I don’t claim that this is a definitive guide to food in KL, or anything close to that. Instead it is just a list of the places that we ate and whether they’re tasty, and what we ate.
Restoran SS2 Murni
Before we headed to Malaysia, we met up with a couple Malaysian girls who go to Inha University, Bilqis and Shermaine (I met Bilqis through a CouchSurfing friend. Yay for CouchSurfing!). They were kind enough to make us an amazing and comprehensive list of things and places to eat in KL, Melaka, and Penang (Bilqis is from Penang; Shermaine is from Melaka). Bilqis recommended a couple of specific places, and one of them was SS2 Murni. We were very lucky in that when we got to KL, we were able to meet up with someone who lives there. Soraya took us around our first evening – she drove us to SS2 Murni and then around the city! It was very excellent to have a local perspective as well as be able to go non-walking-friendly places.
SS2 Murni is a well-known and very popular Mamak (Tamil Muslim) restaurant in Petaling Jaya, just west of KL. It was pretty crowded when we went at around 7 pm and apparently only gets more so as the night goes on. We got all the dishes recommended to us, which are some of the more popular ones. Roti Hawaii is like a murtabak (Indian pancake stuffed with stuff) but covered in mayonnaise. We got ours with beef and it was really nice. Mee Raja or King’s Noodles is a big (really big) plate of dry fried noodles with chicken and veggies, and it’s tasty. Loh Shu Fun, or Rat’s Tail Noodles, is fat noodles, ground meat, and some seafood served in a clay pot. It was my least favorite thing there. To drink I got the Ribena Special with was a blended juice drink. Overall the place was really good and rather cheap. However, it’s not easy to get to without a car. You can probably get a cab from Taman Bahagia LRT station. The address is 53 Jalan SS 2/75, 47300 Petaling Jaya.
Jalan Alor is a bustling street full of hawker stalls in Bukit Bintang. These are mostly Chinese places. I’m not sure of the name of the stall we ate from, but you should probably just pick one that looks good to you. We got lemon chicken, char kway teow, and some satay. The lemon chicken was fried and lemony and very greasy. Char kway teow is stir-fried flat rice noodles with lots of stuff in it and is quite tasty. Finally satay is some meat on a stick (in this case, chicken) which tastes delicious. Jalan Alor is a great place to grab a bite to eat. It’s an easy walk from Bukit Bintang Monorail Station.
Madam Kwan’s was the other restaurant in KL that our friend Bilqis recommended by name. We decided to head over and try out the Nasi Lemak (a dish with coconut rice, peanuts, small fish, and sambal, a spicy sauce; it also often includes fried chicken or chicken curry). We also got the Beef Rendang (beef stewed in coconut milk and spices). The food came out super fast. The Nasi Lemak came with Acar or pickled vegetables. It was quite good. The beef rendang, though, was amazing. Jeff thinks it would be great to substitute in something like a pulled pork sandwich; I agree. Madam Kwan’s was easily the best nasi lemak I ate on the trip. And it’s not terribly expensive either – despite being a little fancier than a hawker stall it was still only about $5 each. However there was one major problem we had there. The service was terrible. Sure, the food came out right away. But they didn’t bring the water we ordered. So we waved someone over, asked for water. Ten minutes pass – nothing. This happened about 5 times. The same thing happened with the bill. No one around us seemed to have the same problem though. I don’t know what was going on. If you want to go to Madam Kwan’s, it’s on the top floor of Suria KLCC mall right above the KLCC light rail station (and next to the Petronas Towers).
Uptown Hawkers, Damansara Utama
Uptown Hawkers is a Hawker Center in Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya. What’s a Hawker Center, you ask? It’s a group of more permanent/nicer-looking hawker stalls where you get a table first and then order and tell them where you’re sitting. There are lots of stalls, the most popular of which was a Chinese place from which we got the tofu dish pictured above. Our friend Soraya drove us there on our second night in KL. I got nasi goreng (fried rice) and orange juice. It was pretty good, but I wasn’t amazed by anything. It’s also quite far from any public transportation, and I would recommend sticking to easier-to-get-to hawker places if you don’t have a car.
Petaling Street Eateries
The four nights we stayed in KL (on three separate occasions) were all spent in Chinatown, close to Pasar Seni LRT station. Right in Chinatown you can find Petaling Street, a long row of stalls mostly selling touristy souvenirs and knockoff handbags, shoes, and watches. At the end of the street there’s a smaller street full of places to eat, including a food court. During our second time in KL, we walked over there and picked a place. I definitely took a picture of the name of it but seem to have deleted it (it was blurry) without writing down the name (bad blogger). Anyway, I got chicken curry noodles and an orange soda. I really enjoyed the noodles, they were flavorful and quite spicy. Jeff’s frog porridge, however, was not that good. This street of eateries is not a bad choice for food in KL’s Chinatown.
On our last night in Malaysia, we decided to go to a fancy restaurant. We had found a Time Out KL magazine with 2011′s best restaurants and looked into them. Fancy dining in KL is really affordable by Western standards. So we decided, why not, let’s go to a really nice Italian place. We chose Sassorosso which was one of the runner-ups for Best Italian (the location was good and price range was not out of our budget). We went with our friend Soraya. I got a Gorgonzola Pizza which also had arugula and truffle oil on it, Jeff got pesto, and Soraya got duck ravioli. I was able to try a little of everything and I have to say it was quite good! My pizza was so delicious. We also got dessert – I got mango and lemon sorbet which was good but not amazing. For about $20 a person, it seemed like a bargain (though not a bargain for Malaysia!). If you have a little extra padding in your budget and you like fine dining, I’d give somewhere in KL a try, as your money stretches further than it would in the US or other places! Sassorosso is at 9 Lorong Yap Kwan Seng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, about a ten minute walk from KLCC LRT station.
This is just an idea of the variety available in the KL food scene. If you’re looking for places to eat in KL, I would highly recommend checking out the blog Cumi & Ciki.
Got anywhere to suggest in KL?