Must-Try Food in Malaysia | Halal

You can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the street. That's how diverse the food on the street is. And, a full meal is obtainable at a price as low as 5 RM. When we talk about "Malaysian food," we are talking about half a dozen things at once. Malay, Chinese, Indian—there are so many culinary traditions mingling in this country that it's impossible to detangle them out of each other. My trip to Malaysia was last minute. So, I did not have much time to read or learn a lot about Malaysia. I decided I would ask my audience on what to do and their recommendations. I was hoping for a lot of activities. However, most of them gave me food recommendations. I don't travel to eat. I travel to learn. But, from all the feedback I got from everyone, eating was a big player in my travel experience to Malaysia.

By Restaurants

Satays from Sate Kajang in Kajang ( Recommendation by Maimoona & Nina )

Maimoona ( A friend's sister) recommended this place to me, and I was unsure whether I would be able to make it as it was in another town. However, to meet Nina - a friend I made on Instagram through a Laksa post 2 years back got in touch with me, and we decided to go to Sate Kajang.

Restoran Sate Kajang Haji Samuri has won the hearts of many – besides the chunky pieces of juicy meat, the accompanying peanut sauce is simply out of this world. The secret of the delicious satay at this restaurant is that the meat is marinated so well that it simply bursts with flavors. You can choose between three types of meats: chicken, beef, and rabbit is available

Loved the satays - the beef more than the chicken for me. Both were absolutely delicious. But, the beef was a clear winner for me. The peanut sauce was amazing. I cannot recommend it enough if any of you are making it to Malaysia. DO NOT MISS IT AT ANY COST!

They have so many branches around Malaysia, so keep watching for it, and don't miss it.

A post shared by Qatar Travel+LifeStyle (@creativitywithkay) on Mar 26, 2018 at 10:12am PDT

Four Fingers ( Recommended by Maimoona)

I absolutely loved their version of Korean Fried Chicken and can easily fly back to Malaysia for just this. That's how good it is! Or can someone please bring it to Doha already?

Madam Kwan

We went to this cafe on the recommendation of a Malaysian Instagrammer. What was interesting was that when I covered it on my insta-story, a lot of people messaged me saying that this was a favorite of theirs. I did have a good meal there though!


Mamanda  at TPC

Mamanda was one of the finer restaurants we dined at when in KL. The Nasi Ambeng there is an exceptional dish and one worth a try.

N A S I A M B E N G 🇲🇾 This was our last proper meal in Malaysia before we left for Doha. It was quite memorable and we learnt a lot during our short time together. Nasi Ambeng is a traditional #javanese dish which used to be served during Malay weddings. It is a dish with fragrant rice surrounded with dishes such as chicken/beef rendang, vegetables, sambal, and many more. It is a communal dish and is traditionally eaten with hands. The special meaning behind enjoying Nasi Ambeng is that you get to bond. SWIPE LEFT to see how the dish was served at our table. . . My food exprience in is now up on my blog. Link in bio @creativitywithkay . . Thank you @dnalatt for your hospitality and hope to see you again very soon. Insha Allah . . . . . . . . . #visitmalaysia #malaysiatrulyasia #malaysiancuisine #visitmalaysia2020 #kualalumpur #malaysianbloggers #dohabloggers #qatarbloggers #untoldstories #eeeeeats #bbcgoodfood #f52grams #onthetable #flatlayforever #goingplacestogether #onthetableproject #foodgasm #traveltoeat #visitKL #travelKL #cs_onthetable #nasiambeng #malaywedding #creativitywithkay #lunchbreak #mamandakl

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By Dishes

Mee Goreng Mamak

Stir-fried noodles, which take many forms. You'll often see yellow noodles quickly wok'd up with soy, garlic, shallots, and chilies; along with them might be shrimp or chicken, beef or vegetables. A bit of chili tossed in for an irresistible jolt. Not too complicated, right? You can try to make this one at home, but it's just not going to taste the way it did when you chowed down at that gritty Malaysian hawker stall.


Laksa - Malaysia's beloved noodle soup. We had Laksas from many places. I had never heard of Laksa until 2 years back when I was at an Iftar in the Ritz Carlton. Whilst I was there in Malaysia, I realized it was not just Laksa. It was 'something Laksa' all the time. There are endless varations of laksa,  but there are two main categories: asam laksa and curry laksa.

Asam laksa

 The Asam Laksa has a tart tamarind-based broth and is generally cooked with a flaky white fish; noodles on the bottom, cucumber and pineapple and the bitter torch ginger flower to top. It's a little diferent everywhere you try it from.

Curry laksa  (Nyonya Laksa)

The richer member of the laksa family, because of the addition of coconut.  The paste of turmeric, ginger, lemongrass, chilies imparts flavor to the coconut milk broth. The word coconut always brings me at a stand still, and mostly turns out to be a winner for me.

Nasi Lemak

Some call Nasi Lemak Malaysia's unofficial national dish. Everyone else calls it delicious. Originally served as a breakfast dish, nasi lemak is now served at any time of the day, with endless regional variations.

Nasi Lemak is a must! The name itself ” rice in cream” is derived from the cooking process where regular white rice is literally soaked in coconut cream and then steamed to give a gorgeous, aroma of coconut-perfumed white rice that is then wrapped in banana leaf or served on a plate and eaten with the other side dishes. Sometimes a knotted pandan leaf, or ginger or a stalk of lemongrass is thrown it to make the rice all the more fragrant.

The Malaysian nasi lemak consists of a hot spicy sauce (sambal), hard boiled egg, cucumber slices, small dried anchovies  and roasted peanuts at its core and to this you may add sambal cuttlefish, fried chicken, pickled vegetables (achar) or beef rendang (beef stewed in coconut milk and spices).

While considered classic comfort food, it's a showcase of flavors and textures, from the delicate coconut to the brash belacan, the tender bite of rice and the salty crunch of anchovies. The simplest elements really matter here: rice that's suffused with the flavor of coconut milk and sometimes further fragranced with pandan; sambal that's bright-tasting and spicy but balanced. It's often eaten as a breakfast food, but can be a snack at any time of the day, and to bulk it up, it might be served with a seafood or chicken curry, or vegetables, or beef rendang.

Teh Tarik

Teh tarik — pulled tea — is mostly available at Indian cafés, especially ones that sell roti canai. It’s basic black tea in a bag with a bunch of condensed milk in it, but the “pulling” makes it special: the tea man will pour it back and forth between two metal cups, ostensibly to cool it, usually from some impressive distance, which also makes it frothy on top.

Roti Canai

A classic Malaysian breakfast of Indian derivation, though this flaky finger food is good any time of day. A dough of flour, egg, and ghee (clarified butter) is incredibly, almost unbelievably elastic though some will toss condensed milk in to sweeten it up; it's stretched quickly into a tissue-thin sheet, like pizza dough but even more dramatic, then folded back up and griddled. In its best form, right off the griddle, it's flaky and crisp like a good croissant on the outside, soft and steaming and a little bit chewy on the inside. You can eat this one as a snack on its own or use it to scoop up a side of curry.

Cafe Drinks: Nescafe and Milo

If you're sitting in a kopi tiam, someone will come to you and ask what you’d like to drink. Most drinks will have condensed milk in them, because that’s how it is here. If you want caffeine, your best bet is Nescafé or Nescafé ice , which is coffee sort of  super-sweetened with condensed milk. Milo or Milo ice  sweetened with condensed milk is also one of their go-to drinks

Rendang Beef, Chicken

A slow-cooked dry curry deeply spiced with ginger and turmeric, kaffir lime and chilis. (You'll find chicken, vegetable, and seafood rendang as well.) In Malaysian fashion, it fuses sweet, sour, and savory elements, the curry picking up a creamy richness from two forms of coconut and an elusive tang from asam keping, slices of a sour sun-dried fruit.

Wonton Noodle - Dry or Wet, Good Either Way

 Like many of the dishes in this list, wonton noodles lend themselves to endless variation. The "dry" version uses cooked noodles tossed in dark soy sauce with lard and shallots. The "wet" version is drowned in a chicken stock. But it doesn't end there.

Chicken curry

A whole genre, rather than a distinct dish, you'll find curries of all sorts on Malaysian tables, a bowl of rice usually not far away. Malaysian versions tend to start with a rempah, a complex paste of spices and aromatics that's cooked together and forms the base of the curry; like so many of the country's dishes, they tend to make use of coconut milk, too.


Malaysians will proudly declare that they have the best satay. but you'll see satay all over the place in Malaysia, towering piles of skewers in hawker stalls that are tossed on the grill once you order.


Rolls of shredded turnip, jicama, and other crisp veggies, along with perhaps peanuts or egg or tofu, all wrapped in a thin, pliant wheat crepe.

Hainanese chicken rice

Like many of Malaysia's signature dishes, it originated somewhere else (Hainan, natch) but adapted to suit local taste. It's chicken boiled in stock and served cool alongside rice (which has also been cooked in chicken stock) and dipping sauce.

Nasi goreng

Rice stir-fried with chilis and garlic and sweet soy; like mee goreng, it might have chicken or shrimp for a little more substance.

Yet to try

  • Secret Recipe - Cappuccino Cheesecake and other Desserts

  • Old Town - Nasi Lemak and Chicken Rendang

  • Mee Tarik Warisan - Chinese Hand Pulled Noodles ( Dry Spice Beef)

  • Dolly Dimsum ( Chinese Food)

  • Nobu KL

  • Little Penang Cafe at Suria KLCC Mall

  • Sushi Zanmai at Avenu K Mall

  • Merchant Lane in China Town

Notes to Remember

  • Make sure you pay attention to the entrance of the restaurants. Most times they will have indicators to show whether the restaurant is a Halal or Non Halal place. If you don't find them feel free to ask them. The people are very friendly and always willing to help out.

  • Make note of the fact that most places close by 9:30 pm or so. Get your dinner early especially if you are in malls.

  • Most places have hand wash area in the restaurant. Make sure to look around for it before you head out off the restaurant in search of a WC.