Best Hidden Food Gems In Kuala Lumpur

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Eating Out In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

As the weather in Asia transformed into it’s full-fledged monsoon season, I had decided to make my way from Nepal to Bali with a quick layover in Kuala Lumpur; spending another 8 or so hours in the airport I have come to know like the back of my hand.

Upon arrival and looking at the clock telling me I had another 7 hours to go until my flight, I made a spontaneous decision to extend my stay for two weeks to see what this city had to offer.

Thanks to couchsurfing, my new friend Palley whom I stayed with during the duration of my time in Malaysia opened up a whole new world that I had never known existed beyond the confines of KL’s airport.

Not only was I taken back by Malaysia’s landscape but my god, THE FOOD…and this is where the story begins (as well as an extra 5 pounds to my bodyweight).

If you’re a foodie, ill put it out there right now – Malaysia is a must on your travel itinerary and if you want to experience the best hidden food gems in Kuala Lumpur from a born and raised local, make your way through this list and we promise you will be in a food-coma heaven with a mix of Indian, Malaysian and Chinese fusion dishes.

Top Chinese Eats

Natures Recipe Café

The mix of flavors in Tofu Pok Rojak at Natures Recipe is out of this world and if you only order one item – this is it!

Adress: 12, Jalan 8/1E, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, 46050

Natures Recipe is a Chinese-vegetarian restaurant serving up some of the most flavorful and beautifully presented dishes we’ve tasted in KL and if you can only eat at one restaurant – this is our top pick.

We can vouch that regardless of what you choose, you wont be disappointed but our top must-eat dishes are their Tofu Pok Rojak (deep-fried tofu stuffed with bean sprouts, cucumber, roasted peanuts in a tamarind/lime sambal), Jade Dumplings (dumplings filled with asparagus, ginger, water chestnuts and green onion with a sesame dipping sauce), satay soya cubes with peanut dipping sauce and red curry baked rice. (Dishes are priced around RM7-12)

Top Indian Eats

Lakshmi Vilas Restaurant

Go on an empty stomach to Lakshmi and indulge in an ever-flowing south indian delight of various curries.

Address: 55, Leboh Ampang, City Centre, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

If you’ve ever been to India and had a chance to try their unlimited Thali (meaning an all-you-can-eat extravaganza of rice and various curries), you will love Lakshmi Vila’s Southern Indian Banana Leaf.

The staff will load up your large banana leaf with an assortment of various curries, spicy sambal, rice and papadam until you say “STOP!” so eat to your hearts content for a mere RM5!

Gandhi’s Vegetarian Restaurant

Open 8am-10:30PM, Gandhi’s is always packed with fellow foodies.

Address: Brickfields 28, Jalan Scott, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, 50470, Malaysia

Open since 1972, Gandhi’s Vegetarian restaurant is a longstanding favorite amongst locals and for good reason. With a wide variety of authentic Indian and fusion dishes to choose from, its hard to pick just one. Our top choices are by far the fish curry, burnt fish and butter chicken. (All of which are faux-meat!)

Betel Leaf

Betel Leaf’s Gobi Manchurian is a melt-in-your-mouth dish you must try while in Kuala Lumpur.

Address: 77A – 79A, Leboh Ampang, Kuala Lumpur City Center, Kuala Lumpur 50100

For flavors that will send your taste buds flying, Beetle leaf is by far our top choice for authentic Indian cuisine. So much in fact that it was the last place I ate at before leaving Malaysia!

Their menu ranges from Kebabs to curries, soups to tandoori, Naan to Roti and more for reasonable prices. The Gobi Manchurian (deep fried cauliflower cooked in an indian-chinese gravy), Paneer Lababdor (cheese gravy mix), Malai Kofta and a side order of Kashmiri and Garlic Naan. For dessert, treat yourself to one of the best Masala Chai’s of your life for the perfect Indian feast.

Top Fusion Eats

Natures Vegetarian Restaurant

Serving up a good variety of authentic Chinese and fusion dishes, their fried butter mushrooms and Rendang Curry are a must.

Address: 9, Jalan 8/1E, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, 46050

Not to be confused with “Natures Recipe Café”, this restaurant is booming with an assortment of vegetarian delights you can easily mistaken for meat.

Our top eats include a Malaysian dish called Rendang Curry (a mix of toasted coconut, garlic, shallots or onion, lemongrass, chilies, ginger, turmeric, coconut milk and marinated tofu) served with sweet Chinese bread Fried butter mushroom, sizzling sambal vegetarian (a tofu “fish” coated in a crunchy seaweed wrap and baked in a spicy, chili sambal), Yam Basket (a traditional Chinese cuisine of a sweet and savory deep fried yam basket filled with sautéed vegetables and cashews.), Kangkong Belacan (stir fried water spinach with chilies and garlic).

Top Street Food Eats

Kuala Lumpur is a vegetarian paradise and with three cultures of cuisine to chose from, we can promise you wont grow bored or hungry in this bustling city.

Motorcycle Stall on Petaling Street: Apam Balik

Petaling Street is riddled with street food stalls but these folded pancakes should be at the top of your list.

A famous street snack everyone loves is Apam Balik – a soft yet crispy and sweet folded pancake filled with ground peanuts and sugar. Look for the motorcycle stall in front of the Koon Kee Wantan Mee shop and don’t be surprised by the lineup – it’s worth the wait.

Ama Food Stall: Nasi Lemak

You cant go to Malaysia and not try their most traditional banana leaf wrapped lunch. Just be prepared for spice!

(Open every day except Thursdays)

Head to Taman Overseas Union Garden and straight to the long lineup at Ama Food Stall to try Kuala Lumpur’s national dish and the best vegetarian Nasi Lemak made of rice, fried peanuts, cucumber, braised tofu, sautéed vegetables with a spicy tomato and chili sambal.

Brickfields: Pisang Goreng

Sweet-tooth’s will love this deep-fried banana snack costing a mere RM1.50

Brickfields; also known as “little India” in KL is full of incredible Indian restaurants but if you’ve got a sweet-tooth, try the freshly deep-fried banana fritters for RM1.50 sold on a little street stall in front of One Sentral Coffee Shop. The textured crunch and the sweet, warm banana inside will melt in your mouth and we bet you can’t eat just one.

Tricycle Stall in front of Restoran Nam Chuan: kuih kosui

Treat yourself to a local sweet filled with oozing brown sugar, padan and coconut and let those tastebuds soar.

(Open every day 3pm-6pm, except Wednesdays)

Wrapped in a banana leaf, kuih kosui is a diamond shaped sweet made of shredded coconut, brown sugar and pandan with glutinous rice dough on the exterior that will leave you murmuring the words “MMMMMM!”

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Feature image: Open cooking grill in Kuala Lumpur’s street food market. Credit: Mark Fischer

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Shannon Wolf

Born in Toronto, Canada, Shannon Wolf has lived and worked around the globe as a freelance writer and photographer. Over the years her work has been featured and published both in print and online in various publications. Shannon has travelled over 40+ countries on 4 continents in the last 3 years and is an avid food lover and adventurer with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping.

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