Entertainment in Kuala Lumpur

Pubs, Cafes and Restaurants in Kuala Lumpur

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What to Eat in Kuala Lumpur

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.

Malaysian Specialties

  • Rice (nasi) is a standard component of any traditional Malay meal.
  • Congee (bubur) - Rice porridge eaten primarily as a breakfast food. Fish, chicken, beef, pork, vegetables and spices may be added to make dishes like bubur ayam (chicken congee).
  • Nasi Lemak - The national dish of Malaysia, coconut rice is served with anchovy hot chili sauce and often topped with crisp anchovies (ikan bilis), sliced cucumber or tomato, hard-boiled egg and roasted peanuts.  It can be found everywhere from fine Malay restaurants to on the street.
  • Hainanese Chicken Rice - A lunch time favorite and street food standard, this dish originates from immigrants from the Hainan province in southern China. It comes with a side of broth and fresh cucumbers.
  • Laksa - Another Malaysian staple, this is found throughout the country with each state adding its own signature flavor. Regardless if its curry, assam, or sarawak, it is essentially a coconut curry soup with noodles and a street food favorite.
  • Mee Goreong - Fried noodles at its finest and spiciest! You can find this street food all over the city.
  • Kuih - Sweet, bite-sized foods such as cookies, candies and pastries.  This general term can refer to a vast variety of treats. For example, apam balik (turnover pancake cooked on a griddle and topped with castor sugar, ground peanut and creamed corn with grated coconut in the middle), cucur (deep-fried fritters), bahulu (small sponge cakes that come in decorative shapes like goldfish), kochi (glutinous rice dumplings filled with sweet paste and wrapped in banana leaves), etc.
  • Tropical Fruits - Malaysia's tropical climate allows for fruits to be grown year round. Enjoy locally-grown banana (pisang) and fruits you've never heard of before like durian, langsat and buah ciku.
  • Cendol - This is a hot afternoon favorite dish to cool down.  Shaved ice, coconut milk, and green noodles made from palm sugar.  

Fast Food in Malaysia

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 in 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:

  • Indian: masala dosai, roti pisang (banana roti), a variety of curries
  • Chinese: Youtiao, char kway teow
  • Malay: nasi goreng

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

Ganja Cafe
19 Lorong Kurau, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Chef Low Organic Kitchen
C-G-43 Camilia, 10 Boulevard, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Living Food
Ground floor, Menara Tan and Tan, Jalan Tun Razak, Malaysia

Tipping in 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.

What to Drink in Malaysia

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.

Cafes in Kuala Lumpur

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

Antipodean Cafe
20 Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur

VCR Cafe
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

Liquor Laws in Malaysia

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.

Update 3/06/2015


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