Whether tourists want to bargain hunt along Petaling Street and buy souvenirs from Central Market or stroll through traditional shophouses and visit temples, Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown deserves an afternoon. From quick meals, seafood and Western favourites for breakfast, lunch and dinner, here are our favourite restaurants in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown.
The typical Chinese-style coffee shop on Jalan Tun H S Lee serves hawker food, noodles, chicken rice and, of course, coffee. Customers tend to have their meal and sit sipping coffee for hours on end. Highlights at Kedai Kopi Lai Foong include fish head noodles, chicken curry and pork rice along with different types of soups. Prices start at RM6 ($1.50) a dish.
Craving budget-friendly Chinese food but aren’t sure exactly what to get? Check out Loong Huang and eat a cheap economy rice lunch, the Chinese version of Nasi Kandar. Customers can choose from more than 20 sides, including pork, chicken and vegetables and pay for what they take. Other dishes include several types of fried and noodle soups with fish balls being a particular highlight. A selection of coffee, tea, soft drinks and beer is available too.
Nestled behind the dense stalls along Petaling Street inside a red corner building, Restoran Kim Lian Kee offers a more mid-range dining experience in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. Existing for more than a century and claiming to be the birthplace of Hokkien mee in the capital, the restaurant attracts a diverse range of customers, including both locals and tourists. An extensive menu serves up a variety of seafood, tai chow dishes and Hokkien-style pork among many others. Large 625ml bottles of beer including Tiger, Skol and Stout are advertised.
The slogan advertised outside this restaurant in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown says ‘Try it, you’ll love it’. If that doesn’t sound enticing enough, the sweet barbequed meat specialities at Loong Kee should be. Customers can order a selection of dried meat and jerkies as well as burgers, stir-fry dishes and other Asian favourites. Beer is available too with regular drink promotions.
Located across the road from Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur’s oldest Hindu temple, Café ETC offers a selection of Asian, Western and Italian food. Among the more popular restaurants in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown with the local business class, customers can dine inside a modern air-conditioned interior. Bright colours contrast against black and white floor tiles, generating a contemporary and slightly European café atmosphere. The menu features burgers, fish and chips, grilled chicken and spaghetti dishes.
One of the typical Chinese-style restaurants in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown with red plastic chairs and foldable tables along Jalan Tun H S Lee. Boasting an impressive menu of seafood, pork and chicken dishes as well as stir fry, noodles and fried rice, Restoran Kiew Yee Baru provides extensive choices. Customers recommend the sweet and sour dishes as well as sizzlers. Beer is available.
Not all restaurants in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown serve Chinese food. Joy Restoran along Jalan Tun H S Lee offers a different culinary experience at very affordable prices for adventurous stomachs. This Bangladeshi restaurant often caters for the masses of migrant workers from the subcontinent but gets the occasional tourist. Traditional food is served as either self-service or by selecting a dish from the picture on the wall at this relatively small spot. Be sure to order fresh juice from the stall outside too.
Bak kut teh, translating to ‘meat, bone, tea’, is a favourite Chinese dish found in Malaysia and Singapore. Pork meat and vegetables stew in the broth before waiters serve the dish in a steaming bowl. Expect hearty portions that are best shared between at least two people. Rather than noodles, rice is eaten with Bak kut teh. But it’s not for the fainthearted: Ingredients use internal organs including intestines, and the dish has a strong odour some find disagreeable. Anyone who wants to taste this Chinese delicacy should head to this restaurant in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. Both outdoor and indoor air-conditioned seating is available.
Udang Gala, or ‘lobster’ in English, is among the best seafood restaurants in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown for both its food and atmosphere. A green grass-like carpet and bamboo decorations generate an ambience. Expect lots of seafood-based dishes and Thai food as well as the RM11.90 ($3) tom yam and steamed rice set menu. Offering a selection of both local and imported beer with Happy Hour prices as low as RM9.90 ($2.50) a bottle, Udang Gala makes a popular place to dine and imbibe.
Located in a tiny space with Chinese coffee shop-style foldable tables and plastic chairs, Little Uncle Kitchen’s appearance can be deceiving. Rather than serving noodle soup and coffee, this restaurant in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown near Pasar Seni MRT serves Nasi Kandar Indian food and biryani dishes. But don’t expect much variety inside this tiny spot along Jalan Tun H S Lee.