9 Dishes for Best Food to Eat in KL – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

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Discover the vibrant food scene of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as we guide you through the top 9 dishes of local cuisine in our ‘Best Food to Eat in KL’ blog post.

Welcome to our culinary journey through Kuala Lumpur (aka KL), Malaysia, a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, and Bornean cultures. We’re exploring the top 9 dishes that define the city’s vibrant food scene. From street food markets to Michelin-starred restaurants, Kuala Lumpur offers a gastronomic experience that reflects its diverse cultural influences.

With the recent introduction of the Michelin Guide in KL, the city’s food scene has received international recognition. Get ready to discover KL’s four national dishes and much more as we delve into the best food to eat in KL.

This list of the best 9 dishes is purely our opinion and based on the dishes we tried. There are delicious dishes in KL that we have not tried, so we haven’t recommended them!

We’ll cover the best food to eat in KL, best restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, Nasi Lemak Kuala Lumpur, best Halal food in KL, and more!

Food to Eat in KL

This post is all about the best food to eat in KL!

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Best Food to Eat in KL

1. Nasi Lemak

nasi lemak kuala lumpur

Nasi Lemak is one of the national dishes of Malaysia and for GOOD reason. “Nasi” means rice in Malay, and “lemak” means fat, so “nasi lemak” is fatty (or oily) rice. It’s served as a savory main course for any meal. Malaysians usually eat it for breakfast!

You’ll find rice, meat, sambal, and garnishes on every dish. My meat of choice is fried chicken, but you can also find rendang (braised beef), fried fish, or sotong (squid). The chicken leg is so crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, it’s the perfect balance with all the other sides. The rice is cooked in coconut milk and a banana leaf to help give it that oily deliciousness. Sambal is discussed more below but is essentially an “Asian salsa.” Garnishes include roasted peanuts, hard-boiled eggs, cucumbers, and ikan bilis (small fried anchovies).

  • Restaurant to Try: Village Park

try a malaysian food tour

This top-rated street food tour will take you through Kuala Lumpur and allow you to taste over 15 dishes! It’s always fun to do a food tour with a guide since they know a ton about the dishes and the culture. Plus they probably will get you to try something you would’ve never tried. DO IT! You might just LOVE it! 

>> Book your Street Food Tour with 15+ Tastings!

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2. Ramly Burger

best halal food in kl

The Ramly Burger is a distinctly Malaysian dish. Ramly is actually a brand name rather than just a dish name. Ramly Food Processing Company produces 100% beef and chicken patties (pork-free for the majority Halal culture). Technically, any burger you order with a Ramly patty is a Ramly burger. But if you want the traditional, famous Ramly Burger, it will be seasoned with Maggi seasoning and a black pepper sauce made with milk, butter, soy sauce, and oyster sauce.

Brader John has the best of the best in Ramly Burgers. But you should know he’s only open from 10 pm to 2 am and closed on Sunday and Monday. Be prepared. The lines are LONG. We arrived at 10 pm and were told the wait was an hour and a half. However, you heard afterward that you can order ahead or get them delivered. It’s a fun atmosphere to order from the small food truck and sit around with all the others late at night. And let me tell you, it is GOOD late-night food.

  • Restaurant to Try: Brader John Burger

3. Bak Kut Teh

malaysia best food

Bak Kut Teh is a traditional clay pot dish of spareribs in a thick sauce. This is assembled, cooked, and served in a clay pot (careful: it’s hot!). You can find various clay pot dishes with different meats and sauces. We chose the Bib Gourmand Restoran Ah Hei Bak Kut Teh to try ours and loved it. It’s an unassuming place that often sells out early in the day. They are only open until 2:00 pm and closed on Wednesdays. Their marinade and sauce are made daily with 16 Chinese herbs and spices, providing various health benefits. Everyone was kind to us and showed us how to eat the meal (hint: use the clay pot as the serving dish and eat directly from the small bowls!). 

  • Restaurant to Try: Restoran Ah Hei Bak Kut Teh

4. Siew yuk

restaurants in malaysia kuala lumpur

Siew yuk is roast pork. I don’t know if this dish is popular throughout Kuala Lumpur, but it is at the Bib Gourmand-recognized Restoran Wong Mei Kee. So much so that they are only open three hours daily (12 pm—3 pm) and often sell out of their main dish before closing. The queue usually starts before noon, but they move quickly, and it’s well worth the wait. The skin is crunchy and sweet, and the pork melts in your mouth. One plate was NOT enough. Be sure to try the homemade chili sauce already on the table! 

  • Restaurant to Try: Restoran Wong Mei Kee (Big Gourmand)

5. Roti Canai

24 hours in kuala lumpur

Roti Canai is translated as “bread from Chennai.” It’s a Malaysian-Indian fusion dish that Taste Atlas has named one of the top 3 best dishes in the world! And they are right. It’s so good. Roti is a flatbread with flour, butter, egg, and salt. Think of a flakey, doughy flatbread that is just perfect for dipping. It’s a common breakfast or snack dish in KL. This means that it’s served with tons of different toppings or sides. Traditionally, it’s served with a curry sauce made with lentils. It could also be served with an egg, onions, cheese, bananas, or kaya (coconut jam). 

The Mansion Tea Stall chops it up and pours the curry sauce over the roti pieces. You eat it with a fork. I advise just mixing the entire plate up with the egg and the hot sauce. It’s spicy but delicious! 

  • Restaurant to Try: Mansion Tea Stall

6. Teh Tarik

cheap and nice food in kl

Teh tarik translates to “tea pulled,” and for good reason. The milk tea drink is made and then poured or pulled from one meter high from one cup to another to help cool it down. Teh tarik is the national drink in Malaysia, and you’ll find it everywhere. It’s served both hot and cold. Since KL is hot and muggy, we personally liked the iced version better. It’s a sweet drink since it’s made with condensed milk. We don’t always like sweet drinks, but we didn’t feel that this was overly sweet.

  • Where to Try: Anywhere served! Make sure you get the “show,” too – we enjoyed it with our roti canai at Mansion Tea Stall.

7. Hokkien Mee

best chinese food in kl

“Hokkien Mee” means “Fujian noodles” in Malay. Hokkien Mee did not originate in Malaysia. It comes from the Fujian province of China, hence the name. However, it is a popular dish in KL due to the diversity of this city. This dish is made with thick egg noodles fried in soy sauce with veggies and meat. I absolutely love egg noodles especially fried in a thick umami sauce. If there is seafood in your dish, be careful with bones and shells!

  • Restaurant to Try: Damansara Uptown Hokkien Mee

8. Lala Noodles

where to eat in kl at night

Another clear indication of the melting pot of cultures in KL is the massive Chinatown. Here, you will find plenty of delicious Chinese dishes to your heart’s content. We ate at Lai Foong Lala Noodles to try their famous lala noodles. Lala is a type of tiny clam. These thin rice noodles are served in a rich broth and covered in a dozen or more lalas (tiny clams). They are briny and light. Even though it’s all small things, it’s a big bowl we were happy sharing.

  • Restaurant to Try: Lai Foong Lala Noodles

9. Sambal

Sambal is a popular sauce from Indonesia used in a handful of Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia. It’s a chili sauce made with peppers, sugar, lime juice, garlic, spices, and shrimp paste. It’s usually thicker in nature, with seeds and chunks of peppers visible. Every single sambal we have tried is different. Some are super spicy, most are only lightly spicy, and others are even sweet! It’s served with many Malaysian meals and can be put on nearly anything. We love mixing it with our rice or adding a bit to our meat.

I know there are a ton of dishes that we didn’t get a chance to try, but they are still a large part of the Malaysian and Kuala Lumpur food scene (e.g., laksa, sate, rendang, etc.). This was based on what we could try and enjoy enough to recommend!

This post was all about the 9 dishes that we found were the best food to eat in KL.

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