Find out about Malaysian food and where to find the best dishes on your trip
In Malaysia, food trucks, kiosks and stalls serve up tantalizing treats at all hours. It’s fair to say you’ll never go hungry. If you feel like kicking things up a notch, there are also many world-class sky-high restaurants that won’t disappoint. Here, our Southeast Asia expert Orlagh tells us about Malaysian food and what’s on the menu in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur’s best restaurants
Kuala Lumpur, or KL as it’s more commonly known, offers haute cuisine and height cuisine – many of the best restaurants in town are located on the upper levels of the city’s tallest skyscrapers. Some people say the higher the restaurant, the higher the bill, but I found that isn’t necessarily so. You can easily get a pew with a spectacular view and stay within your budget. As in any major city, there are, of course, expensive places to dine, but the vast majority of establishments are eager to feed you at a reasonable price. Waiting staff definitely deserve decent tipping for their professionalism and charm at all times.
Spicy Malaysian cuisine
One of the main influences in Malaysian cuisine, and there are many, is Indian. Spicy dishes are hugely popular and peppers and chillies go into just about everything. You can even buy chilli ice cream if you’re brave enough to try it. Curried fish, meat, poultry and vegetable dishes served with rice or noodles can be as mild or as hot as you want. Bear in mind that the Malaysia idea of mild is very different to ours!
Choice of food in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is a cosmopolitan capital where culinary traditions collide, so you’ll always find a restaurant specialising in European, Chinese, Mexican, Italian or Japanese dishes, to name but a few. When it comes to dining, you’re spoiled for choice, especially in hotels where the fabulous buffets offer all of the above. You can enjoy tastes from all over the world on a single plate. And yes, if you want a break from the exotic, there’s a McDonald’s on every second street corner.
My favourite Malaysian dish is nasi lemak, which bursts with so many flavours and is available everywhere in KL for only a couple of euro. It translates as “rice in cream”, but it’s so much more. The rice is soaked in coconut milk and then steamed. The aroma itself is worth the money, especially when they add some lemongrass and ginger. It’s served on a banana leaf with spicy sauce (sambal), dried anchovies, cucumber slices, chopped-up hard-boiled egg and roasted peanuts, to which you add your choice of pickled vegetables, fried chicken, cuttlefish or beef rendang. If you’re particularly peckish, add the lot!
So there you have it, a rundown of Malaysia’s culinary highlights. There are plenty of dishes to tickle your fancy with Kuala Lumpur boasting an amazing array of restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. Stuff yourself silly and have an incredible time in this beautiful country.