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Ultimate Tourist Guide - Hawker in KL

Ultimate Tourist Guide - Hawker in KL

KL truly is a foodie's paradise. There is no better way to understand our melting pot of races and cultures than through our unique, delicious food. This is THE guide to use when friends or family visit KL (or, you can send this to them), a cheat sheet of 12 must-tries including traditional kopitiam fare, late-night Hokkien mee, streetside burgers and more!
Burpple Guides
Burpple Guides

A foodie trip to Malaysia isn't complete until you've eaten its national dish, nasi lemak. Locals eat this dish of coconut milk rice and spicy sambal at any time of the day, and you'll find many versions wherever you go. You'll find the most customary version at Village Park restaurant in Damansara Uptown. Although it buzzes with a crowd from as early as 6.30am, the service is efficient and your patience will be rewarded. Dig into the signature Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng (RM10.40) – think fluffy coconut rice, juicy golden fried chicken, sweet-and-spicy sambal, crunchy peanuts and ikan bilis. Make space for other delicious sides like the Sambal Sotong (RM3) which spice lovers will enjoy.
Photo by Burppler Justin Teo

If you've somehow only got time for ONE place to eat at when you're in town, journey to this food hall in Lot 10 along Bukit Bintang. You'll be able to check many dishes off your eat-list here, from stellar Penang Duck Egg Char Kuey Teow (RM12.50) to Kim Lian Kee's signature Hokkien Mee (RM14.20) and Wanton Mee with Char Siew (from RM11.50). To share, go for the BBQ Combo (from RM28) – a platter of roasted duck and pork which Burppler Jaden Loh enjoyed both for its crunchy skin and savoury meat. Seafood lovers, look out for the Fried Crab Meehoon in Yam Gravy (from RM20) that sees fresh crab atop a mountain of springy mee hoon in a sweet yet light sauce.
Photo by Burppler Celest Lim

Yut Kee has been around for almost 90 years (it is one of the oldest coffee shops in KL city) and you will still find them doling out consistently good Hainanese grub and local coffee. Crowds swarm in at 7.30am, so be sure to come early, give them your name and wait your turn. Once seated, order the signature Hainanese Chicken Chop (RM10.50) that sees a piece of breaded chicken drenched in a savoury-sweet brown sauce, served alongside potatoes, peas and carrots. Another must-try is the Kaya Butter Toast and Half Boiled Egg (from RM3), fluffy bread toasted and slathered with housemade kaya. Seal the hearty meal with a cup of local Kopi (RM2). Pro tip: Take away slices of the housemade Marble Cake (RM1.30) or Kaya Swiss Rolls (RM1.10) to munch on!
Photo by Burppler irene ho

After a shopping spree at Central Market, take a short stroll to this decades-old coffee shop for a hearty local feast. You'll find a variety of stalls serving hawker fare including chicken rice and wantan mee, but we highly recommend ordering the Lala Noodles (RM11). Each bowl is cooked to-order, so be prepared for a long wait. Once your bowl lands in front of you, dig in immediately! Expect bee hoon soaked in a flavourful Chinese wine-laced broth, and lots of fresh clams. Also have the Beef Noodles (RM10) that feature a generous portion of tender beef slices and a variety of innards. Pro tip: The dining area is small. Ask to share tables instead of waiting for an empty one to get seated faster!

Come to Jalan Alor to experience dining in bustling streetside restaurants. Here, you'll find Cantonese-style dishes to share, satay (grilled meat on skewers) and even the infamous durian fruit. Look out for Wong Ah Wah — you're here for their succulent BBQ Chicken Wings (from RM3.30 a pair). This restaurant has been around for decades, churning out consistently grilled-to-perfection wings that are lightly charred yet juicy as ever. While the wings will satisfy, make it a complete meal with Roasted Pork Noodles (from RM15), sweet-spicy Kam Heong Lala (from RM10) and Salted Egg Squid (from RM20) to share. P.S. They're open till 4am, so bookmark this spot for late-night suppers!
Photo by Burppler Julius Lim

Start your day early by following the locals to ICC Pudu, an indoor wet market that's home to many food vendors serving a variety of local grub. The market is on the basement level, but you'll want to head upstairs to the ground floor for the food – don't be alarmed by the astounding selection! Upon entering, you'll spot Ah Weng Koh's Signature Hainan Tea. Note that you are only allowed to order their drinks if you sit within their premises. Have a smooth and foamy cup of Signature Hainan Tea (RM2.50), which pairs perfectly with the Signature Kaya Butter Toast (RM2.50). Once you're done, look out for Ann's Nasi Lemak for an interesting take on the national dish – Pork Skin Nasi Lemak (RM9.50). For something to munch along the way, grab an order of Sisters Crispy Popiah (RM3).
Photo by Burppler Ethel Tan

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An ultimate Malaysian eating experience involves banana leaf rice – a South Indian method of serving rice, curry and assorted vegetables on a banana leaf. Ask around for the best places for banana leaf rice and locals will direct you to this popular spot in Bangsar. Once you get in line, order the Vegetable Meal Set (RM9.50) that features fluffy rice served alongside three vegetables including the popular bitter gourd fritters – ask for more! Choose from fish, chicken and dhal curries to douse your rice in for the finishing touch. To amp up your meal, we suggest adding proteins like the Fried Chicken (RM7) and Fried Sotong (RM10) that's great for sharing. P.S. The best way to dig in is by using your hands! Another quintessential Malaysian dish to try is the Maggi Goreng (RM6), a fried instant noodle dish with spices and vegetables.
Photo by Burppler Farah Dy

After a hectic day of exploring the city, appease your growling tummy with a hearty bowl of noodles. For quick service and city's favourite beef noodles, look to stalwart Soong Kee along Jalan Tun H S Lee that has been running since 1947. Have their prized Beef Ball Noodles (RM7), where springy egg noodles are topped with savoury minced meat gravy and served with bouncy beef balls in a flavourful broth. Also good is the Tripe Noodle (RM7) that features melt-in-your-mouth beef slices and tender beef innards. If you simply cannot get enough of their delicious beef balls, order an extra portion (from RM8). Pro tip: Dip the meat in their house-blend chilli sauce for a spicy kick.

Not to be confused with Singapore and Penang's version, KL's Hokkien mee is all about the fat noodles doused in thick and savoury dark sauce, charcoal-fried with enough heat to get that distinct wok-hei flavour and garnished with crispy pork lard. Coined as the birthplace of Hokkien mee in KL, Kim Lian Kee has been dishing up plates of this mouth-watering dish for close to a decade. Spot them along bustling Petaling Street painted in bright red. Kim Lian Kee offers a variety of "tai chow" dishes (Cantonese-style dishes to share), but the crowd-favourite is undoubtedly the Hokkien Mee (from RM10). If that's not enough, also order the Yang Zhou Fried Rice (Chinese-style fried rice, from RM10) or the Claypot Loh Shu Fan (Stir-fried silver needle noodles, from RM11). Pro tip: Devour your noodles with a dollop of the spicy sambal.

Malaysia's heat is no joke, and on sweltering days, locals turn to icy desserts to beat the heat. Order a bowl of Ice Kacang (RM5) and expect a mound of shaved ice dressed in evaporated milk and fragrant gula Melaka (coconut palm sugar) served alongside delicious fillings of corn, red beans, roasted peanuts, black grass jelly and cendol (green grass jelly). Although you can easily find this dessert in most hawker centres, this cosy spot in Happy Mansion is a local favourite. You can also order the Cendol (RM5.50) which sees the same ingredients but doused in santan (coconut milk) instead, and topped with a dollop of red beans. If you're feeling peckish, they offer savoury snacks such as mini bowls of Assam Laksa (a spicy-sour fish noodle soup), meat buns and more.
Photo by Burppler Blueskies Cottonclouds

For a classic streetside supper option, you won't go wrong with a Ramly Burger. These sinful burgers sport a signature layer of egg that wraps around a grilled patty and is drenched in mayo, Worcestershire and chilli sauce to create a flavour bomb (and a mess on your hands) you won't forget. Fun fact: These burger patties were originally created as a halal Western option for Muslims! You can find vans or stalls selling these all over town, but Uptown's famed Brader John is worth a visit – just be prepared to queue for up to an hour. Order the Master (from RM11.50) that comes with two patties (choose from beef, chicken, lamb, fish or prawn) and two slices of cheese. Alternatively, the Double Special Cheese (from RM10) will also satisfy!
Photo by Burppler Reyshma Selva

Kopitiam, translated as 'coffee shop', is where Malaysians seek comfort in simple offerings that often includes toasts, eggs and coffee. Yet among the myriads of kopitiams in KL, Thong Kee stands out as they serve unconventional toasts and breads – you don't usually see homemade croissants on the menu! Join the locals as they swing by for breakfast which revolves around their specialty Croissant with Kaya and Butter (RM5.90) which Burppler Kimberly Ong thoroughly enjoyed for its crispiness. On savouries, fill your tummy up with the Ham, Egg and Cheese Croissant (RM7.90). Croissants aside, there are also options like the Hainan Toast with Butter and Kaya (RM1.90) for a more local experience. Pair your bread with the 1+1 (RM2.50), a luscious mixture of coffee and tea.
Photo by Burppler Tan Elaine

The top picks, popular finds and newly opened places in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, curated by Burpple editors!

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