience local delicacies. One simple way to experience local food is mamaks. These are dining hall style restaurants found all across the suburbs and in the city that serve popular local dishes. A fair warning, Malaysian food is on the spicy side and can require some adjustment period. Food stalls across KL also serve local delicacies ranging from Satay to Durian, a pungent yet surprisingly tasty fruit from the jackfruit family.

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak is one of the most popular dishes in Malaysia. Malay food stalls and mamaks around the city offer the best Nasi Lemak. The dish consists of rice cooked in coconut milk, and Pandan leaf served with anchovies, a boiled egg, sambal (spicy chilli paste), peanuts and fried chicken.


On the sweet side of Malaysian cuisine is Cendol, an ice-based dessert with palm sugar, rice flour green noodles and coconut milk. It is often topped with red beans. Cendol is a really cheap and filling option that can be found on street food corners and food stalls at night markets and in the city alike.


Satay is one of the best finger foods one could hope for. Satay places serve the skewers of freshly grilled meat with tangy peanut and coconut sauce. Satay is made from chicken, beef, lamb, pork, duck, fish or even rabbit. The most famous Satay is from Kajang, about an hour from KL by the MRT but one need not go that far to enjoy this local delicacy as it is readily available at hawker stalls in Jalan Alor.

Banana leaf

Banana leaf is a staple of the Malaysian food landscape. As the name suggests, generous servings of rice, curry and vegetables are served on a Banana leaf. This South Indian dish is full of flavours and spices and is served vegetarian although you can order a side of fish curry.

Char kuey teow'''''''

Char kuey teow, a famous dish from Penang is made of rice noodles, beansprouts, shrimp, and cockles, and chives cooked in shrimp paste and pork fat. It is served with lard which adds to the flavours and textures. Char kuey teow is available at Penang-themed cafes as well as Hokkien food stalls around the city.

The food scene in Kuala Lumpur

The Food scene in KL is eclectic and vibrant. You can truly eat well whether you like dining out or cooking at home. The food market (Pasar Malam) in Bangsar on Sundays ( 15 00 to 21 00) is a must if you are looking for fresh produce and advice on how to cook local ingredients. The famous night market at Taman Connaught is a great spot to find Chinese food and ingredients such as shellfish and tofu. This sprawling Wednesday market opens at 18 00 and consists of hundreds of stalls.

If cooking isn't really your thing, you will find hipster cafes that cook up a storm for Brunch or places like Tapak Street Dining, which hosts an arrangement of the best food trucks in KL. The city is finally, host to fine-dining options that will allow you to taste the finest of Middle-Eastern, Asian or Western cuisine for the right price.

The best restaurants in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur has something to offer to even the pickiest eater. Restaurants tend to be open for lunch and dinner with some late night options including fine-dining as well as more budget-friendly mamaks. Some of the best addresses in KL include Village Park, a one-stop shop for all things street food and Nirvana Maju in Bangsar for the delicious Banana Leaf that will leave you wanting more. A trip to Kasturi Walk in the heart of the city will give you the opportunity to try Putu Bambu- a cake made from Pandan and Palm sugar, steamed in bamboo and dusted with coconut flakes. If your palate is craving something a little more international, try La Boca in

Pavillion for a taste of Latin America or one of the many Japanese options in Tokyo Street. Malaysia leaves no stone unturned even when it comes to fast-food cravings. myBurgerLab, a Malaysian owned and operated business that has quickly become a favourite. Their charcoal buns and customisable options will truly win you over.

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