Earlier, I shared an article about the food and snacks that my husband and I enjoyed in Singapore. We are passionate about exploring new cuisine and locations, particularly when we have the chance to do so in a foreign country.
After a delightful five-day, four-night stay in Singapore, we extended our journey to Malaysia for an additional four days and three nights. With this article, we aim to share our travel and food experiences from our time there, hoping it might serve as a handy guide for others planning a trip to Malaysia.
Our culinary adventure in Malaysia began with 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken, which we discovered upon landing at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Our flight from Singapore landed close to lunchtime. Since we were worried about missing our flight, we decided to hold off on lunch until we reached KLIA.
The 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken outlet is conveniently located at KLIA 1, Main Terminal Building (Level 3), right in the arrival section. Open from 08:00 - 22:00 local time, this eatery stood out as one of the better dining options at KLIA 1.
We found the food here delicious, a delightful surprise since we hadn't encountered this fast-food chain in Indonesia. Here are the dishes we tried:
The Rice Box Drumstick, chosen by my husband, features a tender and well-seasoned drumstick accompanied by fluffy rice.
A standout element was the salad made of cabbage and pineapple, a refreshing yet savory side due to its flavorful dressing. Unlike typical salads with just vegetables and mayonnaise, this one had a unique taste, which may have been amplified by our hunger.
The drumstick rice box came with a drink, soda by default, but the choice is flexible. It's similar to meal deals you would find at KFC. This package cost RM 23.90.
The Boneless Chicken Bites option consists of four large, crispy, yet juicy pieces of chicken. The reasonable amount of anchovies added an extra layer of flavor. While most breaded chicken tends to have a thick crust, this one was an exception. Priced at RM 22.50, this dish was a value deal.
Aside from the appetizing salad, the rice box included pieces of seaweed for added umami flavor. I was also impressed with 4 Fingers' eco-friendly packaging. Instead of disposable boxes, the food was served in a reusable stainless box lined with white rice paper.
Since we were starving, we added an a la carte side dish, Tofu Nuggets. As the name suggests, these were squares of tofu fried to a perfect crisp, resembling nuggets. We opted for soy sauce to accompany them. The flavor was enjoyable and reminded us of regular tofu. This cost nearly 7 ringgit.
We found Nyonya Tingkat by Aroma Village at NU Sentral Malaysia, specifically on the 3rd floor (Level 3 Shop 27). NU Sentral is situated at Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur. This bustling mall is connected to the KL Sentral monorail station, making it a popular spot. The restaurant operates from 10am - 10pm local time.
Our hotel in Malaysia was conveniently close to NU Sentral Mall, so we decided to dine there. The restaurant offers a menu laden with Malaysian delicacies like Nasi Lemak and various Laksa. Here's what we tried:
My husband opted for Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang. A portion includes nasi lemak (a type of fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf), rendang chicken, a half-boiled egg, peanut and anchovy toppings, sambal (a type of hot sauce), and two pieces of cucumber. We found the serving size to be quite satisfactory.
The chicken was a generous serving, and it was tender. While the rendang seasoning was good, it was not as potent as the rendang we've had in Indonesia. The accompanying chili sauce added a mild spiciness. The rice was akin to Indonesian Nasi Uduk, which is also cooked in coconut milk but has a slightly different taste and aroma.
When it comes to Laksa, the version I ordered was intensely flavorful and satisfying! The spice notes were so robust that each bite introduced different flavors. Yet, there was a recurring taste throughout: the tanginess and aroma of the onions. As implied by its name, this Laksa's soup is marked by a delightful balance of sour-sweet tones.
This dish is particularly enjoyable late at night when fatigue from traveling has set in. The noodles served with the Laksa are of the thicker variety. Although these aren't to everyone's liking, I firmly believe that Laksa is a culinary experience not to be missed when in Malaysia.
On our second day in Malaysia, we stopped by Santai Yamch'a Dimsum. Located at Sky Avenue Genting Highlands Resort, this restaurant is conveniently positioned on the 4th floor of the mall, just across from Ripley's Adventureland.
After a cable car ride to SkyAvenue, hunger had certainly set in. The sight of the appetizing dishes on display at Santai Yamch'a was too good to resist.
They serve a variety of meals, including various types of noodles, rice dishes, chicken, and of course, dim sum. The restaurant boasts cleanliness, friendly staff, and affordability. It operates from 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, aligning with the mall's working hours.
In Genting Highlands, the weather can get quite chilly, which influenced our meal choices. We opted for warm, soupy dishes:
Given the cold weather, my husband selected the Spicy Mee Tarik with Chicken Dumplings. This warm, comforting dish came with flat noodles, an egg, and two pieces of chicken dumpling.
The dish was distinctively flavored and aromatic with a strong mala profile. The noodles were pleasantly chewy. However, the intense mala flavor may not appeal to those who aren't fans of strong spices.
I opted for the Korean Ramyeon, seeking a noodle soup that wasn't excessively spicy. The noodles in this dish were small and curly, akin to usual noodles. While the soup's flavor was somewhat ordinary, it was still delicious and sufficiently warming.
The dish was served with egg as a topping, but I decided to order Spicy Soy Garlic Chicken on the side. The chicken was succulent, tender, and wasn't overly breaded. The garlic soy sauce enhanced the dish with a delightful fragrance and a unique flavor.
For beverages, my husband selected Teh Tarik, and I chose Lemongrass Tea. Overall, the restaurant is a solid choice if you're at Sky Avenue Genting Highland and seeking warm dishes.
Following our activities in Genting Highland, we took a brief rest at our hotel before heading to the Bukit Bintang area via monorail. Our destination was Pavilion Mall, where we decided to have dinner. We discovered a Thai restaurant, Para Thai.
This restaurant, with its clean, modern interior and friendly staff, was quite appealing. As expected from a Thai establishment, the menu featured classics like Tom Yum Soup, Tom Yum Fried Rice, among others. Para Thai is open from 11 AM to 10 PM. Here's what we ordered:
Our Tom Yum Fried Rice arrived in an interesting presentation with the egg encasing the rice. The plate comprised seafood mixed fried rice, a sunny-side-up egg, cucumber, tomato, and a lime slice.
I initially anticipated the rice to have a tangy flavor similar to the Tom Yum Fried Rice I usually get. However, it wasn't as sour, yet it was still quite tasty and the rice was perfectly cooked. If you prefer it tangier, a squeeze of lime does the trick.
This dish is simply minced chicken sautéed with basil. However, it's important to note that the dish comes with just the chicken; rice and eggs are ordered separately.
While visually appealing, it didn't quite match up to the Thai dishes I've had in Indonesia. It was also slightly pricier, but the pleasant ambiance and comfortable setting made it worthwhile. If you find yourself at Pavilion Mall with a craving for Thai cuisine, give Para Thai a try.
No visit to a Thai restaurant feels complete without ordering Tom Yum. We chose the small size, which was enough for the two of us. While the soup was flavorful, it was a touch under-seasoned, lacking the usual richness of Tom Yum. The soup wasn't heavily filled, containing a few pieces of chicken and small shrimps.
The meal at Para Thai ended with an Iced Lemon Tea as our sole beverage. While the overall dining experience was satisfactory, the food was a tad less flavorful than we are accustomed to. However, this is a matter of personal preference.
Continuing our stroll through the Pavilion, we decided to indulge in some Garrett Popcorn. The popcorn menu is divided into two main categories: Garrett Signature Flavors and Garrett Specialty Flavors. The Signature Flavors include Caramel Crisp, Chicago Mix, Cheese Corn, Buttery, and Plain, while the Specialty menu features the Macadamia Nut.
You can choose to buy either in bag or bucket form, and the price varies according to the flavor and size chosen. According to store representatives, the ingredients for making Garrett Popcorn are imported directly from Chicago, United States. Garrett Popcorn at the Pavilion is open from 10 am to 9:30 pm local time.
Garrett Popcorn was established by a female entrepreneur in Chicago who transformed her family's legacy recipe into an international brand. Now, the stores are spread across several countries.
Our Bukit Bintang expedition concluded with a fun experience of Turkish Ice Cream at Al-Amar Express. Many people are familiar with the playful serving style of Turkish ice cream, where the vendor teases customers with tricks before handing over the ice cream. The ice cream, which costs around 15 ringgit, didn't disappoint.
Al-Amar Express is a Lebanese restaurant situated right behind the ice cream stall. The restaurant is open from 11 am to 1 am, catering to food lovers throughout the day and late into the night.
While in Malaysia, I didn't miss out on the opportunity to sample the local coffee. Conveniently located in NU Sentral, Costa Coffee was a place I had always wanted to visit. I finally tried their specialty, the Hazelnut Latte, on my way back to the hotel.
Their version of Hazelnut Latte was flavorful, strong, and less sweet, since I had requested less syrup. It was indeed a delightful treat for the taste buds.
Apart from coffee, Costa Coffee offers non-coffee beverages and a variety of food and pastries displayed at the front window. However, on this visit, we didn't get a chance to try any of their food offerings. The cafe operates from 8 am to 10 pm, opening earlier than most other outlets in the area.
Upon returning from Batu Caves, we chose to dine at NU Sentral once more. This time, we picked a restaurant named Nyonya Colors, located on the 3rd floor of the mall. The menu is diverse, with offerings ranging from main courses to market snacks on display at the storefront.
The restaurant maintains a clean environment and the staff are all friendly. The prices are also quite reasonable. The cuisine at Nyonya Colors stays true to its "nyonya" label, offering traditional Malay dishes.
Here's what we ordered:
I opted for Nasi Lemak, a dish I was trying for the first time. Nasi Lemak at Nyonya Colors was quite fragrant, with the aroma of coconut milk and banana leaves lending a unique touch.
You can choose between chicken rendang or beef rendang as your side - I chose the chicken. The rendang seasoning was a bit overpowering, but it somehow didn't permeate the meat. It might be a difference in cooking style, but I found it unusual.
The Yellow Laksa looked appealing with its reddish-yellow gravy and spices. The bowl contained yellow noodles, tofu, chicken, and a sprinkle of red chili. The flavor was quite robust, with a thicker marinade than the Laksa we had tried in Singapore. However, the chicken in the laksa lacked the rich flavor typically found in Indonesian dishes.
ABC, short for Ais Batu Campur, is a popular Malaysian dessert made with shaved ice, peanuts, cendol, grass jelly, and agar, all topped off with syrup and sweetened condensed milk. This particular version did not include durian, thus it was simply ABC, not ABCD. It was a delightful dessert that I highly recommend trying when in Malaysia.
The initial taste was a delightful surprise! It's one of those drinks or perhaps desserts that I truly enjoyed. It was not overly sweet but still incredibly tasty. The red beans were tender and the soup was flavorful, but it could be a tad less sweet. It's even more enjoyable to consume during a cool evening.
Next up was another coffee treat! This time my husband and I stopped by San Francisco Coffee located at KLCC Mall on Jalan Ampang, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur City Center. The store is on Level 2. The coffee shop immediately piqued our interest due to the crowd and the queue.
The space for ordering coffee is quite compact, so it might feel a little cramped when there's a line. Nonetheless, the venue has a lovely blend of classic and modern aesthetics. After waiting behind a group of Caucasian customers, I eventually got to order a Hazelnut Latte.
The coffee was truly enjoyable. It had a similar taste to Costa Coffee, but the bitterness and strength of the brew were well-balanced, making it a pleasant drink throughout. I hadn't previously tried a coffee with a hazelnut syrup flavor, making this a novel experience.
We wrapped up our culinary adventure with breakfast at ABC Bistro before heading to the airport to return to Indonesia. My husband shared that ABC Bistro was a favorite haunt of his when he and his friends visited Kuala Lumpur in 2017. The close proximity of the hotel they stayed at to ABC Bistro made it their regular dining spot.
So on our last day in Malaysia, I expressed a desire to try it out as well, considering our hotel was right next door to the bistro. Truthfully, this place was bustling with activity, spotlessly clean, staffed by friendly personnel, and offered an extensive range of food options.
To top it off, ABC Bistro operates around the clock! They've also introduced robot assistants to deliver food to customers, a feature that wasn't there during my husband's previous visits.
Here's what we ordered:
I opted for the toasted butter bread that came with a beverage. I chose Teh Tarik over coffee this time around. Interestingly, a raw egg accompanied the bread, which you could dip into. I tried it a couple of times, but it wasn't quite to my liking.
The bread was soft, filled with tasty butter, fragrant, and not overly sweet, much like the Teh Tarik. It made for an ideal breakfast that was satisfying but didn't leave you feeling bloated.
My husband ordered the Fried Noodles. The dish, visually and taste-wise, resembled Acehnese noodles. It came with sizable chunks of chicken, but the noodles could have been a tad spicier. However, the portion size was just right for breakfast.
That concludes our culinary journey in Malaysia. While our food choices might not be as diverse as those of my readers who've visited Malaysia, I hope this article provides useful insights and references. We look forward to sampling more Malaysian delicacies on our next trip.
Please share any food recommendations you might have in the comments. We'll catch you in the next travel article!