Malaysia is a treasure trove of delicious cheap eats. Among the many street food options offering an authentic taste of the country’s cuisines, mamaks are quintessentially Malaysian. Check out these 10 best restaurants for the mamak experience in Kuala Lumpur.
Packed with restaurants, bars and a plethora of street food stalls, Kuala Lumpur’s food scene is as colorful as can be. Not to be missed are the mamak restaurants, an important part of the food culture in Malaysia. From early morning until late at night, locals head to mamak restaurants for their favourite naans and rotis, as well as the popular teh tarik. Fit right in with the locals at these 10 best mamaks in Kuala Lumpur.
Teh Tarik Place
Restaurant, Malaysian, $$$
What’s the most Malaysian thing to do? Getting yourself a cup of steaming, frothy teh tarik (tea) and just yamcha (hang out) with your friends. At Teh Tarik Place, you will find a myriad of all things local, from nasi lemak, nasi kerabu and mee goreng mamak, to roti bakar, roti canai and tosai tisu. Kick back and enjoy the convenience of this modern mamak and enjoy the free WiFi.
Savour the flavours of different curries at a nasi kandar shop
Bringing the best from the northern state of Penang, Nasi Kandar Pelita is bustling 24 hours, every day of the week. The fragrant steamed rice paired with curries and side dishes draw in crowds from nearby offices and tourist spots. Having started in Penang in 1995 as a small coffee shop, Nasi Kandar Pelita has made its name among locals with its famous kuah campur.
Hyderabadi biryani is a form of biryani, from Hyderabad, India
Having started in the early 1900s in Penang, Syed Bistro has grown into a household name in Malaysia, with many locations spread across the country. On the menu you will find a variety of Malaysian dishes as well as Western food. Dedicated to perfecting its recipes for decades, the mutton nasi biryani and murtabak at Syed Bistro are cooked to perfection, with hours of marinating to achieve a salivating aroma.
Situated in a cozy residential area in Overseas Union Garden, Steven’s Corner has been the go-to hangout spot for locals. One of the first 24-hour mamak restaurants in the region, patrons will find a healthy crowd here after working hours, during the daily morning market and especially during football season. Must-tries here include tosai tisu, cheese naan, chicken chop and nasi lemak.
There is always a queue at Murni during peak hours, so you’ll have to be patient getting a seat. The main draw at Murni is an extensive menu of local delights and creative fusion mamak dishes that come in huge portions. Among their popular one-of-a-kind fusion mamak dishes are naan mozzarella Beckham special, roti Beckham, roti Hawaii, and nasi goreng Maryland. Prices are slightly higher than most mamaks, but rest assured – you’re definitely getting more bang for your buck.
One of Bangsar’s most treasured mamaks, Devi’s Corner is known for its banana leaf rice served upstairs. You will find tasty banana leaf rice fare here – rice and various vegetarian side dishes served on banana leaf as you sit down – and a good selection of curries, including its famous Kerala fish curry and mutton curry. Usually packed with people late at night, Devi’s Corner also serves the usual rotis, nasi lemak and naan at affordable prices.
While some might prefer to have their fingers covered with curry in Devi’s Corner, others head to Nirwana for filling southern Indian fare. The long queue at Nirwana only means one thing – finger lickin’ good food! Servers are quick to get your meal ready for you, placing the banana leaf down, followed by a choice of white or biryani rice, and three vegetarian side dishes. The fried bitter gourd is undoubtedly one of the best in town, and nobody will judge you for ordering an extra serving!
Tucked away in the affluent neighbourhood of Taman Tun Dr Ismail, this 24-hour mamak joint has residents coming back for more with its famous mumtaz naan. Modified from the basic naan, mumtaz naan is topped with butter, mayonnaise, cheese and tomatoes and could almost pass as a pizza. Customers will find the typical mamak fare offered here, including nasi lemak, nasi goreng, mee goreng, bihun goreng, Indomee, and tandoori chicken.
The nasi kandar at Kayu is on point and worth every penny spent. As one of Penang’s famous dishes, it is only apt that Kayu is founded by Penangites with a love for this flavourful dish. You will find aromatic spice-laden curries up for your choosing at this 24-hour food joint. Stare too long and you might start salivating at the majestic display of curries which include chicken, fish, mutton, beef, and sotong (cuttlefish).
Nasi Kandar is a popular self-service dining in Malaysia
Walk too fast, and you might miss this small shop tucked among the busy streets of Bukit Bintang. Even though it’s located at the Golden Triangle, prices remain affordable at Tg’s. With its 24-hour operating hours, it is a convenient joint for travellers to enjoy a taste of Malaysia. Well-loved for its nasi kandar, other popular dishes include roti canai and cheese naan that are perfect for some midnight snacking.