Traditional Malay food is characterised by searingly spicy and aromatic flavours. Rich coconut milk is used to give a creamy texture. Popular Malay favourites include nasi lemak, satay and rendang. Sambal, a hot paste of pounded chillies, prawn paste and lime juice adds zest to any Malay-style meal. A wide range of sweet and savoury cakes, including the tasty banana fritters are staple tea-time favourites.
Chinese fare is mostly stir-fried and best savoured when it is piping hot. Extra care is taken to ensure that vegetables are crunchy and retain their original flavour. Lunchtime favourites include rice, served with several meat and vegetable side dishes. Noodles are another versatile and traditional favourite, with the popular styles being fried noodles, soup noodles and curried noodles.
Indian food can be broadly classified into two distinct types, northern and southern Indian. Northern favourites include briyani rice and bread varieties such as naan. A typical southern meal consists of rice, curry, side dishes and yoghurt served on a banana leaf. All-time favourites such as thosai, chappati and poori are other relishes often enjoyed with coconut, tomato or mint chutneys.
Of Indian Muslim origin, Mamak fare enjoys tremendous popularity among city folks. Characterised by thick, spicy dishes, the delicacies make excellent meals at any time of the day. Offerings include murtabak, teh tarik, fish head curry, nasi kandar and fried noodles.
Restaurants serving Continental, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Indonesian and Italian cuisine can be found at major hotels and in the vicinity of Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Ampang, Sri Hartamas, Mont Kiara and Bangsar. The Ain Al Arabia or Arab Square in Bukit Bintang offers a host of culinary fare from the Middle East.
A visit to Malaysia is incomplete without trying out some of these popular Malaysian dishes.
Don’t miss out on the variety of great food at Malaysian restaurants. These local brands are absolutely popular and proven to satisfy the most discerning of palates. Dine at local chains such as San Fransisco Coffee, Old Town White Coffee, Secret Recipe, Manhattan Fish Market, Kyros Kebab, Marry Brown and many more for a taste that is authentically Malaysian. From light bites to satisfying meals, the menu is bound to satisfy those hunger pangs!
Enjoy the full-bodied aroma of rice cooked in coconut milk and enhanced with spices such as ginger, star anise and cinnamon. This wholesome dish is usually eaten with fried anchovies, poached eggs, spicy sambal gravy, fresh slices of cucumber, crunchy groundnuts and rendang, a thick meat curry. Many Malaysians swear that a plateful of nasi lemak is the best way to begin the day.
This Malaysian signature dish consists of skewered chicken or beef grilled over a charcoal fire. The thick succulent meat is savoured with a tasty peanut dip, rice cubes as well as fresh slices of onion and cucumber.
Teh tarik literally means ‘stretched tea’. The piping hot tea is skilfully pulled from one mug to another, to increase its aroma and cool its temperature. Mixed with evaporated or condensed milk, teh tarik is a popular Malaysian drink enjoyed at any time of the day.
This traditional Malaysian breakfast is a light crispy flatbread made from wheat floor. Watch the experts pound, stretch and toss the dough and then cook it to perfection on a griddle. Roti canai is best savoured with lentil or chicken curry.
Rendang is a thick, dry Malay dish which is made of beef or chicken. It is usually eaten with white rice or glutinous rice. Rendang is a must-have specialty during Hari Raya. It is known for its hot and spicy taste.
This dessert makes an excellent thirst quencher on a hot afternoon. Air batu campur or ais kacang is a bowl filled to the brim with shaved ice and condiments such as red beans, groundnuts, corn and fruits, sweetened with condensed milk and sugar syrup.
This dessert consists of shaved ice and coconut milk, and sweetened with brown sugar syrup. Its main ingredient is the cendol, or noodle-like strips made of green bean flour.
Rich and satisfying, nasi briyani is a great choice for rice lovers and those with a big appetite. It is cooked using a special type of rice grains called basmati rice, together with meat and aromatic spices. Variations include egg briyani, chicken briyani and lamb briyani. Briyani rice is served with curry and a refreshing salad made of yogurt and cucumber.
A Chinese specialty, bak kut teh consists of pork ribs and meat pieces simmered in a herbal broth. Herbs and spices such as star anise, dong quai, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds and garlic are infused into the meat. A halal version of this dish, called chi kut teh, uses chicken as the primary ingredient to replace the pork.
This is a hearty rice dish served with roasted, steamed or poached chicken as well as ginger paste, chilli sauce and soy sauce.
A unique noodle soup dish with ingredients such as coconut milk, seafood, bean sprouts, cucumber and spices. Variations include Laksa Penang, Laksa Johor and Laksa Sarawak, each with its own distinct flavour and taste.
A plateful of sizzling char kuay teow is one of the most popular items from the Chinese kitchen. Kuay teow is a type of flat noodle that is fried over a high heat with cockles, prawns and chicken before it is garnished with crunchy bean sprouts. Duck’s eggs are sometimes added to give it some extra flavour.
The following is a sampling of Kuala Lumpur’s restaurants to begin your culinary adventure:
Al-Amar (Middle Eastern)
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, 168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 017 284 0874
Ali Muthu & Ah Hock Kopitiam
13, Jalan Balai Polis
Tel: 03 2022 3588
Acme Bar & Coffee
The Troika, Jalan Binjai
Tel: 03 2162 9888
ARCH Café Pacific Express Hotel
G.01 & G.03.A, Groond Floor,
Jalan Hang Kasturi, Kuala Lumpur City Center,
Tel : 03 2022 1669
Tel: 03 2020 2020
Arthur’s Bar & Grill (Continental)
Tel: 03-2074 3900
3 Jalan Ceylon
Tel: 03 2031 3575
Bombay Palace (Indian)
20 Jalan Sultan Ismail
Tel: 03 2171 7220
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2142 4000
Bunga Emas (Malay)
The Royale Chulan
Tel: 03 2688 9688
Celestial Court (Chinese)
Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2717 9900
Chakri Palace (Thai)
Tel: 03 2382 7788
El Cerdo (European/non-Halal)
43 & 45 Changkat Bukit Bintang
Tel: 013 309 4197
Etoile Bistro (French)
Tel: 03 2789 7777
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2142 8006
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2143 9333
Juara Tomyam Kampung Baru (Malay/Thai)
Tel: 016-970 6622
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2148 9608
Kampung Attap Fish Head Curry
Restoran ZK, 76 Jalan Kampung Attap
Tel: 03 2273 9786
Kedai Kak Jat (Malay/Food Court)
Stall No. 3
Lorong Bellamy, Bukit Petaling
Tel: 013 259 8169
Lai Po Heen (Cantonese)
Tel: 03 2179 8885
Little Penang Kafe (Malaysian)
Tel: 03 2163 0215
LOKL Coffee Co. (Café)
30, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee
Tel: 018 968 5515
Makan Kitchen (Malay)
Double Tree by Hilton KL, The Intermark
Tel: 012 290 1655
Mali’s Char Kuey Teow (Malay/Food Stall)
No.9-1, Jalan Langkawi, Platinum Walk
Mandarin Grill (Contemporary)
Tel: 03 2380 8888
Marini’s on 57 (Contemporary Italian)
Tel: 03 2386 6030
Marmalade Bangsar Village (Western/Bistro)
Tel: 03 2282 8301
Ikan Bakar Seri Melaka Jalan Bellamy
(Malay and Thai Seafood / Food Court)
Tel: 010 367 7576
132 Jalan Kasah, Medan Damansara
Tel: 011 3689 6393
Naab (Middle Eastern)
Jalan Bukit Bintang
Tel: 03 2143 3949
Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa (Malay / Stall)
Tel: 011 5115 1991
Nasi Lemak Boss (Malay/Stall)
21 & 23, Jalan Kolam Air Lama
Ampang Jaya, 68000 Ampang
Tel: 016 965 5977
Nasi Lemak Mak Wanjo @ Jalan Raja Muda Musa
Jalan Raja Muda Musa, Kampung Baru
Tel: 011 6336 1963
Nasi Kandar Pelita (Indian Muslim/Hawker food)
Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar Baru
Tel: 03 2282 5532
Aloft Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2723 1188
Nutmeg (Western) Café/Bistro
Bangsar Village II
Tel: 03 2710 4018
6, Lorong Raja Chulan
Tel: 011 2367 4581
Intermark Mall, The Intermark
Tel: 03 2161 2461
Passage Thru’ India (Indian)
Jalan Bukit Bintang
Tel: 017 998 9427
Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2263 7424
Precious Old China (Nyonya)
Tel: 03 2273 7372
Rebung (Chef Ismail)
5-2 Cascade Parking Bukit Aman,
1, Jalan Tanglin,
Tel: 03 2276 2525
Sahara Tent (Middle Eastern)
Lorong Nibong, Taman U Thant,
Tel: 03 2144 8310
Level 28, G Tower, 199, Jalan Tun Razak
Tel: 03 2168 1899
Tarbush (Arabic and Lebanese)
Starhill Gallery, Jalan Bukit Bintang
Tel: 03 2142 8558
InterContinental, Jalan Ampang
Tel: 016 202 4623
The Love @MaTic (Malay/Variety)
139, Jalan Ampang
Tel: 03 2164 1139
Verandah Restaurant (Malay)
35, Bukit Bintang St,
Tel: 03 8312 7015
Tel: 03 20743900
Wasabi Bistro (Japanese)
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Tel: 03 2163 0968
There is so much to do and so many places to see in Malaysia. To make sure that you don’t miss anything, use this handy map to navigate your way across the country and find great places to visit.
Perlis is the northern gateway to Malaysia. Despite its small size, Perlis has an abundance of attractions that make it a great destination.
Kedah is Malaysia’s largest paddy producing state. Delve into history in Lembah Bujang, the site of an ancient civilisation or relax in Langkawi, a world-famous resort island.
The site of a UNESCO World Heritage City, Penang is a holiday paradise with fabulous beach resorts and eclectic cultures. It is also the undisputable haven for foodies.
A tin-rich state in its heyday, Perak beckons with a range of sights and experiences. The state’s top attractions include Pangkor, an island getaway and Pangkor Laut, an internationally-acclaimed private island.
Hailed as the Cradle of Malay culture, Kelantan is a destination teeming with age-old arts, crafts and pastimes.
Beautiful islands, culture and nature give Terengganu its magical appeal. Dive, snorkel, sunbathe at the islands or journey to its hinterland to experience the best of nature.
The largest state in the peninsula beckons nature-enthusiasts with exciting eco-adventures. From Taman Negara, the oldest national park in the country, to the idyllic Tioman Island, Pahang is simply mesmerising.
Malaysia’s dynamic capital city is bustling with attractions and activities. Explore the city by day and night.
Selangor is home to the country’s main airport KLIA, and the main gateway by sea, Port Klang. It is also the country’s most developed state with a long list of shopping malls and themed attractions.
Putrajaya, the administrative capital of Malaysia, is a well-planned township with impressive buildings, verdant parks, scenic lakes and beautiful bridges.
From the majestic height of Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia’s tallest peak, to the stunning depths of the world-famous Sipadan Island, Sabah is a magnificent nature destination.
Sarawak, the largest state in Malaysia, has a vast wilderness that contains numerous national parks including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mulu National Park.
Located off the northwestern coast of Borneo, this island thrills visitors with its wreck diving sites, historical relics and duty-free shopping.
The birth place of the nation, Melaka is a treasure trove of history and heritage. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage City for vestiges of the past.
Known for its fascinating Minangkabau culture and a unique social system, Negeri Sembilan is the place to learn age-old customs and traditions.
Visit Malaysia’s southern gateway, for a family vacation at the theme parks or escape to its islands for an unforgettable holiday.
Enjoy birdwatching at 55 Important Bird Areas (IBA) throughout the country, tucked away at various habitats such as islands, coasts or lush lowland and montane rainforests.
Love the cool highlands? Find refreshing destinations to unwind in Malaysia. From French-themed settings, energetic amusement parks to forest-clad hills, there is something for everyone.
Find the coolest, trendy spaces to hang out while you tickle your tastebuds with the best delights.
Find the fun and thrill that you are looking for in Malaysia. Meet your favourite characters, plunge down the world’s longest water slide or enjoy the rides and games!
Get your rod ready to reel in the best catch in Malaysian waters.
For those who appreciate the finer things in life, Malaysia is the place to indulge in sheer comfort and sophistication. Luxe Malaysia takes you beyond your expectations.
Enjoy exploring the South China Sea, Andaman Sea, Celebes and Sulu seas for incredible sights from pelagic species, sea turtles to reefs, wrecks and more.
The best way to engage with the locals, a homestay programme gives a peek into the lifestyles, customs, cultures and pastimes of a local family.
What better way to explore Malaysia than through its food! Follow the aroma to track down lip-smacking delights found around the country, together with interesting snippets on its culture and origins.
Get your complete info on cruising, yachting, anchorage facilities and land excursions around the country.
Blessed with year-round sunshine and rain, Malaysia has a wealth of tropical flora and fauna. Visit its national and marine parks to enjoy the captivating sights both on land and underwater!
Get a glimpse into Malaysia’s rich mosaic of ethnic communities and indigenous people.