Another area in which Kuala Lumpur beats other major global cities is with its opportunities for enjoying delectable food. Foodies will think they have landed in heaven when confronted with the range of dishes, cuisines and eateries to choose from. Restaurants serving Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes abound and are complemented by a massive selection of Western-style fast food joints and restaurants serving cuisine from countries all over the world.
Food tours in Kuala Lumpur rarely pass over Kampung Baru. This centrally located district is like a throwback to the Malaysia of yesteryear and features timber houses, shops and restaurants many of which are raised on stilts. People taking a wander through the locale can snack on satay, fried tofu or meatballs on sticks, or sit down at an al fresco table and enjoy a plate of nasi campur rice topped with curry and vegetable or grilled fish with a spicy dip.
Kampung Baru vendors serve a nice assortment of cold drinks concocted from coconut, fruits and herbs. Iced tea is also available and so is the omnipotent Malay iced coffee. Kedai kopi translates to English as coffee shop and these are on every street corner in Kuala Lumpur. While kopi ais is invariably on the menu at these cheap and cheerful places so is the likes of mutton curry, nan bread, nasi lemak aromatic rice, noodle soup with meatballs and sandwiches.
Kedai mamak food stalls and restaurants are a Kuala Lumpur staple when it comes to eating. Their menus differ but typical dishes are mee goreng noodles, chicken soup (sup ayam), biriyani curry and rice, murtabak stuffed pancakes, noodle soups and the local equivalent of Thailand’s fiery tomyam soup. One kedai mamak restaurant might have an assortment of different stalls to offer the full Malaysian dining extravaganza.
Restaurants in Chinatown and Little India serve up specialties related to the ancestral homelands of their proprietors. Pai tee flour and vegetable dishes, stir-fried Hokkien mee noodles, wan tan mee noodles, steamed chicken, roast char siew (sweet pork) and deep-fried dumplings stuffed with shrimp, minced meat and mushrooms are a small selection of what is available.
Little India eateries have similar menus to kedai mamak establishments but with extras like vindaloo curries. Food courts in shopping centres offer the same menus but in an air-conditioned environment. Malls are where diners will find the optimum choice of international restaurants with Korean, Japanese and Middle Eastern cuisines among those to choose from. Nando’s peri-peri, McDonald’s, KFC and Baskin Robins are four of the numerous well-known chains with restaurants in Kuala Lumpur malls.