10+ must try dishes in Kuala Lumpur

People here love to eat. Although the local specialty cuisine is the Malay food, there is a plenty of other cuisines which happen to be quite appealing both to the locals as well as foreigners. The most famous being Chinese, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese and Korean. Some of the favorite food and snack items here would include:

  • Nasi Lemak: Coconut oil rice with anchioves and sambal sauce. This can be sided with a variety of meat or fish which comes as a part of the set or can be topped up. My favorite side (the default one) is the fried chicken.
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Nasi Lemak
  • Rendang: It is a Malaysia-Indonesian meat or fish gravy preparation with spices and coconut milk.
  • Hainanese Chicken rice: A dish adapted from the early Chinese immigrants originally from Hainan province in southern China, with regional variations around the South East Asia. In Malaysia, the chicken rice (oil rice or plain rice) can be combined with the sides like roasted, honey roasted or BBQ chicken, other than the traditional steamed chicken.
  • Satay: Satay is a dish of skewered and barbecued meat, served with various sauces, the most often one being a combination of soy and peanut sauce.
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Satay stall, Jalan Alor
  • Nasi Kandar: Originating from Penang, Nasi Kandar is a meal of steamed rice which can be plain or mildly flavored, served with a variety of curry and side dishes.
  • Banana leaf rice: Similar to Nasi Kandar, this is also a meal of steamed rice served with curry and side dishes, but the origin of the cuisine traces back to South India. Traditionally served on a banana leaf.
  • Charsiew rice: Char siu is a preparation of BBQ pork in Cantonese cuisine. Char siew rice is a dish of white rice served with char siu slices and cucumbers, drenched in sweet gravy or drizzled with dark soy sauce.
  • Asam / curry Laksa: Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup in the Nyonya cuisine (a mix of Chinese and Malay cuisine), which consists of rice noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish, served in spicy soup. The soup is either based on rich and spicy curry coconut milk, or based on sour plum. You must, however, take a note on the strong smell it generally carries. You can go for the Asam Laksa Penang, which is not only the moat popular Laksa, but is also less smelly.
  • Rojak: A popular fruits and vegetables salad dish
  • Steamboat: This is traditionally a group dining concept, where the vegetables , noodles and meat are boiled in the flavored soup either in an opened or closed lid container. The container is placed on the table itself. Rice bowls come separately.
  • Korean BBQ: Korean BBQ are quite popular among the masses here.
  • Sushi: Sushi is another popular food, especially among the Chinese here.
  • Chili pan mee: This is a variation of the regular pan mee (hakka style noodle) and available at selected Chili pan mee shops only. The serving comes with noodles (dry or soup based), fried onions, minced pork, spring onion greens and half boiled egg. You can add chilli as per your taste and mix the contents together. Personally I prefer the dry pan mee with medium to high chilli content.
  • Durian: Fruit that the locals here could die for; worth a try if you can stand the strong smell.
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Durian Stall, Jalan Alor
  • Fish head curry: A dish with Indian and Chinese origins. The head of a red snapper is semi-stewed in a Kerala-style curry with assorted vegetables such as okra and eggplants.
  • Curry puff: A local favorite snack. It is basically a pie stuffed with potatoes with or without chicken slices prepared with different spices.
  • Dodol: Local toffee, sugar palm based confection.
  • Dimsum: Dim sum is a style of Chinese cuisine prepared in steamer baskets. Each assorted piece is normally small bite sized.
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Dimsum stall, Jalan Alor

Note:

  1. In some food stalls, you need to pay money as soon as the food arrives. So, if you see the person standing there after serving you food, you must know, they are expecting the money to be paid.
  2. Also, many food stalls here do not give water or tissue paper complimentary, so if you do not find tissue boxes on any of the tables or the water not served by default, chances are that you need to pay for them.

Special mention:

Other than the foods listed above, two more deserve special mention:

  • The Mongolian BBQ: Just as you are about to enter the Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang (the food street), to your right would be a stall selling Mongolian BBQ. Worth a try, goes pretty well with a can of beer, or a can of coke, if you will.
  • Ice cream rolls: This is a kind of hand made ice cream, made on the spot within minutes! This comes in different flavors and with different toppings. You can find this in one of the ice cream stalls in Jalan Alor as well as near the Bukit Bintang LRT when walking towards Pavilion shopping mall.
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