Different people have different ideas and places to visit when they plan for a vacation. Some people adhere to the mountains, while some love a trip to the beaches. However, one thing that stays constant wherever one goes is food. Food is the ultimate saviour and there is practically no one who does not get excited when it comes to food. Food tourism is rapidly growing as an industry and motivation for people to choose their destination for a vacation. There has been a rise in the number of good tour companies in recent years, while social media sites like Instagram give a major boost to such companies, travel, and food bloggers who roam around the world to try out famous dishes from native to the particular places.
Be it vacationing with friends or family, or travelling as a food blogger, Kuala Lumpur is the hub of everything one desires; and food can easily top the list. Some of the dishes found and eaten heartily in Kuala Lumpur that travellers must try are as follows:
- Nasi Lemak: Often hailed as the national dish of Malaysia, this simple dish consists of coconut rice, a spicy chilli paste called ‘sambal’, peanuts, fried anchovies, and hardboiled egg. A more fancy and commercialized version of this dish includes fried chicken or chicken rendang with it.
- Roti Canai: If Nasi Lemak is officially the national dish of Malaysia, Roti Canai is the unofficial one. This flatbread is influenced by the Indian ‘roti’; however, this one is made incorporated with lots of butter and oil, thus making it very buttery and flaky. It is often filled with eggs, onions, or other veggies and served with curry, dhal, or sambal.
- Curry Laksa: A fragrant soup noodles made with spicy coconut soup base, this dish is served in a soup bowl, which consists of spicy tofu, prawns and bean sprouts, mixed with spicy sambal. The mild sweetness of the coconut along with the spicy kick of the sambal mingles to create a unique taste that is loved by all, be it tourists or food bloggers who do not mind their food to be spicy.
Starting right from shopping, picturesque scenic beauty to numerous places to eat and dine, Kuala Lumpur has many famous restaurants that offer all kinds of cuisines that cater to the needs of every person within his/her budget.
Lafite, Shangri-La Hotel
Famous for exquisite dining in French cuisine, Shangri-La in Kuala Lumpur has been serving an array of exclusive wine, classic French cuisine with a luxurious ambience for the last twenty years. It is not only an excellent and probably the best restaurant in Kuala Lumpur for a romantic evening with your other half, but is also great for business meetings, and calling in clients for an official business proposal over fine French dining. Award-winning French Chef Jean Phillipe Guiard is the man behind creating the fine signature dishes.
Décor: Not only for its decedent award-winning French dishes and an excellent collection of wine, but Lafite is also famous for its intimate ambience, warm muted tones, modern furnishing, and beautiful garden view with soft music playing in the background. The ambience, along with the staff, is very intimate and excellent without being intrusive.
Famous dishes/drinks: Highlight dishes of Lafite, Shangri-La include Wagyu beef tournedos with sautéed artichokes, crayfish spaghetti timbale, and Maine lobster poached in butter.
Address: Located in close proximity to Jalan Sultan Ismail, this restaurant is a 10-minute walk from KL Tower.
How to get there: With the abundance of public transport in the area, one can either choose to ride the Monorail and disembark at Bukit Nanas Station, followed by a five-minute walk to the restaurant, or take a taxi to directly drop you at the building’s doorstep.
Opening hours: The restaurant is open from Monday to Saturday from 12 pm to 02:30 pm and from 7 pm to 10:30 pm.
Tamarind Spring by Samadhi
A traditional Indo-Chinese fine-dining restaurant set within Ampang’s forest reserve, this restaurant blends perfectly with the outdoor tropical ambience of the area. The ambience and feel of the restaurant set it apart from the other fine dining restaurants of the city, making it one of the most romantic restaurants in Kuala Lumpur.
History: Chef Somkuhan, who also opened the Tamarind Hill Kuala Lumpur in the year 1999, created this place. Her grandmother who once served the King of Siam inspired her. Under her mother’s guidance, she has grown up to become an award-winning and celebrated chef, making Tamarind Spring an exquisite place for dining.
Décor: This place is adorned with stone-carved sculptures and traditional statues. The place has been fashioned and constructed with the feels and vibes of traditional houses, encircled by the natural beauty of the forest reserve.
Famous dishes/drinks: Coming from the house of Executive Chef Somkuhan from Northern Thailand, the dishes like Phnom Penh brisket beef loc lak with lime and black pepper, grilled lamb cutlet with yogurt sauce, and Cambodian-style deep-fried shrimp cakes are an absolute delicacy.
Address: Taman Tun Abdul Razak, 68000 Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia.
How to get there: It is located around 6.7 km from the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur and can be reached by taxi in less than 20 minutes.
Opening Hours: The restaurant is open to public all week, starting from Monday (6 pm - 12 am), Tuesday to Friday (12 pm - 3 pm, 6 pm - 12 am), and Sunday (11:30 am - 3 pm, 6 pm - 12 am).
Marini’s on 57
This restaurant is considered Malaysia’s top rooftop bar. This place is quite common for late-night drinks, evening chills, and an equally enigmatic epicurean experience. Located on the 57th floor of Petronas Tower 3, this place offers a view of Kuala Lumpur’s spectacular skyline.
Décor: This place offers the most iconic rooftop bar in the whole city. The entire place is adorned with glass walls, making the splendid view of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline visible.
Famous dish/drinks: Since this is a nightclub, the place offers an array of drinks, including a range of tasty cocktails and other drinks. The cocktails are specially made under the in-house drinks section. Marini’s on 57 offers the finest Italian cuisine that consists of a wide array of chef’s special pasta, risotto, imported beef cuts, and a fresh range of seafood air-flown from Italy.
Address: 57 Menara 3 Petronas Persiaran, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur.
How to get there: It is located in Petronas 3 Tower, which would take a 2-minute walk from the Petronas Twin Towers.
Opening hours: Marini’s on 57 opens at 10 am and is open till 5 am all week.
‘Limapulo: Baba can Cook’ is an authentic Nyonya restaurant with a pretty ambience and delicious food like beef stew, laksa, chilli squid, and roasted eggplant. The place is buzzing with people most of the time, especially during lunch hours.
History: While in Limapulo, one is often greeted by “baba” or Uncle John, who is in his mid-70s, and the person behind the creation of this restaurant along with his godchild. Uncle John usually sits at the entrance of his food joint and greets customers with a warm smile that instantly makes them feel at home.
Décor: The decor of the restaurant is warm and cosy with an outdoor seating area. Customers usually sit in groups in accordance with the alignment of the chairs.
Famous dishes: Nyonya Laksa, a soupy noodle dish made with spicy tofu, boiled eggs and different vegetables, is the signature dish of Limapulo. However, it is on the menu only on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Other dishes of Limapulo that customers flock to eat are Ayam Berempah (a variant of fried chicken), Sate (BBQ meat skewers), and Sago Gula Melaka (Sago pudding with palm sugar).
Address: 50, Jalan Doraisamy, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
How to get there: From Medan Tuanku Station, Sheraton Hotel Kuala Lumpur is at a walking distance. Once at Sheraton on the left-hand side, a 2-minute walk from here will be Limapulo (on the right).
Opening hours: It is open from Monday to Saturday (12 pm - 3 pm, 6 pm - 10 pm). It is a pork-free restaurant and remains closed on Sundays.
Old China Café
Serving delectable Peranakan dishes, this café is housed in a heritage pre-war shop dating back to the 1900s. The café retains its original charm and décor as the furniture and antiques of the place are kept intact, making the café an epitome of upholding heritage.
History: This old house, before it was a café, was the guildhall of the Selangor and Federal Territory Laundry Association, dating back to 1920s.
Décor: The place is built like an old museum, with paintings, old-style ceiling lights, wallpapers and the furniture – all the items of the café mostly belong to the house that it was once. Inside the café are two large mirrors that face each other, the reflection of which is believed to bring good luck, according to the traditional feng shui.
Famous dishes: The food served here is from the Peranakans, who are the descendants of early Chinese immigrants. The famous dish here is the beef rending, which tourists and locals love to gorge on.
Address: 11, Jalan Balai Polis, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
How to get there: Take the LRT Kelana Jaya Line or MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line to Pasar Seni Station. It is a 2-minute walk from there.
Opening Hours: It is open every day from 11:30 am to 11:30 pm.
Yut Kee Restaurant
This café has been serving traditional Hainanese cuisine since the early 20th century. It is one of the most popular restaurants visited by locals as well as tourists for a sumptuous breakfast. People flock here to try the most delicious on their menu - Pork Chops and Lum Mee.
History: This restaurant opened in the year 1928 and has been serving Hainanese dishes since.
Décor: The entire place is adorned with old paintings and the ambience is warm, buzzing with people always, especially during lunchtime.
Famous Dishes: The signature dish of Yut Kee is Roti Babi, a dish which is a traditional colonial style of French toast with pork inside served with Worcestershire sauce.
Address: 1, Jalan Kamunting, next to Hotel Stripes, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
How to get there: Take the KL Monorail Line to Medan Tuanku Station, or LRT Kelana Jaya Line to Dang Wangi Station, which would take around 10 minutes and 5 minutes of walking respectively.
Opening hours: It opens at 07:30 am from Tuesday to Sunday and closes at 04:30 pm. It remains closed on Mondays.
The Straits Food Company
Serving delectable dishes that evoked a feeling of nostalgia because they tasted like home-cooked food, this restaurant serves delicious Ayam O, Cendol Popiah Basah and much more.
Décor: A casual dining arena that serves traditional Peranakan cuisine is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Kuala Lumpur.
Famous dishes: A bowl of Nyonya Laksa is available here at RM7 and Mee Siam at RM6, which is much cheaper than it is available at other places of the city.
Address: 2, Jalan Abdullah, Bangsar Utama, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
How to get there: Located at a 2-minute walk from Bangsar Corner, Kuala Lumpur.
Opening hours: It is open from 10 am to 10 pm every day.
Udon is a special kind of noodle-dish of the Kagawa district that this restaurant specialises in making. This restaurant serves a variety and a number of variations of this dish and attracts a great number of tourists as well as locals who come to get their bowl of Udon.
Décor: It is a casual dining place that is packed during lunch and dinnertime, because of its really affordable yet delicious food items.
Famous dishes: Sanuki Udon is the best example of affordable and cheap Japanese food in Kuala Lumpur. Original Soup Udon is available at only RM 6.5 and a cold salad Udon is available at RM 9.5.
Address: Jalan Bukit Desa 5, Taman Bukit Desa, Jalan Klang Lama, Kuala Lumpur.
Opening hours: This restaurant is open from 11:30 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm every day, besides Monday. It remains closed on Mondays.
The Humble Chef
A late-night food joint with outdoor seating, this restaurant is perfect for those who wish to grab to eat something in the middle of the night. Late-night junk food like chicken wings and creamy curry is quite famous among youngsters who tend to hang out with friends here quite often.
History: The Humble Chef started off as a food truck before they opened a café. The food truck is still operational and sells the same items as the café.
Décor: Casual seating area with warm lights, The Humble Chef is a café that people opt to go especially because they want to grab a snack or an evening meal.
Famous dishes: The Humble Chef rose to its fame because it sold spaghetti and other cheap meals at RM5. From Bolognese to Pesto, Aglio Olio, and Carbonara, all the types of spaghetti were available at RM5. Fried laksa, mushroom soup with garlic bread, sandwiches and peanut butter bread puddings are also available, not only at a throwaway price but are decent dishes to try for a snack.
Address: 54G Jalan Medan Setia 2, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur.
How to get there: First, take the MRT Kelana Jaya Line and disembark at Pusat Bandar Damansara Station. Then, take bus no T818 or T852 to Plaza Damansara bus stop, where Humble Chef is only a two-minute walk from here.
Opening hours: 12 pm - 3 pm and 6:30 pm - 11:30 pm every day besides Sunday.