In Malaysia, it is difficult to separate food from family reunions, friendly meetups, and any celebration. Everywhere you go in Kuala Lumpur, the country’s capital city, there’s bound to be a place to rest and eat. From the street corners to the massive shopping malls, there’ll be food that suits your taste, that is if you know what to eat.
Wondering what are the best foods to try in Kuala Lumpur? Here are seven we picked out:
1. Hokkien Mee
Mee or noodles are consumed throughout the day in Kuala Lumpur. Noodles are cooked in many ways but the best in Kuala Lumpur is Hokkien Mee.
Created by an immigrant from Fujian, China who set up a noodle stall in the city in the 1920s. Hokkien Mee is a dish of thick flour noodles (udon-like noodles) fried in dark soy sauce, pork lard, pork liver, mustard greens and pork crackling. To complete the dish, sambal (chili paste) is added to the top of the stir-fried noodles.
The local newspaper New Straits Times has a list of best places to eat Hokkien Mee. Do read their article, Best Hokkien Mee in town.
2. Nasi lemak
Nasi lemak or rice in coconut milk is one dish you must try when in Kuala Lumpur. Widely available in hotels, coffee shops and side-walk stalls for breakfast, traditional nasi lemak is served on a piece of banana leaf.
These days, most stalls serve nasi lemak on a plastic-lined newspaper. While in restaurants and hotels, you can get yours served on a plate.
Nasi lemak is a national rice dish that comes with sliced cucumber, fried peanuts, sambal ikan bilis (anchovies in hot sauce), slices of hard-boiled eggs and chili sauce (sambal). The cheapest nasi lemak is typically accompanied by fried peanuts, sambal, and sliced cucumber. Elaborate versions which are the more expensive may have squid and fried chicken.
3. Roti canai
Roti canai is a type of fluffy flatbread craved by the locals from all walks of life in Malaysia. Created by early immigrants from South India, roti canai is eaten during breakfast or as snacks, dipped in chicken curry or dhal curry.
You can find roti canai throughout Kuala Lumpur. Try one with teh tarik (pulled tea), a type of hot milk tea.
4. Bah kut teh
Pork ribs tea or bah kut teh is made of Chinese herbs, shitake mushrooms, garlic, fried tofu and pork ribs. Bah kut teh, a soupy dish which has an acquired taste is known to have medicinal value accentuated by the goji berries and medicinal roots.
To find out the best places to eat bah kut teh, read Star Online’s My top 5 bah kut teh joints.
5. Curry noodles
Curry noodles cater to anyone who loves a simple bowl of spicy soup with noodles. There are many versions of curry noodles in Kuala Lumpur. Our favorite curry noodles usually come with bean sprouts, fresh cockles (a type of seafood), fried tofu and chicken pieces. Some heartier ones include shrimp, eggplant, and dried pork’s skin.
From its humble beginnings, satay now commands top dollars in fancy restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. Satay is skewered grilled meat prepared with turmeric powder, cumin seeds, and coconut milk. You have a choice of chicken, beef or mutton satay. Some stalls sell beef tripe, rabbit, and chicken liver as well.
Satay is served with spicy peanut sauce, pressed rice cakes (nasi himpit), cubed red onions and cucumbers.
7. Ais batu campur
After lunch or dinner, it’s best to get a refreshing bowl of ais batu campur (mixed ice) also known as ABC. ABC is the most popular dessert in Malaysia. In Kuala Lumpur, you’ll find many variations. The typical ABC is a bowl of shaved ice accompanied by thick brown sugar syrup, flavored syrup, evaporated milk, roasted peanuts, sweetened red beans, creamy sweet corn, and cendol (local gelatin).
According to Going Places Magazine, a Malaysia Airlines magazine, the best place to try ais batu campur in Kuala Lumpur is Ah Keong’s Ais Kacang stall in Brickfields.
Have you been to Kuala Lumpur? Before you leave, here are four travel tips to help you prepare your trip:
1. Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) also known as KLIA is about 36 miles from the city center. Most budget airlines (Air Asia, JetAsia, and TigerAir) fly into KLIA2, located just 2 km (2-minute transfer on KLIA Express ERL service) from KLIA.
2. Find hotels in Kuala Lumpur.
3. Flight time from your hometown to Kuala Lumpur.
4. Currency converter from USD to Malaysian ringgit.