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Dining in Kuala Lumpur

By Viator, April 2014

5 139 Reviews | Add your review

With its incredible mix of cultures and ethnic backgrounds, Kuala Lumpur has developed a diverse cuisine, with dishes influenced by Chinese, Indian and local Malay flavors and ingredients. Outside of Asia, most people probably aren’t familiar with Malaysian food, and a trip to the capital city is a great place to experience it firsthand.

In nearly any country you visit, you’ll probably find some of the tastiest and most authentic bites representative of a cuisine on the streets. In Kuala Lumpur, this equates to hawker centers. These giant food courts are where locals go for an inexpensive meal. If you really want to dine like a local, a guided hawker center and street food tour will ensure it, as a local guide will hand-pick a favorite neighborhood where you’ll get to sample some local dishes far from the tourist areas of the city.

You’ll find a little of everything in the hawker centers, but a majority of stalls will sell Malay and Peranakan dishes. Aromatic spices, like star anise, cardamom and clove complement coconut milk, ginger and fresh herbs in many typical Malay dishes, like nasi lemak -- a dish made from rice cooked in coconut milk and topped with meat, seafood, eggs, peanuts, vegetables and a dollop of fiery sambal sauce. Centuries of Chinese immigrants to Malaysia have given birth to Peranakan food, a fusion between Malay and Chinese flavors. One of the most recognizable Peranakan dishes is chili crab, popular in both Malaysia and Singapore.

To sample some of Kuala Lumpur’s ethnic offerings, take a stroll -- or a walking tour -- through its ethnic enclaves. In Brickfields, the aromas of curries and South Indian spices will get your tastebuds primed for a meal of traditional Tamil dishes plated on a banana leaf. In Chinatown, pass shops selling steaming bamboo dim sum trays filled with dumplings and buns and others pouring piping hot bowls of Chinese noodles.

Tours & Tickets

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Eat Like a Local: Kuala Lumpur Hawker Center and Street Food Tour by Night

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 47 Reviews

Get to know Malaysia in one of the most satisfying ways – on a food-tasting tour! With an enthusiastic guide, drop in to three or more hole-in-the-wall ...  Read more

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Duration: 3-4 hours

From USD $48.60
$54.00 Save $5.40

Private Tour: KL Tower Revolving Restaurant Buffet Dinner and Central Market Night Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 26 Reviews

Dine in style at the top of Asia's tallest tower, the KL Tower, during this private tour. Enjoy a sumptuous buffet dinner in the tower’s revolving restaurant ...  Read more

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $117.50

Small-Group Food Trail Walking Tour in Kuala Lumpur

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 66 Reviews

Sample a variety of Malaysian foods on a culinary walking tour of Kuala Lumpur! Eat lunch like a local as you explore hidden streets, alleyways and suburbs of ...  Read more

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Duration: 3-4 hours

From USD $44.00

Private Malaysian Cooking Class

Experience the diversity of Malaysian cuisine in a hands-on cooking class. Your private 5-hour lesson with an expert chef features dishes from a rich fusion of ...  Read more

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $154.66

Private Tour: Ipoh Old Town Food Tour from Kuala Lumpur

Explore the streets of Ipoh on a private culinary adventure and savor the best food the old town has to offer. Escape the bustle of Kuala Lumpur by train and ...  Read more

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Duration: 14 hours (approx.)

From USD $185.33

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