Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures which consists of Malay, Chinese, Indian and people from other Asian countries. Because of the diversified ethnic groups, you will easily find different kinds of cuisines derived from the culinary traditions of the locals, early immigrants and descendants. Last time, I told you about my 3 days 2 nights experience on Pom Pom Island in East Malaysia. Today, I’d like to tell you about my mouth-watering food experience in Kuala Lumpur and Malacca in West Malaysia.
What I really enjoyed in Kuala Lumpur was the food street. Jalan Alor is one of the most popular food streets in Kuala Lumpur. It has a history of 100 years, and there are more than 100 food stalls and restaurants. During day time, most of them are not open but in the evening, the street gets very crowded and becomes so lively, which makes you forget about the time.
We walked around first and compared the menu and the price. Then we spotted a restaurant (Sin Kee) that had a lot of diners, so we agreed to try it out. I must say that I love coconut drink in Malaysia! It was so luscious and fresh. We ordered three dishes for our first meal: Spicy Clams, Grilled Manta-Ray smeared with sambal-based sauce, and Bak Kut Teh (pork ribs cooked in herbal broth, this dish is a national favourite in Malaysia and Singapore). As a person who is very fond of spicy food, these dishes were absolutely appetizing for me.
After dinner, we took a walk along the street and checked out some food stalls. You can find Dragon Fruit, Mango with Sticky Rice, Grilled Seafood, Char Kway Teow (stir-fried flat rice noodles), Dim Sum such as Siu Mai, Fried Wonton and many more. At that moment, I wish I could have an extra stomach to try them all. As tropical fruit lovers, the most satisfying thing on this trip was that we could enjoy tropical fruits every day.
Jalan Petaling is the China Town in Kuala Lumpur. There you can discover all sorts of Chinese cuisines from provinces in China such as Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan. We first checked out a restaurant called Nam Heong. It has a long history dating back to 1938 and is known for its Hainanese Chicken Rice. The poached chicken was perfectly sliced and drizzled with soy sauce and sesame oil. The chicken skin was very springy, and the meat was juicy and tender. Altogether with chilli sauce and seasoned oily rice makes you want even more. The old cucumber pork soup was another signature dish. This slowly simmered soup is very nutritional and nourishing and is said to have anti-ageing properties. Its cooling function can also help you prevent heatstroke in summer. We also had two cold drinks, Iced Lemon Tea and Soya Drink with Jelly. The lemon tea really reminded me of the iced lemon tea in Hong Kong.
We only ordered a quarter of the chicken so that we could save some stomach for other delicious food. Finishing off our lunch at Nam Heong, we straightly went to another nearby restaurant, Seng Kee. The restaurant is quite small and shabby, but don’t walk away because of this. You will soon be surprised by its flavourful Claypot Loh Shu Fun. It is literally translated into rat noodles because of the shape resembled rat tails. They are also called silver needle noodles.
Lastly, we checked out two food stalls that have been running for decades in Jalan Petaling, serving the best Air Mata Kucing and Soya Beancurd Jelly. The Air Mata Kucing is an iced herbal drink made from monk fruit, longan and winter melon. It is very thirst-quenching and refreshing. Similar to the soup mentioned earlier, this drink is also super healthy with cooling function to prevent heatstroke. The Soya Beancurd Jelly at Kims Soya Bean is another must-try dessert. This dessert has a silky texture and is infused in syrup which gives a hint of sweetness.
Tapak & Kilang Kitchen
We checked out two food courts, Tapak and Kilang Kitchen, when we were in Kuala Lumpur. Tapak is probably one of the most highly recommended urban street food dining hotspot that you can find on most of the travel guide. When we got there, it was packed with mostly locals and some tourists. It is stationed right in the city centre and just walking distance to the Petronas Towers. It was delightful to enjoy the view of the towers while having some cheap and tasty food.
Kilang Kitchen was a random place suggested by a taxi driver. It is not well known by tourists given it is located away from downtown, but it seems to be very popular among locals in the Wangsa Maju area. The atmosphere was relaxing, and they had live music there. The food they served was more or less the same as it was in Tapak. I liked the convenience of Tapak but also enjoyed the vibes in Kilang Kitchen. We tried Grilled Shrimps, Satay, Char Kway Teow, Nasi Lemak (coconut milk rice, one of the national dishes in Malaysia), Otak Otak (grilled fish cake in banana leaf), Teh Tarik (milk tea). Among all the delicacies, I love satay the most!
You do not want to miss out chicken rice balls if you are in Malacca. The chicken rice ball is an iconic staple food in Malacca, basically made by kneading the fragrant chicken rice into small balls. In the old days, the local people made it so that it was easier for the workers to carry when they went to work. Besides chicken rice balls, we also tasted Fried Frozen Durian Puff, White Cut Chicken, and more Satay…YUM!!
There are other representatives of Malaysian cuisines including Curry Mee (curry noodles), West Saury Fishballs with rice noodles, Laksa (spicy noodle soup with prawns, chicken or fish). Curry Mee and Laksa taste pretty similar despite the type of noodles used. Unlike other dishes, the West Saury Fishballs dish is mild and the fishballs are really bouncy.
A day without desserts is incomplete. Aside of the main dishes, we tried a selection of tempting desserts including Durian/Coconut Ice Pops, Imperial Durian Cake, Cendol (shaved ice topped with pandan jelly, coconut milk, kidney beans and palm sugar syrup). I know many people do not really like the distinctive smell of durian, but as the king of fruits in Malaysia, it is still worth trying.
Honestly, the food we had was only the tip of the iceberg. It was such an eye-opening experience to learn about Malaysia’s culture from a culinary perspective.
Till next time!