Hailed as a gastronomic melting pot, there is no denial that Malaysia is a food haven for both locals and tourists alike. Food in Malaysia transcends beyond the simple meal, encompassing both conversation and company; making eating an experience in itself. The simple act of sharing a meal symbolises harmonious unity.
Be it a pocket friendly date at a roadside ‘mamak’ to a dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant, there is something for everyone in this mix. Malaysia is a plethora of sizzling, spicy and aromatic cuisines, making it the best travel destination for food lovers.
You don’t have to break the bank to eat well. Malaysian food caters to every preference and even budget. We’ve broken a curated list of recommended stalls, shops and restaurants into 3 budget categories.
Budget Eats (RM15 and below)
- Village Park Nasi Lemak (RM9)
Dig into the pride and joy of Malaysian cuisine – a dish of aromatic coconut rice topped with spicy sambal, fried ikan bilis, peanuts, cucumber slices and a fried chicken drumstick.
Address: 5, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama, +603-7710 7860
- Sarawak Laksa at Aunt Christina’s Sarawak Laksa (RM7)
Sip on the tangy broth and slurp up rice noodle beautifully garnished and topped with shredded chicken, egg, prawn and beansprout.
Address: 2-4, Lorong Ara Kiri, Lucky Gardens Bangsar, +6016-315 3213
- Banana Leaf Rice at Devi’s Corner (RM8.50)
Enjoy a traditional Indian dish of rice, a variety of curries, vegetables, mango chutney, a basket of papadum and a cup of rasam served up on an actual banana leaf.
Address: 14, Jalan Telawi 4, Bangsar Baru, +6012-267 6714
- Gyudon at Yoshinoya (RM10 onwards)
Indulge in a delicious bowl of Yoshinoya’s signature beef bowl, juicy sliced beef and onion served atop steaming rice.
Address: Lot T-level 3, 15, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, +603-2287 1798
Mid-Range Restaurants (Below RM50)
- Coliseum Cafe
Established in 1921, Coliseum Café is a walk down memory lane for most locals in Kuala Lumpur. It stands as a testament to the fusion of Eastern and Western cuisines, presenting a unique Western Hainanese palate.
Address: 98, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, +603-2692 6270
- La Bodega
New to Spanish food? Familiarise yourself with a selection of Spanish tapas and savour the explosion of Mediterranean flavours. Seize the opportunity to stay through their happy hour.
Address: 1, Jalan Telawi, Bangsar Baru, +603-2287 9468
- My Elephant
Address: 22, Jalan PJU 1/43, Aman Suria, +603-7886 1451
- San Nae Deul
With a variety of barbeque meats to choose from and an abundance of refillable side dishes, San Nae Dul offers an all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet at an affordable price!
Address: G16 & G17, Heritage Lane, Empire Damansara, +6012-357 5865
Fret not, fans of fine dining. Malaysia is home to a slew of world-class fine dining restaurants, from hidden Indochinese culinary gem to a famous Italian restaurant, all are sure to satisfy refined tastebuds.
Fine Dining (RM50 and above)
- Tamarind Springs by Samadhi (price range RM180 – RM541)
Specializing in Indochinese cuisine, guests can feast upon their signature Strawberry shrimp, tastefully paired with onions and XO sauces while surrounded by lush greenery and a rustic Balinese setting.
Address: Jalan 1, Taman Tun Abdul Razak, +603-4256 9300
Nobu serves up traditional classic Japanese dishes combined with a Latin twist, transforming the landscape of contemporary Japanese cuisine on an international level. Their omakase is priced at RM380 per pax.
Address: Level 56, Menara 3 Petronas, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, +603-2164 5084
- Marble 8 (price range RM58 – RM780)
Marble 8 is a steak-lover’s dream, they boast the finest cuts of Wagyu and Angus beef in Malaysia. Marble 8 also features an in-house bar and they serve up a range of exotic cocktails. For more news on their menus and promotions, read more here
Address: Lorong Kuda, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +603-2386 6030
- Marini’s on 57 (price range RM108 – RM289)
Marini’s on 57 is not your average Italian restaurant, primarily due to its prestigious location on the 57th floor of the Twin Towers and its status as one of Kuala Lumpur’s best rooftop bars. Guests can enjoy a glittering view of KL’s skyline while polishing off contemporary Italian cuisine. Check out their New Year’s Eve event here.
Address: Level 57, Menara 3 Petronas, Persiaran KLCC, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +603-2386 6030
The endless varieties of cuisines found in Malaysia certainly bring an international mix of culture straight to the table and provide valuable insight to Asian food culture. However, if you don’t mind traveling to indulge in world cuisines, here are some ideas for best destinations.
If you happen to be travelling to Asia, why not check out this other article on traveling to China on a budget.