With such a melting pot of culture, it is no surprise that Kuala Lumpur is renowned for its food. Malay, Chinese \ and Indian dishes are all common here. It is home to 5 star restaurants that cater to the high society and wealthy expats, but eating in KL isn't expensive if you know where to look. Some of the city's best food lies in the back alleys, where family-run businesses have survived for decades.
There isn't a shortage of fast food in Malaysia. The likes of KFC, McDonalds, Burger King, Dominos and many more can be found on every street and corner. However, you didn't move to Malaysia to eat western style fast food. It is highly recommended to eat the street food from hawker stalls.
Jalan Alor is the most popular place for street food. It was once a red light district, but now it is a street food haven. Rows and rows of hawker stalls line both sides of the street, providing the best Malaysian food. This is mostly a place for locals, but foreigners can often be found here.
You can find street food for as cheap at RM3 and as much as RM10. Not sure what to eat? Try some of the Malaysian street food favorites listed under specialties.
When you're new to town, it can be overwhelming to decide where to eat, especially in a town that's full of good food. Below is a list of low to mid-range restaurants that serve Malaysian food and are popular among expats and locals alike.
No 3 Jalan Ceylon, 50200 KL
The Bird Restaurant
5 Jalan 3/62D, Medan Putra Business Centre, Bandar Menjalara, Kepong
LG2, Feast Floor, Starhill Gallery, 181 Jalan Bukit Bintang
The 39 Restaurant
PNB Darby Park, 10 Jalan Binjai, 50450 KL,
Nasi Kandar Pelita
Tingkat G, No. 2, Jalan Telawi 5, 59100 Bangsar Baru, KL
Lot 10 Hutong Food Court
LG Floor, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, 50 Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 KL
Restoran Kim Lian Kee
49-51, Jalan Petaling, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Dining In The Dark KL
50A Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur 50200, Malaysia
92 Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur 50000, Malaysia
Vegetarian food is plentiful in Kuala Lumpur and much of Malaysia. Though some classic dishes focus on meat, you may order some without meat, or find a dish without meat in most restaurants. Do be aware that shrimp paste, chicken stock and lard have a tendency to crop up even in meatless dishes.
Here are some vegetarian/vegan friendly options in the three main cuisines:
Below are a few listings for restaurants for strictly vegetarian food.
Bakti Woodlands Vegetarian
55 Leboh Ampang (near Masjid Jamek LRT station)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 50100
Su Lai Xiang
16 Jalan 28/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, Malaysia
19 Lorong Kurau, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Chef Low Organic Kitchen
C-G-43 Camilia, 10 Boulevard, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Ground floor, Menara Tan and Tan, Jalan Tun Razak, Malaysia
Tipping is not required and not expected. Usually there is a service charge included in the total price. If you do offer one, it will not be refused.
In such a tropical environment, it is important to stay hydrated. Locals got to mamak, the halal hawker stall, to get tea or coffee. Teh tarik is a sweet, milky tea many locals enjoy. There are also fruit juices and coconuts in abundance.
Water is generally potable, so you can drink straight from the tap. However, some people choose to drink only bottled water.
In the past five years, there has been a large cafe boom throughout Kuala Lumpur and the rest of Malaysia. There are literally hundreds of new coffee shops and cafes to choose from. Below are a few of the most popular cafes with in the city center.
Artisan Roast Coffee
4, Lorong Rahim Kajai 14, Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Malaysia
Acme Bar & Coffee
G1, The Troika, 19, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur
20 Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur
2, Jalan Galloway, Kuala Lumpur
Eeeka Coffee Roasters
19, Jalan Mesui, off Jalan Nagasari, Kuala Lumpur
Plan B Cafe
65, GF, Bangsar Village 1, Jalan Telawi 1, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur
Under Malaysia's Sharia Law, all Malaysian Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol. It is also illegal to sell liquor to a Muslim. Alcohol is banned in the states of Kelantan and Terengganu.
Alcohol is available in restaurants, bars, night clubs, convenient stores, supermarkets and hawker stalls. However, alcohol will only be served to non-Muslim citizens and foreigners. Be forewarned that alcohol is heavily taxed in Malaysia. In most cases, a drink at a bar will cost you more than a drink at a bar back home! Cheaper alcohol can be found in supermarkets and mini markets. However, to get a real deal, head to the tax free islands of Labuan, Langkawi, and Tioman.
Malaysia does not have a minimum legal drinking age.
It is illegal to drink and drive. If a person is arrested for driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit of 80 milligrams per deciliter they will be fined hundreds of dollars, driving privileges revoked, and may serve time in jail.