The 15 Best Street Food Spots in Kuala Lumpur

Taman Connaught Market is a Kuala Lumpur street food hub
Taman Connaught Market is a Kuala Lumpur street food hub | Irene Navarro / © Culture Trip
Jo Fernandez-Corugedo

Malaysian food is a collision of Chinese, Indian and Malay flavours with a sprinkling of Arab, Thai and British thrown in. Nowhere is this mix more appetising than in the food of Kuala Lumpur’s street cooks. From peppery curries to seafood stir-fries, nutty satays to spicy pasties and delicious dim sum, this food is as delicious as it is varied. Kuala Lumpur street food is also easy to sample, with street stalls dishing up delicacies on seemingly every corner. For the best, do as the locals do and head to Petaling Street or the night markets in the Golden Triangle near the Petronas Towers.

1. Sze Ngan Chye

Food Stall, Malaysian

SZE NGAN CHYE (The Bespectacled Guy) stall selling famous salted roast duck on Petaling Street KL, the charcoal-roasted duck,
© Goss Images / Alamy Stock Photo

This Chinatown favourite made its name with epic salted roast duck – cooked to a recipe created by septuagenarian founder Choong Feng Phooi. The skin is crisp over moist, tender flesh and the dish comes accompanied by a tangy sauce, also unique to this kiosk-restaurant. Loyal diners come from all over KL to take away and eat in, whilst Choong Feng Phooi’s daughter Amy, who now runs the restaurant, has added dozens of other dishes to the menu.

2. Madam Tang Muah Chee Queen

Food Stall, Dessert

muah chee petaling street
© Karuna Ang

Grandmother Tang’s muah chee dessert stall on Petaling Street is a Chinatown institution. If this isn’t immediately evident from the myriad press cuttings pinned to her stall, it will be once you try the quality of her cooking. The star dish is a Cantonese version of Japanese mochi – a chewy, doughy rice cake covered in sesame seeds or peanuts and sugar. The secret to delicious muah chee is careful steaming of the rice batter followed by vigorous stirring – an art Madam Tang has perfected over the decades.

3. Hon Kee Porridge

Restaurant, Chinese

Whilst the Scots have been making porridge for five millennia, it was the Malaysians who added frogs’ legs, which are stir-fried with tangy ginger-gravy and spring onions before being scooped into the silky smooth gruel. The dish has been served to loyal diners at this Petaling Street kiosk since 1959. Locals eat this for breakfast and the stall is hard to miss with gaudy pictures and big red banners emblazoned ‘Hon Kee Famous Porridge’. And if you don’t fancy the frogs’ legs, other options include raw snakehead fish.

4. Madras Lane Yong Tau Foo

Restaurant, Chinese

Despite the name, Madras Lane doesn’t serve curries. This busy street stall, just off Petaling Street, is one of KL’s most popular yong tau foo eateries. This Hakka (south-eastern) Chinese dish is made by stuffing meat or minced fish into tofu and vegetables including aubergine and okra. The results are then deep-fried and served with soup, bitter gourd and fish sauce. There are almost always queues for a table at Madras Lane, especially early on in the evening.

5. Shawarma Damascus

Food Stall, Middle Eastern

Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish similar to doner kebab – made from spit-roasted meat (usually lamb or chicken) piled into warm pitta bread with onions, chilli pepper and other vegetables. This streetside restaurant in Kuala Lumpur’s Arab quarter (behind the Sungei Wang Plaza shopping mall) is always hectic with eat-in diners and takeaway customers alike. Though shawarma is the most popular dish, the restaurant has an extensive Middle Eastern menu.

6. Yulek Wantan Mee

Food Stall, Malaysian, Chinese

Wantan noodles
© KYTan / Shutterstock

One of Kuala Lumpur’s most adored fast-food dishes, wantan mee is made from noodles and vegetables stir-fried in dark soya sauce and served with Wonton soup as well as smoky roast pork belly slices. You’ll find the dish throughout the city but nowhere serves it better than this no-frills family restaurant near the Yulek Morning and Night markets in Cheras Business Centre. Be sure to ask for their homemade chilli sauce – which perfectly offsets the dish’s saltiness.

7. Nasi Lemak Wanjo

Restaurant, Malaysian

Another culinary treasure in Kuala Lumpur is nasi lemak, a staple that can be bought across the city. This humble shop piles plates high with fragrant coconut-milk rice dressed with sambal sotong (chili squid sauce), paru goreng (spiced fried beef lungs), boiled egg and cucumber. Sit at one of the many blue plastic tables and take your time.

8. Kedai Kopi Tian Hong

Food Stall, Malaysian, Chinese

Deep in the bustling business area of Salak South, this family-run Chinese coffee shop dishes plate after plate of char siew, or Chinese barbecued pork, the specialty here. Orders can get mixed up as the place is always full of diners ready to chow down on the charred meat, which comes served with a rich, sweet sauce. While you’re here, try the crispy pork belly or siew yuk – chicken rice and sides of colourful vegetables.

9. Nasi Lemak Peel Road

Food Stall, Malaysian

Nasi Lemak
© Dolly MJ / Shutterstock

Peel Road Nasi Lemak is a long-established Chinese-style nasi lemak stall run by a husband and wife – you’ll spot them by looking for the bright-yellow sign. The pair have nearly 30 years of experience cooking for the hungry crowds who come to eat on tables and chairs out in front of the stall. There are a plethora of dishes to accompany the rice, which forms the central component of any nasi lemak. Most popular is their crispy deep-fried chicken, but other treats include chicken rendang, cockles and mutton curry. Get here as quickly as you can – the food is so trusted and tasty that they tend to sell out early.

10. Peter’s Pork Noodle

Food Stall, Malaysian

This set-up can be found in Money’s Corner Food Court in Brickfields, also known as ‘Little India’ for its high proportion of Indian residents and businesses. Bag a table in the busy seating area, then head to Peter’s stall and choose either dry or soup-based noodles with sliced or minced pork (they also offer liver, intestines and other offal) remembering to specify whether you want extra egg.

11. Brickfields Pisang Goreng

Food Stall, Dessert

Join the queues that start early in the beating heart of Brickfields for a taste of Mr. Chiam’s pisang goreng, or fried banana fritters. What makes this variety so deliciously addictive is the freshness of the bananas that go into this sweet dish, making it a favorite among regulars. The bananas, lovingly peeled, battered and fried by the roadside, come hot, sweet, gooey and crispy. What’s not to love?

12. Chew Chew Chow Tofu

Food Stall, Chinese

Stinky tofu
© glen photo / Shutterstock

You’d think that only the very brave – or those who love a dare – could deal with 14-day old so-called stinky tofu. In fact, the dish is a beloved delicacy across Malaysia. Chew Chew Chow Tofu, in Uptown KL, is a stinky tofu restaurant with a simple interior of dark wooden tables and chairs divided into smoking and non-smoking sections. Stinky tofu – the star of the show – comes regular or extra crispy, the regular version topped with multiple sauce combinations from cheese and mayo to chilli sauce to tomato ketchup. The extra crispy version is served according to national cuisine style, think Thai or Italian. If you’re struggling with the strong stench, seek solace in a glass of refreshing soursop juice.

Air Mata Kucing Petaling Street

Take a break from all the eating and cool down with a cup of iced herbal tea. You can find a variety of herbal teas, including longan, luo han guo (monk fruit) and winter melon drinks at the decades-old Air Mata Kucing stall. Cheap and tasty, this is the best way to escape from the Malaysian heat.

Nur Satay

For a juicy, meaty late-night snack, Nur Satay is the place to go. Here you will find skewered marinated meat slowly grilled to perfection. Paired with a crunchy thick peanut sauce, this dish is worth all the extra calories. Options include chicken, beef, tripe and liver with prices starting at RM0.80 per stick.

Ah Keong’s ABC & Cendol Stall

One of Malaysians’ favourite ways to cool down from the hot weather is with a bowl of cendol. Ah Keong’s is just across the street from Brickfield’s Pisang Goreng stall and Restoran One Sentral. The cendol here is hand-made by Uncle Ah Keong, boasting a springy texture and mild aromatic flavour.
Alex Robinson contributed additional reporting to this article.

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