Malaysia is home to three different races so one can just imagine how diverse and rich their culture and traditions are, what more when it comes to their cuisine.
Our recent trip to Kuala Lumpur last year was such a pleasant surprise. We were amazed by the places we visited but more importantly, by the food that we got to sample during our short stay.
Endless varieties, explosive flavors, reasonable prices.
Unconsciously, majority of the food we tried in KL are noodles and so I decided to have this blog focus on the irresistible noodle dishes one can find in the city. Let’s eat!
Chili Pan Mee @ Restoran Kin Kin
Our first stop is Restoran Kin Kin which was only a couple of blocks away from our accommodation. This restaurant claims to have invented Chili Pan Mee, a bowl of thick springy noodles, toasted shallots, ikan bilis (dilis), some spring onions and topped with a poached egg. Mix all the ingredients together making sure that every noodle gets coated with the runny yolk and letting the dry ingredients stick to it.
The noodles resemble the texture and thickness of a spaghetti but a lot chewier. The egg yolk provides another layer of texture that contrasts the dryness and earthiness of the chili. I customized my bowl and added a few more teaspoons of chili to wake me up that morning. However, the dried chili actually didn’t make it super spicy but instead gave the dish more of that earthy and bitter flavor. A serving costs MYR 8.00. Chili Pan Mee was a good introduction to Malaysian cuisine and definitely set the bar high for this food trip.
The Verdict: 5.0 / 5.0
Address: 40 Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman, Kampung Baru, 50300, Kuala Lumpur
Operating Hours: 6:30 am – 6:30 pm
Curry Laksa @ Madras Lane
Next up, we went to Sri Mahamariamman, a famous Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur which is just beside Chinatown in Petaling Street. Right across the temple is Madras Lane lined up with humble stalls selling different kinds of Laksa. Much to our surprise, this is one of the best Laksa in the world making it to number 2 of Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist in 2018. We ordered a big bowl of Curry Laksa from the first stall on the left for only MYR 9.00.
The curry soup was very flavorful. It is mildly spicy and smooth which is perfect for the rainy weather when we were there. There was a little bit of sweetness from the coconut milk but the curry follows up with a kick towards the end. I like that there was so much going on in that bowl. A generous serving of noodles in thick curry along with chicken, tofu, mussels, pork skin and some vegetables.
I wasn’t really looking forward to coming here because I am not fond of curry but this bowl of Laksa made me a fan for sure. I also liked the authentic setup of the place. The big pots of curry and all of the ingredients are showcased in front for the customers to select which is very similar to the concept of “turo turo” and “carinderia” back in the Philippines. It was located in a hidden alley where most of the customers are locals who probably knew the place through word of mouth.
The Verdict: 5.0 / 5.0
Address: Jalan Bulan 1 Off Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur 50200
Operating Hours: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Hokkien Mee @ Restoran Kim Lian Kee
Our third stop is not very far from Madras Lane and can also be found in Chinatown. Restoran Kim Lian Kee prides itself for serving one of the best Hokkien Mee in Kuala Lumpur. Hokkien Mee is another noodle dish composed of egg noodles, some seafood like shrimp or squid, soy sauce and cabbage which are stir fried with pork fat in a wok. We ordered a medium platter for John and I to share for MYR 20.00.
The fragrant dark sauce that coats the entire dish is very appetizing and definitely made my mouth water. The thick noodles is just like the “Lomi” noodles that we have back home. They were just as salty too.
But honestly, I thought the saltiness of the noodles and not the flavor of the sauce dominated the dish. It had that nice smoky flavor though which I really liked. Other than that, I did not find this dish “life changing” considering that it is one of the more expensive ones we’ve ordered so far.
The Verdict: 3.0 / 5.0
Address: 49 Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur 50000
Operating Hours: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm
Char Kway Teow @ Bricksfield
Our final stop is a small food cart in Bricksfield, a very commercial extension of KL downtown. This stall with no name on the side of the road in front of massage parlors serves piping hot Char Kway Teow on the spot. The dining area is limited to just a few people with 2 tables set up near their stove where uncle would endlessly clank his wok as he stir fries the noodles.
Char Kway Teow is made of flat rice noodles, bean sprouts, assorted seafood, Chinese sausage and vegetables stir fried in high heat with soy sauce and chili. A medium plate costs MYR 8.00.
This is definitely one of my favorite noodle dishes of all time ever since I tried it 2 years ago in Singapore. Bricksfield’s Char Kway Teow is so much better though. It looks, smells and tastes like the real deal. You can smell the stir fry goodness from across the street. The colorful plate glistens as it was served on our table. The thick noodles hold a lot of the sweet and savory sauce making every bite flavorful. They were generous with the ingredients too so there’s always a shrimp, a squid or sausage to look forward to. There’s a nice zing at the end with every slurp. Life is good.
The Verdict: 5.0 / 5.0
Address: Jalan Padang Belia, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur 50470
Operating Hours: 12:00 nn – 9:00 pm
Mr. Chiam’s Pisang Goreng
For dessert, we didn’t go very far and checked out Mr. Chiam’s Pisang Goreng which is a stone throw away from the Char Kway Teow stall. “Pisang Goreng” literally means fried bananas. The closest counterpart of it in here would be “Maruya” I guess.
Mr. Chiam has become an institution in the KL street food scene operating for more than 30 years. He uses a banana variant called “Pisang Raja” which is a little bit longer and softer than “Saba”, the type of banana that we are more familiar with.
The natural sweetness of the bananas shine through and it’s really good. Come here early as they sell out pretty quickly. The first time we came here, Uncle was already closing the stall at around 3:00 pm. Each “Pisang Goreng” costs MYR 1.40.
That’s 5 of the many dishes that we tried during our short visit in Kuala Lumpur and this is just the noodle stuff. I just said earlier that Char Kway Teow is my favorite but I have to give this one to the Curry Laksa @ Madras Lane as it blew me away. This just proves that the only way to find out if you like it or not is to just go for it and give it a try. I would love to visit Malaysia once again and do another food trip maybe in Penang which is considered one of the street food capitals of the world.
We made a Kuala Lumpur Food Trip video on our YouTube channel, The Daily Phil to better show you what our Malaysian food experience was really like.
This is The Daily Phil, conquering the world, one country at a time, using a Filipino passport.
Until next time, Travel Now, Bills Later!