A rich melting pot of flavours, Malaysian cuisine ranks amongst the most delicious and tastiest in Asia. And one of the best places to experience it in all its glory is the Country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. The beauty of eating in KL is that it doesn’t have to be expensive if you know where to look! To save you some of the guesswork on where to sample the most delicious and authentic local dishes for the least amount of money, here are our top five cheap eats in KL – and they are all under RM10 (AUD3.5)!
At the top of the list…
Interestingly, the term ‘satay’ means ‘three pieces’ in the Hokkien dialect. This Malaysian version of ‘kebab’ is often treated as an entrée in Australia, but it’s considered a stand-alone meal in Malaysia. Satay is designed to be enjoyed with peanut sauce and its tradition to refresh your palate with cucumber or tomato in between bites. Locals claim that Sate Zainah Ismail probably has the meatiest satay you’ll find in KL. Its beef satay is beautifully smoked and once you get started, you will be sure to ordering one stick after another. And why not at only RM 0.70 per serve.
WHERE? Sate Zainah Ismail, 3437 Jalan Keramat, 54000 Kuala Lumpur
The quintessential Southeast Asian dessert, Cendol’s core ingredients include coconut milk, green starched jelly noodles with pandan flavoring, and palm sugar. When the weather gets hot in Malaysia, locals make for the nearest Cendol stall. Also known for its traditional Nyonya laksa, Baby Low’s 486 is considered one of the best places to try this uniquely Asian treat. Delicious and refreshing, its Cendol is a real showstopper. “One bite and you’ll understand why Cendol is a local favourite, “according to Tourism Malaysia Director Roslan Abdullah.
WHERE? Baba Low’s 486, 11 Lorong Kurau Bangsar Kuala Lumpur 59100
No visit to Malaysia is complete without tasting Peranakan/Nonya cuisine. One of the best-known and most popular Nyonya dishes is the famous Laksa noodle soup, with its rich coconut curry base. The veritable minestrone of South Asia, Laksas can feature anything from tofu puffs, fish shrimps through to chicken pieces and of course, noodles and lots of delicious Asian vegetables. The curry laksa at the 17-year-old Bakeri Joy is a somewhat of a KL institution – and must try for all food lovers. It is much lighter and than traditional laksas found elsewhere. Want an extra spice kick? If you dare, stir some of Bakeri Joy’s famous dry chilli paste into your bowl, savour the satisfying chilli hit and slurp down your laksa until the very last drop.
WHERE? Bakeri Joy, 4 SS24/13 Taman Megah Kelana Jaya Petaling Jaya 47301
If you ask a local “What is Kuih?” or “How many types of Kuih are there?” you are most likely to be rewarded with a very confused look. And this is because, like a great many Malaysian dishes, Kuih comes in countless variations and permutations, and it can be savoured at any time of the day. Not only does it come in all manner of colours and flavours, it can also be prepared in any number of ways – steamed, grilled and baked. Most Kuih consist of firm puddings or custards that can be cut into pieces. A’Han Nyonya Kuih, a family-run business in Seapark, has mastered the art of preparing Kuih over many decades of practice. Its steamed blue glutinous rice cakes and red tortoise cake will be sure make your followers on social media turn green with envy. And did we mention they are delicious too?
WHERE? A’Han Nyonya Kuih, 16 Jalan 21/22 SEA Park Petaling Jaya 46300
Last but by no means least on our list of Malaysian cheap eats, Nasi Lemak is considered by many Malaysians to be part of their national heritage. The basics? Steamed rice combined with Pandan leaves and coconut cream, partnered with sizzling spicy sauce or sambal. Try this fragrant dish at Warung Rindu, a hidden gem, which has been around for almost 20 years. According to locals its Sambal Ikan Bilis – the traditional accompaniment to Nasi Lemak, is what makes its version of this popular dish such a winner. Taking 3 – 4 hours to cook, experts say that Warung Rindu’s Sambal Ikan Bilis really brings out the flavour in the chillies, meaning that one bowl of their Nasi Lemak is rarely enough!
WHERE? Warung Rindu, Jalan Kubur Off Jalan Pantai Dalam Bangsar South Kuala Lumpur 59200
Aside from delicious food, Malaysia is a great place to visit at any time, with adventure, culture, beaches, jungle, nature and accommodation to suit every budget, friendly locals and year-round sunshine to boot. So, food lovers, if you can feel your tummy rumbling already, visit tourismmalaysia.com.au, be inspired and book a holiday that is sure to satisfy more than just your palate.