The Best Cheap Eats in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Banana Leaf Rice for dinner | © Sham Hardy/Flickr
Banana Leaf Rice for dinner | © Sham Hardy/Flickr
Photo of Sarah Anne Lee
29 April 2017

Boasting the best array of worldwide food in Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur offers the experience of travelling the globe through your taste buds. Discover cheap eats galore as street food is Malaysia’s specialty. Malaysia’s capital city is a glorious place where you can find every kind of delicacy at extremely affordable prices. Here are our picks of the best cheap eats in KL.

Lot 10 Hutong Food Court

Restaurant, Food Court, Malaysian, Asian, Chinese
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Fried Penang Char Kuey Teow
Crunchy, chewy, and savoury - all in one plate | © wong yu liang / Shutterstock

This food court is absolutely reasonably cheap for its location, in KL’s Golden Triangle, Bukit Bintang. Lot 10 Hutong Food Court reflects the many famous Chinese hawker stalls that have been serving food in KL for decades, and its narrow walkways are reminiscent of authentic Chinese coffee shops. Prepare your stomach for the best and oldest of street food vendors in KL under one roof, a true heritage site.

Dharma Realm Guan Yin Monastery Canteen

Buddhist Temple
Map View

Don’t feel guilty taking advantage of the cheap eats from a Buddhist monastery; instead, see it as an opportunity to indulge in life’s simpler pleasures. This quaint open kitchen serves the best array of vegetarian delicacies to please the Chinese palate. This is cheap, humble food at its best, so pick up a plate and line up for a lunch like no other. Remain in a spiritual frame of mind and clean up after yourself!

Food Republic food court, Pavilion KL

Restaurant, Fusion, Malaysian, Asian, Middle Eastern
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Sometimes even the high-class, luxury restaurants can get a bit over-priced and too singular in cuisine; and with such a colorful delicacy reputation, even Kuala Lumpur’s glitziest mall has incorporated the best of local foods in its in-house attractions. The Food Republic food court hosts some of Malaysia’s favorite meals, from the savory chicken rice to the eccentric yong tau fu selections. It also has options from the other parts of Asia, so chow down on Japanese bento boxes or Korean bibimbap at deal prices.

Boat Noodle

Restaurant, Asian, Street Food, Thai, $$$
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Rejoice for the trip all the way to Bangkok can be held off for an adventure of its own, or perhaps dining here could entice you to visit Thailand altogether. The original Thai specialty, a trademark delicacy of the famous floating market; the only reason it might rack up a bill is because you can’t stop eating! This noodle meal in spoonfuls of meaty broth comes in quite small batches for easy eating, so don’t be surprised (0r shy) if you start to notice the bowls piling up on your table.

Restoran Yap Hup Kee

Restaurant, Malaysian, $$$
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Hakka Yong Tau Foo
Hakka Yong Tau Foo | © Banej/WikiCommons

One of the more popular producers of the Chinese Hakka amalgam of treats, this decades-old restaurant has come a long way since its humble hawker stall beginnings three generations ago. Dig into fried delicacies of the dumpling and spring roll kind with a side of braised vegetables and chee cheong fan rice noodles in dark sauce at one of the more popular places to eat on the food street of Jalan Pudu. Lunch crowds may be large, so get there early to secure a table.

Jalan Sentul Chinese Nasi Lemak

Restaurant, Malaysian, Chinese, Asian
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Malaysian nasi lemak packed with banana leaf
Malaysian nasi lemak packed with banana leaf | © Kencana Studio / Shutterstock

Malaysian street food at its best, enjoy the national dish with an Oriental addition of various side dishes such as dry pork curry alongside familiars like chicken rendang stew and ayam masak merah (chicken cooked red). Still maintaining its hawker cart roots, this stall is beloved by the locals seeking authentic street nasi lemak with a Kuala Lumpur flavor. Food will usually run out by 8 PM, so it is advised to have a late tea before queuing up with the crowd for this specialty meal.

Tang City Food Court

Cafe, Food Court, Malaysian, Asian, Chinese, Indian, Fusion
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It doesn’t take much looking to know how Malaysians love their food all located in clumps of stalls known as food courts. Practically a tradition, the amassing of many hawker stalls under one roof is a local blessing, and at Tang City food court, experience local life in its natural habit of a noisy, crowded eatery. Enjoy the goodness of all Asian Malaysian flavors at budget prices from a lazy brunch morning to a wind-down supper.

Nasi Kandar Pelita

Restaurant, Indian, Malaysian, Vegetarian, $$$
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Hawker serving the Nasi Kandar at Kuala Lumpur
Savour the flavours of different curries at a nasi kandar shop | © FARYSA HAMZAH / Shutterstock

A list of cheap eats in Malaysia would never be complete without the mention of the mamak. The reigning champion of being the most affordable food around, these Muslim-Indian staples are beloved by everyone regardless of race and culture. Attracting people with its 24-hour operating times and favorites like roti canai and the namesake nasi kandar, Nasi Kandar Pelita has cemented their position as one of the best-visited mamak joints in Kuala Lumpur.

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