Eating and drinking in Kuala Lumpur is said to be the best way to explore the city. Indeed, what better way to discover the country rich in history and culture than to eat your way around and sample cuisines largely influenced by the past and the fusion of Indian, Thai, Chinese and Arab cultures.
Touring the country by the stomach doesn’t just mean gorging yourself on rich and flavorful Malaysian dishes but also learning more about it the palatable way. After all, although the food preparation varies from region to region, Malaysian foods all have the same staple ingredients that have been carried through from the past to the present day, with a taste that’s distinctly Malay.
Malay dishes are also known to have an ingredient called Belacan. These are small fermented shrimp preserved by salting and sun-drying and formed into little rectangular blocks. They are often found in many vegetable-based dishes, fish and seafood as well. It’s what gives their food that authentic, natural flavor characteristic of their many dishes and often what makes a typical Malay meal very appetizing.
For some, it may come as inconceivable that a people who love tasty dishes do not like drinking – at least for the majority of the population. Malaysians are not known to be lovers of beers and wines, and instead, they are most known for their kopi. Kopi is a black brewed coffee that has many varieties and way of drinking.
And because they don’t like drinking, it’s probably the reason why alcoholic drinks are rather expensive. So don’t be surprised if you are billed more than what you’ll expect for a glass of wine or a bottle of beer back home. But if you love eating, it probably won’t matter much because the food in the country more than makes up for it.
If you’re feeling quite up to sampling Malaysia’s cuisine and way of eating and drinking, a morning jaunt at some of the best coffee shops in the city (they are absolutely everywhere) is a good way to start your exploration. Coffee shops in Kuala Lumpur include The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, The Dome Café, Old Town White Coffee and many others. All of these serve their popular kopi. Kopi Cham is hot coffee with sugar and milk. Kopi O is black coffee with sugar, Kopi Kosong is real black coffee and Kopi Peng is iced coffee.
For lunch, dinner and beer drinking, check out the following restaurants serving delightful Malaysian cuisines and bars serving drinks.
- The Planters Jims in Jalan Telawi: specializes in Chinese take-outs.
- Bijan Bar And Restaurant in Changkat Bukit Bintang: serves authentic Malay dishes and sells beers.
- Baan 26 Restaurant in Changkat Bukit Bintang: serves authentic Thai dishes and sells beers.
You could also head on to Chinatown for quick, cheap and delicious Chinese food. At night, Chinatown comes to life not just with bargain products but also with their mouth-watering offerings. The Petaling Jaya during Mondays also has a night market where you’ll find a variety of Malaysian food stalls along the streets. Eating and dinking in Kuala Lumpur also come cheap in Mamak stalls or Tamil Muslim restaurants, throughout Petaling Jaya’s commercial area. There’s just plenty of ways to experience Malay dishes, and there’s no place like Kuala Lumpur to experience it.