The central highlands offer respite from Malaysia’s suffocating heat and humidity. Crisp mountain air combines with lush green surroundings. Culture Trip rounds up the best restaurants in Cameron Highlands for steamy steamboats, cheap Chinese and Western-Indian fusions.
Whether you’re in the cooler highlands for a retreat or hiking, you’ll need to know where to eat. Culture Trip reveals our favourite 10 restaurants in Cameron Highlands for steamboat, vegetarian food and homemade ice cream.
Hotel Restaurant, Malaysian, European
As part of the five-star Cameron Highlands Resort, The Dining Room promises class. Breakfast spreads, including dozens of Western and Asian dishes (think pancakes, fruits and eggs), feed hungry guests. Sit in the English-style dining hall and watch the clouds form over the green mountain tops. Return for an evening of romance with an al-fresco candlelit dinner (recommend smoked duck) on their outdoor terrace. Formal dress codes apply (shirt and trousers for men and smart casual for women) at one of the most exclusive restaurants in Cameron Highlands.
Cafe, Restaurant, Malaysian, Vegetarian, $$$
Unlike other parts of Malaysia, Cameron Highlands lacks a thriving Kopitiam culture. An elderly Chinese couple runs this Malaysian-style coffee shop in Tanah Rata. Head down for a selection of affordable meals for breakfast and lunch. Culture Trip recommends either nasi lemak, kueh teow soup or curry mee for a local-style breakfast. Western sets with eggs, toast and tea or coffee cost just RM8 ($1.90 USD). Vegetarian options (try vegetarian fried keuh teow) are available too. Uncle Chow consistently rates among the top restaurants in Cameron Highlands for vacationing locals. And if Malaysians say it’s good, it must be true!
Cafe, Restaurant, Malaysian, European, Fusion, $$$
Barracks Café in Tanah Rata resembles an army barrack surrounded by a flower garden. The café blends Western and Indian meals with scones, cakes and a variety of tea. For a hearty meal after hiking, order chicken chop and fish teriyaki or creamy lamb masala. Get a chocolate milkshake or smoothie with a strawberry scone (made using locally picked strawberries) for a light snack. Few restaurants in Cameron Highlands match Barrack’s al fresco garden in the fresh evening air.
Restaurant, Malaysian, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
Malaysia’s first organic steamboat restaurant in Brinchang uses only the highest quality organic vegetables from their farm. For RM22 ($5.40 USD) per head, customers have unlimited sides for a satisfying meal. Both pure vegetarian and non-vegetarian (pork or chicken-based) broths are available, catering to all dietary requirements. Cameron Organic is among the top restaurants in Cameron Highlands for health-conscious travellers and vegans.
Restaurant, Malaysian, $$$
Ferm Nyonya serves Nyonya-style (a blend of Malay and Chinese cooking techniques), Western dishes and steamboat. Set menus with accompanying Nyonya fried rice give travellers the chance to try this special type of cuisine, or have a steamboat with spicy tom yum soup and dine Malaysian-style. Expect mid-range prices, a convenient location in the heart of Tanah Rata and some of the highland’s most extensive selection of food. Culture Trip recommends Ferm Nyonya for families with older children or groups of friends.
Delicious & Happiness Chicken serves budget-friendly Chinese food. Apart from a selection of both fried rice and noodle dishes, customers can order buttermilk chicken, homemade tofu and claypot pork ribs. Vegetarian options are available too. Expect a filling meal for two, including drinks in a no-frills environment to come with change from RM30 ($7.30 USD). Ask the English-speaking staff to translate the menu and give recommendations. This is among the top restaurants in Cameron Highlands for backpackers on a shoestring.
Restaurant, Malaysian, Chinese, BBQ, $$$
This mid-range BBQ and steamboat restaurant near both Cactus Valley and Big Red Strawberry Farm is a hit with meat lovers. Expect giant plates of grilled meal (we recommend marinated pork ribs), seafood and vegetables in portions large enough to fill a family of four. The flavoursome steamboats over charcoal cook the endless sliced meat and seafood sides. Adventurous foodies can taste Malaysian speciality bak tuk teh (pork ribs in a thick broth). Culture Trip recommends Cactus View for mid-range families and groups.
Restaurant, Malaysian, Chinese, $$$
OK Tuck in Brinchang is among the more popular steamboat restaurants in Cameron Highlands. Customers can choose between ordering steamboat or al carte (think seafood, fried rice and stir fries). Steamboats served with vegetables, prawns and chicken catering to two or three people and cost RM50 ($12.20 USD). Set meals come as either small (one person), medium or large (two people) portions. Culture Trip recommends dining here with friends.
Restaurant, Dessert, $$$
Mr Aisu in Nova Cameron Square Mall ranks as the number one spot in Cameron Highlands for ice creams and desserts. More than 20 types of homemade ice cream sourced from locally produced ingredients fill their menu. Add in dozens of crunchy waffles, cakes and sorbets. Try the mouth-watering signature teh tarik ice cream (with sautéed banana drizzled with caramel cinnamon sauce). The soon-to-be-launched baked cheesecake ice cream promises to be a hit in late 2018 too.
Restaurant, Chinese, Malaysian, $$$
Family-run You Hoo is among the oldest restaurants in Cameron Highlands. The Chinese-style diner has served vacationing Malaysians for almost 30 years. Compared to its neighbours, their menu has an ever-growing list of delicious dishes. Try hotplate tofu and Indonesian curry fish or order a steamboat to warm up on chilly nights. Expect mid-range prices in an easy-to-reach location along the main road. Pro tip: Because of this restaurant’s popularity (especially on public holidays and weekends), we recommend calling and making a reservation.