Food Lover's Guide to Kuala Lumpur

The multi-ethnic population of Malaysia is reflected in the culinary scene of Kuala Lumpur, where Malay, Chinese, and Indian techniques and ingredients combine to form delicious dishes worthy of any foodie's bucket list. Here are a few dishes and activities you won't want to miss.

Must-Try Dishes
Like neighboring Singapore, Kuala Lumpur loves its street food and food courts, where you'll find some of the city's tastiest dishes. Nasi lemak, Malaysia's national dish, is a heaping plate of coconut-infused steamed rice topped with fried chicken, fried anchovies, peanuts, fresh cucumber, and fiery sambal. Aromatic spices like star anise, cardamom and clove complement coconut milk, ginger, and fresh herbs in many typical Malay dishes.

Lovers of spice should definitely try curry laksa, a noodle soup made with a coconut curry broth and chicken. Roadside stalls throughout the city sell roti canai, an Indian-style bread often dipped in dal, sambal, or mutton curry. There's also Peranakan food, a fusion of Malay and Chinese flavors birthed by centuries of Chinese immigrants in Malaysia. One of the most recognizable Peranakan dishes is chili crab, popular in both Malaysia and Singapore.

Must-Do Experiences
  • Sample Kuala Lumpur's breadth of flavors on a walking tour through its ethnic enclaves such as Chinatown or the Chow Kit district and its wet market
  • Tour the city's massive, open-air hawker centers to eat Malay and Peranakan dishes like a local
  • Learn all the tricks of the trade in a private Malaysian cooking class
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