Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia located a 5 hour drive north of Singapore, has a population comprised of several cultures – all with amazing food – including Indians, Chinese, and Malays. As a result of the varied population, the food in Kuala Lumpur is excellent and, for whatever reason, much of it is casual and really cheap, making for a great vacation destination in my opinion. Before visiting Kuala Lumpur on our honeymoon, we booked a food tour with TK from Withlocals and it was one of our favorite food tours on the trip (we took 3…).
We visited KL right before Chinese New Year, probably the biggest holiday in Kuala Lumpur, and since it Chinese New Year was right around the corner, so many people were out celebrating and there were a lot of Chense New Year decorations! Despite all the craziness, we managed to find our tour guide, TK, pretty easily in Bikut Bintang – one of the most modern, busy, and populated areas of Kuala Lumpur (it reminded me of Times Square, but in the best way possible!).
Off and running, our first stop was just a few steps away at Gui Fei Meat, a Chinese specialty.! At Gui Fei Meat, we ate a type of pork “bacon,” for lack of a better word, that looked and tasted a lot like softly candied bacon with sweet soy and chili sauce. The “bacon” bit chewy but tasted really good. Accordingly to TK, this type of food is very popular around Chinese New Year.
Our next stop was just around the corner from Gui Fei Meat at a small stand where we (or rather, TK) ordered a Siu Pao! Siu Pao is a Malaysian snack filled with pork meat – kind of like a closed bao bun. The meat is served in a dumpling that is then baked in the oven. Dan and I split one since we had a long tour ahead of us. The Siu Pao was very tasty, but also very filling. Definitely a good idea to split one between the two of us! I would absolutely order this again for a quick lunch.
We next moved on to Kuala Lumpur’s most famous foodie street – Jalan Alor. Jalan Alor is right in Bikut Bintang and is packed with tons of tasty street food stands and sit down restaurants. Its really a must-see for any even remote foodie visiting Kuala Lumpur.
As soon as we started down Jalan Alor, we had a surprise and unincluded stop – the infamous Durian fruit! If you have never heard of Durian fruit, Durian fruit is rumored to have strong love/hate crowds, with hate being the popular group for those who do not grow up eating Durian. In any case, I was super excited and totally terrified! TK asked if we wanted to try Durian fruit and really, how could we say no? For a little more background, Durian fruit is a pretty common fruit in Southeast Asia that people (as mentioned), locals and foreign, have very strong opinions about – you love Durian fruit or you hate it. Its rumoured to smell kind of like a dirty diaper and the texture is soft and mushy…you get the picture. You will see signs all over hotels in Asia stating “no Durian fruit in the rooms…” In any case, we said yes, and TK gave us plastic gloves so that our hands wouldn’t smell like Durian fruit… A ringing endorsement.
Lucky (and a bit surprising) for us, we both liked Durian fruit (despite fully expecting to spit it out upon trying it). The texture was not too bad and I found it to taste a slit bit sweet. I also did not find it to have too strong of a smell. However, TK told us that Durian varies widely depending on the ripeness of the fruit and we had a particularly ripe fruit. In any case, I would have it again. Great success!
Moving on from the Durian fruit, we strolled further down Jalan Alor, past some really delicious look food and finally stopped at the most colorful and delicious dumpling stall called Fat Man Dim Sum.
At Fat Man Dim Sum, we tried five dumplings with some sauces, including pork, chicken, crab, a sweet purple dumpling, and two others that I cannot recall… The dumplings were very filling but also verrrry delicious! I think my favorite was the pork or the sweet dumpling. This was definitely my favorite stop of the entire trip – a must-do for foodies in Kuala Lumpur.
Our next stop was the “Mickey Mouse restaurant on Jalan Alor,” i.e. the restaurant with a sign that seemingly rips off Disney… It is called Wong Ah Wah Restaurant and is known for its chicken wings. Unlike the other places that we had stopped on this tour, Wong Ah Wah Restaurant is actually a sit down restaurant and it was packed when we arrived. Here, we sat with one of TK’s tour guide friends (also, a huge foodie), which was very fun. We ordered the famous chicken wings, some pork cooked in Marmite (of Australian fame) and chicken satay. Everything at the restaurant was really delicious, and the marmite pork was my personal favorite – very, very spicy!
After Wong Ah Wah Restaurant, we left Jalan Alor and stopped by our last restuarnt, Restoran Sri Paandi, for a bit of Indian food – my favorite! Here, we split a dessert type of dosa, which is kind of like a crispy crepe. This particular one was filled with a light, sweet butter, but they can be filled with lots of things, from savor to sweet. We also split a “lover’s tea, ” since it was our honeymoon, but it was really just tea. In any case, we ended up taking the tea to go in the cutest plastic to-go bag! Ah, KL! SO FREAKING CUTE.
STEAL OUR TRIP
Withlocals: We took the Discover the Best Local Food Spots @Night tour with tour guide TK. The cost was 24 euro/person and it included everything except the surprise durian stop. Totally worth the money and an excellent food tour! TK was also fabulous and highly recommended!!
Jalan Alor: Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Bring cash for street vendors.
Fat Man Dim Sum: 84, Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Bring cash.
Wong Ah Wah Restaurant: 16, Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. No reservations.
Restoran Sri Paandi: 39, Jalan Dato Mahmud 11/4, Seksyen 11, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Open daily 6 AM – 11 PM. No reservations.
ON A BUDGET
We really enjoyed this tour and it definitely eased us into the street food culture of Kuala Lumpur. However, if you are on a tight budget, just walk down Jalan Alor in Bikit Bintang and try whatever suits your taste. All of the street food is pretty inexpensive. Bring cash.